Cyclone milestones this week
This week marks one year since cyclone Ului crossed our coast and 100 years since the luxury steamship S.S. Yongala disappeared during a cyclone just north of the Whitsunday Islands, with a loss of all 122 passengers and crew.
For almost 50 years the steam ship kept her watery grave a secret until divers recovered her safe and noted her name in 13 inch tall letters on her bow in 1958.
Today, March 23, a wreath will be placed in honour of those 122 lost souls who perished in one of Australia's most tragic maritime incidents.
Scuba divers with Alva Beach based Yongala Dive will mark the longevity and endurance of the wreck that is now protected under the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976 and managed through the Maritime Archaeology Section of the Museum of Tropical Queensland.
At 110 metres (361-feet) long she is one of the largest, most intact historic shipwrecks registered on the Queensland National Estate as a Heritage site
A special interpretive sign was unveiled by the Burdekin Mayor, Lyn McLaughlin on Sunday during a special family day at Alva Beach, the closest launching point to the famous wreck, with Alva-based Yongala Dive providing a 30-minute boat trip.
The SS Yongala is a popular dive spot with an extensive array of marine life that has prospered throughout 100 years of tides, currents and high winds.
The anniversary provides the opportunity for divers to recall the S.S. Yongala's history, and reflect upon how a tragedy can become a lifeline for a wide variety of marine species. Yongala Dive - www.yongaladive.com.au
Descendant tribute voyage
MV Sea Esta has departed Townsville bound for an exceptional rendezvous with historic S.S. Yongala and carrying a special passenger.
Charles Woodward is the son of Jack Woodward, the third son of Charles and Maud Woodward and the great grandson of Mary Anne Woodward, who perished on the Yongala's final voyage 100 years ago.
The crew on MV Sea Esta are on a voyage to pay tribute to the 122 lives lost on the 23rd March 1911.
122 flowers will be scattered during a memorial service on the day. Sandra de Matos, Marketing Manager of Adrenalin Snorkel & Dive and President of the 100 years of Yongala Tribute on The Seabed committee says "the 122 flowers recognizing the lives lost will add their own personal touch to the day. It is important for family members to take time on that day".
Mr Woodward said "It is too late to do anything for the victims of the Yongala except to honour their memory but we can at least contribute to the victims of Cyclone Yasi."
Very cute little Dutch children on Saturday's FantaSea reef trip burst into a long and loud chorus of "Nemo, Nemo, Nemo," et cetera, when they spotted the famous Clownfish on the ship's wide screen. Other children of unknown origin joined in the chorus. Bet is they had a great fun day.
Notice to Mariners
While out during the last week I saw that the front leading light on Daydream Island guiding vessels through Unsafe passage between Mid Molle Island and North Molle Island be unlit.
Lagoon Rock - Mariners are advised that the lighted west cardinal mark beacon Q (9) 15s which marks Lagoon Rock off Whitehaven Beach has been destroyed.
Fitzalan Passage - Mariners are advised that the lighted special mark buoy Fl Y 2.5s in Fitzalan Passage between Henning Island and Whitsunday Island, usually in approximate position latitude 20° 18.8' S, longitude 148° 56.05' E, is reported to be off station. The reported position of the lighted buoy is between Henning Island and Plum Pudding Island.
Mariners should navigate with caution in the vicinity and report any sightings to the Regional Harbour Master's Office Mackay, telephone 4944 3700.
Fair winds to Ye!