Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cyclone milestones this week

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."


Nemo spotted


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!

Cap'n Dan





Monday, March 21, 2011

Dent to Dunk race with a change . . . or two

Dent to Dunk race with a change . . . or two


"We have some exciting news. The Dent to Dunk Rally and Race are on this year," reports Lyn Chalmers of Abel Point Yacht Club.

"The Rally will now be called the Coral Coast Rally and we are sailing to Port Douglas. Instead of spending two nights at Dunk Island (due to cyclone damage) the rally will now spend two nights at Fitzroy Island.

"The rally starts from Airlie Beach on Wednesday 1st June and ends in Port Douglas on 11th June. 

"The race this year is being called the Airlie Beach to Magnetic Island Race.  It is still a 210 nautical mile race, starting from Airlie Beach, going around the Palm Group of Islands then back to Horseshoe Bay on Magnetic Island.  "The rally is timed to be there to see the racing yachts finish.  The race starts at 4pm on Friday 3rd June," Ms Chalmers says.

The rally boats will arrive at Horseshoe Bay Magnetic Island on Saturday June 4 with presentations for the race winners at 4pm Sunday 5 June.


Eco Barge goes OS


Whitsunday environmental citizen Libby Edge will travel to an international conference to promote the work of her Eco Barge project and highlight the need to address marine debris.

"I am proud that I am able to attend the 5th International Marine Debris Conference held at the end of March in Hawaii thanks to Zonta, MTA travel and the Whitsunday Local Marine Advisory Committee.

"Zonta gave a massive $2000 towards the cost of attending this conference, not only did they support in this way, but the ladies of Zonta also bought 25 of our bamboo bags! Zonta is a wonderful organisation that supports women; they are currently inviting new members if you are interested in joining this wonderful group of women."  

"The Whitsunday Local Marine Advisory Committee helped with $500 towards the registration fee of the conference. It is wonderful to have our WLMAC supporting our program in this way, thank you.

"At this conference I will learn the latest methods of monitoring and removing marine debris, I aim to implement these methods into our own program, and I am looking forward to meeting other teams from around the world who are passionate about keeping our seas clean.


Tsunami damage


A tsunami generated from the massive killer earthquake in Japan slammed into Northern California coastal communities Friday, capsizing and damaging boats and leaving the waters littered with debris.

At Santa Cruz Harbor, on Monterey Bay near San Francisco boats were ripped from their berths, sent adrift or sunk.

Connan Bradley, who has a sailboat in the harbor reports, "My girlfriend observed all the water being sucked out of the bay, right down to the mud — a drop of at least 15 feet. As the docks and boats dropped to the mud, several boats got pinned under sections of the docks, and a number broke free as the incoming surge lifted them."

"Santa Cruz Harbor is closed until further notice, The Coast Guard is facilitating the oil and debris removal operation to address pollution threats, public safety issues and navigational hazards," reports Port Director Lisa Ekers,

A man who went to the Northern California coast to photograph the arrival of a tsunami early Friday was swept out to sea and remained missing, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.


Marine Notices


Unsafe Passage - Mariners are advised that the daylight light on the front leading light F.Bu (F day) bearing 240° which marks Unsafe Passage between Mid Molle Island and North Molle Island has been reported to be unlit.

Boat Haven Bay - Mariners are advised that the lighted special mark buoy Fl.Y which marks a wreck is off station.

Mariners should use caution in the vicinity. AUS charts 252, 253 & 268


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Whitsunday reefs dodge cyclone damage

Whitsunday reefs dodge cyclone damage


Two cyclones crossing the coast in one week could have spelled 'damage' writ large for the Whitsunday coast and nearby barrier reef, however scientists say we were spared.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service have undertaken initial surveys to assess the damage caused to the Great Barrier Reef by cyclones Anthony and Yasi. 

"The good news is that the damage to these reefs has been patchy," says GBRMPA's assessment coordinator Dr Paul Marshall.

