Monday, December 05, 2011

New! Crocodile tours for Whitsunday Islands

New! Crocodile tours for Whitsunday Islands

Tourist operators from Hamilton Island will now be able to add crocodile spotting to the list of water based activities with the now confirmed sightings of a crocodile judged to be about three metres long living nearby in Gulnare Inlet on Whitsunday Island.
There is much more to an island holiday than relaxing by the resort pool. Take to the waters and experience the thrill of skiing, para-sailing, wake boarding or being towed behind a high powered speed boat on a water tube with new dimension when you may encounter a protected species of salt water crocodile living nearby.
An alternative to the traditional sunset cruise may be a croc spotting cruise up the inlet such the popular attraction Proserpine River Eco Tours Whitsunday Crocodile Safari.
There is no suggestion at this time that the protected croc is aggressive or any concern other than that people should be aware of its presence and take precautions and that tourist operators will now be cautioning visitors that crocs are actually wild creatures.
The animal may have come to the inlet during the run of bad weather and croc crowding in the Proserpine River and various inlets along the mainland.
The Whitsunday Coast Guardian has a copy of '101 reasons to not swim in the Prossy River' showing results of a recent  survey indicating the locations of at least 101 croc lairs.
Waterfront would love to see a photo of the new island resident croc and perhaps we could offer a prize for a good croc name.

Safe holidays - Your call

Safety gear that would make a fine exhibit in a museum was found by boating safety inspectors from Maritime Safety Queensland recently as boaties get ready for the holiday season.
The historic piece safety gear was presented by a boat owner as safety equipment but was more suitable for a museum than use in an emergency; the kapok (cotton wadding) life jacket dating back to at least the nineteen-sixties.
Poorly maintained, neglected and unsuitable life jackets figured highly among safety breaches noticed by marine inspectors who have been carrying out boat ramp inspections.
The inspectors attending boat ramps offering safety tips and advice say "To their credit most boaties were extremely well prepared for their outings but there were a few extremely worrying exceptions."
Some life jackets had clearly been left lying around for years with perished fabric, broken straps and torn coverings, while others were in good condition but unsuitable for the trip. For example, heading out to sea relying on a PFD type 3 life jacket which is designed only for short outings on smooth water.
The inspectors also noticed several boats not having adequate all-round white lights and coming up short on safety gear requirements such as unregistered EPIRBs and expired flares.
Boat ramp inspection days are a regular Maritime Safety Queensland safe boating activity and inspectors will return to local ramps to give more advice and tips during the holiday period.
Remember to keep life jackets where they can be easily reached and wear them whenever there is a heightened risk or when boating alone or at night.
The Maritime Safety Queensland annual Marine Incident Report, tabled in Queensland parliament, found the loss of 14 lives in 2010 was a significant reduction compared to 20 deaths in 2009.
Only two out of 14 people who died on the water last year were wearing life jackets.

St Bees Island notice

Mariners are advised that a control program requiring the use of live firing of weapons will take place on St Bees Island in the Mackay/Capricorn National Parks Management