"Recent cyclone Yasi tracked between the main tourism sites in Cairns, Port Douglas and the Whitsundays and we were very pleased to find that those areas are still healthy and thriving with marine life.

"For the time being, it is important to remember that while parts of the Reef in the path of the cyclone have been damaged, most of the Great Barrier Reef remains unaffected," Dr Marshal added.

The scientists conducted rapid assessments of 36 reefs in this region to ascertain the extent of the damage. 

"About 13 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef, from Cairns to Townsville, was exposed to Yasi's destructive winds.  The affected area represents a 300km stretch of the 2400km-long Reef, with serious damage in patches and minor or nil damage in other parts.

"The areas that faced wind gusts of up to 285 km per hour (153 knots) were the most seriously damaged.

Research conducted by James Cook University into the effects of cyclone Hamish, which tracked along the Queensland coast in 2009, shows that coral trout can go off the bite following a cyclone.

"We have received similar reports from fishers between Innisfail and Bowen after cyclone Yasi; however, the research also reported increased catch rates of red throat emperor. Other species that are expected to thrive due to improved breeding conditions include barramundi and mackerel."


Sail camp call


The annual Sabot Development Camp is part of the Yachting Queensland Identification and Development Pathway. Developed to enable all junior and youth sailors to attend training camps it takes place from Friday April 1 at The Noosa Yacht & Rowing Club.

The camp, open to all Sabot sailors, is an intensive program covering key aspects of boat handling, rigging, regatta preparation, rules, tactics and protest room proceedings.

Young sailors have the potential to be identified as an up and coming sailor by Queensland Sailing Team (QST) coaches and talent identifiers.

Coaches include ex-Sabot sailors - Australian Paralympics Coach Adrian Finglas and Australian Youth Olympic Coach Ben Callard.


Coke sub seized


The US Coast Guard Cutter Midgett recently busted a midget sub loaded with cocaine while on a cruise of the Eastern Pacific. The 35-foot long self-propelled semi-submersible was carrying 6,000 kilograms of cocaine from Columbia bound for the United States.  This was only the second ever seizure of a self propelled semi-submersible by a U.S. Coast Guard cutter.  In addition to the catching the narco-sub, the Cutter Midget seized 11 tons of cocaine and marijuana on five trafficking vessels and detained 20 suspected narcotics traffickers.


Marine Notices


This week mariners were advised that a large tree approximately 10m long and 1m diameter was reported drifting between the mooring area near Abel Point Marina and Bluff Point being carried towards shore with the tide.


Bird Island to Groper Point – Navaids including the south cardinal light beacon was destroyed and replaced temporally by a south cardinal light buoy, Q(6)+LFl.15s. Light beacons Fl.G.4s and Fl.G.2·5s are damaged and light buoy, Fl.G.6s is off station.


Bowen South entrance channel - Mariners are advised that the port hand buoy Fl.R.4s is off station. Mariners are advised to navigate with caution whilst operating in this area. AUS charts 268 & 826 


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

Adventure of a lifetime on Young Endeavour

Adventure of a lifetime


I remember boarding the brigantine rigged Young Endeavour during her first voyage in these waters shortly after she was presented by the United Kingdom to Australia as a bicentennial gift in 1988.

Sailing at that time on the brigantine 'Golden Plover', the meet-up was to allow their trainee crew the chance to spend time on our ship, all traditional hemp rope and Stockholm tar, while we sampled the joys of their cook's glorious meat pies in Young Endeavour's crew mess.  Aaahh!

So it is with the greatest pleasure to note that once more the 44-metre tall ship will ply our waters and will berth three local young people on a voyage of discovery that will include the ship, our area and the young people themselves.

Rotary Club of Airlie Beach Inc is once more sponsoring three berths on the Young Endeavour and is looking for enthusiastic young people aged 16 to 23 from the Whitsunday Region to participate in the experience of a lifetime.

In 2010, four Whitsunday regional youth, Jarred Muller, Joshua McMullen, Charles and Louis Budini were the successful candidates chosen by the club for this experience.

This voyage will be from Mackay to Brisbane and will take place from 19 April to 29 April.

"For 11 days with 23 other young Aussies you learn how to sail and how to work together," said Suzie Beirne, (0418 758 389) the project coordinator for the Rotary Club of Airlie Beach.

"Applicants need a sense of adventure and a willingness to push themselves to the limit, this is a chance for them to discover new reserves of character, commitment, confidence, teamwork and leadership," Suzie says.


Clean Up Australia


This Sunday will see the area get a nice tidy up from Clean Up volunteers. Due to the weather, there is the additional Great Northern Clean Up this year coinciding with the revamped Rotary Whitsunday Boat & Leisure Show and Fun Race on the weekend of September 9 until 11.


Wooden Boats Rule


Just a note from WoodenBoatsAustralia@yahoogroups.com "The group is for discussions about wooden boats. Not your favourite comedy show (unless it involves a wooden boat or destruction of jet skis), footy tipping, hoax emails, recipes (except for stuff to paint, glue, preserve or other wise be used on wooden boats), political views or religious views."

"All such unrelated messages will be deleted (eventually) and repeat offenders (or extreme first offenders) will be kicked off the list. If such a message is posted please do not reply to it as it only encourages them."


'E' radio New Zealand


'E' is for Emergency and a small team of amateur radio operators are keeping the lines of communication open in earthquake-hit areas of Christchurch.

The head of the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications team, Richard Smart, ZL4FZ says ten amateurs are using their emergency broadcast vans to keep rescue teams and Civil Defence staff in touch and sending updates on the disaster to families of people in Christchurch who are overseas.

It has become accepted among NZ Amateur Radio operators that these unique "E" calls have priority over all other users of amateur radio frequencies.

The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications organisation was formed in 1932 after the Napier earthquake, to train licensed amateur radio operators to provide reliable communications.


Marine Notices


Lagoon Rock light - Mariners are advised that the west cardinal mark beacon Q (9) 15s marking Lagoon Rock in Whitehaven Bay has been restored to normal.


Surprise Rock, east of Hamilton Island - The temporary isolated danger mark buoy Fl (6) 6s marking Surprise Rock east of Hamilton Island is temporarily unlit.


Platypus Rock off Shaw Island - Mariners are advised that the temporary west cardinal mark buoy VQ (9) 10s which marks Platypus Rock off Shaw Island is temporarily unlit. AUS charts affected: 252, 254 and 824


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Welcome to 100 Magic Miles!

Welcome to 100 Magic Miles!


During the past thirty years David and Carolyn Colfelt have travelled extensively along the Queensland coast, exploring the marine park, observing its wildlife, photographing, researching, exploring and writing about the treats that are the Whitsunday islands.

Arguably Australia's smallest publisher, Windward publish only books by David and Carolyn, of which there are three at this time – 100 Magic Miles, The Whitsundays Book, and Barrier Reef Traveller. All are about the Great Barrier Reef region.

This site is named after their book'100 Magic Miles of the Great Barrier Reef' known locally for its exhaustive information for boaters about every nook and cranny of the Whitsunday islands. The book is required by marine safety authorities to be aboard all bareboats in our extensive local fleet.

This is a great introduction site for friends who want to know something about the magical stretch of the Queensland coast inside Australia's Great Barrier Reef known as 'The Whitsunday Islands' - what to do, where to go and how to get the most out of the area.

A great place to direct anyone interested in the area, this is a site to sea - www.100magicmiles.com/


Boy sailors


During the eighteenth and early nineteenth century in Britain and, indeed, most other countries, attitudes were quite different. Boy soldiers, mostly drummers, went into battle as a matter of course. The same applied in the Navy. Boy sailors as young as thirteen went aboard as sometimes press-ganged junior ratings.

Among officers an early start was the norm. William Bligh was less then eight when he commenced his career as a midshipman. Nelson himself was only twelve. Their ships were their schools. They learned fast or they did not survive.

'Young Nelsons - Boy Sailors during the Napoleonic Wars' By D.A.B. Ronald is written very colourfully and in great detail to describes the lives and subsequent careers of many of these boys. His extensively researched book shows that, considering the times, an early start in the Navy was not necessarily a bad thing.


Shipwreck brew


Finnish authorities plan to allow several modern breweries to replicate the recipe of beer found in a Baltic Sea shipwreck dated about 1800 to 1830.  In addition to cases of champagne, the wreck contained five bottles of the oldest drinkable beer ever discovered.

Now the local government of the Aland island chain, where the wreck was found, has commissioned a scientific study to attempt to determine the beer's original recipe, as the first step toward brewing the ancient beer.

Divers found the two-mast ship at a depth of about 50-metres in the Aland archipelago, which stretches between the coasts of Sweden and Finland in the Baltic Sea.

The ship was believed to be making a voyage from Copenhagen in Denmark to St Petersburg, then the capital of Russia.

The salvaging operation to bring up 145 champagne bottles – since determined to include vintages from Heidseck, Veuve Clicquot and Juglar – had one casualty: a bottle that burst open at the surface, revealing it to be beer.

The brew has already been sampled by four professional beer tasters at the Technical Research Centre of Finland who are commissioned to get to the bottom of the sunken beer's recipe.


Edgecumbe Bay, Bowen


Mariners are advised that due to recent cyclone activity in the North Queensland Region, a number of aids to navigation in the Bowen area, have been reported as being off station. Mariners are advised to navigate with extreme caution when in the Edgecumbe Bay, Bowen Harbour and surrounding waterways. Any abnormalities should be reported to Townsville VTS on VHF 16 or 12. AUS charts affected: 825 & 826


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Whitsunday Sailing Club celebrates 40 years

 Sailing Club celebrates 40 years


The Whitsunday Sailing Club is celebrating their 40th birthday in March and is looking for any early members who have moved away or fallen off the mailing list.

A lot of water has gone under the keel at the sailing club; almost as much as spilled beer at the bar. Ever tried getting the family together for a 40th anything? It should be an entertaining evening.

Saturday March 26 is the evening for the event. Drinks, fancy canap├ęs followed by speeches, dinner and the obligatory punch-up.

Call club if you haven't been had contact in recent times.


Mooring damage


During the recent cyclonic events, boaters were warned not to use the blue public use moorings in the Whitsunday islands area as the moorings are not rated for use in winds over 34 knots i.e. gale force.

The Department of Environment and Resource Management report that public mooring inspections began as soon as possible after the cyclone event to ensure that they were safe for public use.

A large number of moorings have now been cleared and are ready for use however inspections will be continuing over the next few weeks. Your assistance in following the rangers' directions to vacate moorings during these times will be appreciated.

It can be noted that other than normal wear and tear, no damage due to the cyclone has been reported.


What a relief!


Park Rangers have now finished construction on the track and toilet facilities located at Tongue Point, and they are open and ready for public use. Visitors are able to access the new loos very easily from the Hill Inlet circuit track, approximately 20m from the far end of the lookout boardwalk.


Fishers snap at ban


Snapper is overfished in Queensland says the State Government. To 'help protect the sustainability' of snapper stock an interim six week closure from February 15 has been put in place. This closure applies to all Queensland east coast waters and means that snapper cannot be taken during this period. This also applies to the other main co-caught species of pearl perch and teraglin until March 31.

Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland Tim Mulherin said the closure was an interim measure until new fishing rules could be finalised to ensure take of snapper was sustainable."

"The interim closure applies to all sectors – commercial, recreational and charter."

"Snapper, teraglin and pearl perch should not be targeted during this time and if incidentally caught should be returned to the water immediately," Mr Mulherin said.

However, recreational fishing groups have attacked the six-week ban, saying it as a "complete overreaction".

According to two of the four options now out for public consultation, recreational fishing enthusiasts could face mandatory or voluntary logbook rules and a $70 or $90 permit fee to catch snapper.

Sunfish chairman Barry Pollock said the recreational fishing group was "absolutely astounded" and frustrated by the announcement.

Dr Pollock disputed suggestions snapper stocks were struggling, saying while charter groups had reported low numbers on parts of the Gold Coast, he did not agree there was overfishing elsewhere.

"The management they're proposing for snapper is draconian and out of sync with the real situation," he said.

"It's very irresponsible to just come out and slap these things on and not do a proper economic assessment," Dr Pollock said.


Spitfire Rock


Mariners are advised that the west cardinal mark buoy Q(9) 15s which marks Spitfire Rock in Kennedy Sound, south-west of Lindeman Island, has been reported to be unlit. AUS charts 252, 254 & 824


The Narrows


Mariners are advised that in The Narrows, between Hayman and Hook Islands, the lighted starboard lateral mark buoy Fl G 6s, in approximate position latitude 20° 03.86' S, longitude 148° 54.22' E, is currently off station. Mariners should use caution in the vicinity. AUS charts affected: 252 and 254


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan




Cyclone Yasi - Fast action provides protection

Fast action provides cyclone protection


Last week with Cyclone Yasi looming ominously on the horizon, Abel Point Marina in Airlie Beach was filled to overflowing with vessels seeking refuge from the approaching maelstrom.

Faced with increasing demand, the newly installed facility at Port of Airlie Marina was considered to be at a state of safety readiness to provide further berths. However there still existed an exclusion zone and finalisation of systems to allow for the use of the facility.

Faced with the fast moving storm system and the signing of a pre-emptive disaster declaration by Premier Anna Bligh, local authorities and Port of Airlie owners Meridien Marinas fast tracked the imperative use of the new facility.

Richard Barrett, Meridien Marinas Abel Point General Manager told The Guardian that fast action allowed good outcomes for all concerned.

 "Meridien Marinas Abel Point Management and the Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) team at Airlie Beach worked closely together to obtain a special exemption from the regional Harbour Master to use the new Port of Airlie marina to accommodate the overflow of vessels seeking protection from cyclone Yasi,"

"We could not have asked for more from the local MSQ team and water police, leading up to and throughout the event with the exceptional service and support they provided to us and the boating community," Mr Barrett said.


Yacht hits UFO


French trimaran Maxi Banque Populaire V hit a UFO an 'unidentified floating object'   while travelling at 37 knots that damaged a 600 kg dagger board. To be prudent, they slowed to 25 knots and headed for calmer waters for a complete inspection.   For most of us the idea of "slowing down" to 25 knots in a sailboat is quite remarkable in its own right.

The Jules Verne Trophy is currently held by French trimaran Groupama 3 which in March of last year set the new around the world speed record of 48 days, 7 hours 44 minutes and 52 seconds, the fastest circumnavigation speed recorded for a yacht of either sail or power.   The fastest recorded powerboat circumnavigation was 61 days by the ill-fated Ady Gil, which when operated by Sea Shepherd, sank following a collision with a Japanese whaler.


What tourists say


Those of us that have worked in the tourist game appreciate the sometimes wacky things they come out with. Travel agent Flight Centre has experienced some quirky travel requests.

Their strangest customer questions must be lead by, "Can I catch a train from Fiji to New Zealand?"  And the perennial favourite "What time does the three o'clock ferry leave?"

Personal favourites for your Waterfront writer are, "How many cartons of cigarettes can I take on my driving holiday in Queensland?" and "Do I need a passport to go to Hamilton Island, because I am flying overseas? And, what is the duty free allowance?"

Is it the dream holiday or are they just dreaming?


Mariner Notices


Mariners are advised that due to inclement weather and sea conditions associated with Tropical Cyclone 'Yasi', aids to navigation may have been destroyed or be off station.

Debris from flood run-off may be encountered outside rivers and creeks and is considered to be a hazard to navigation.

Mariners are advised to navigate the region with caution and are requested to report any aids to navigation damage and other potential hazards to navigation to Maritime Safety Queensland.


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan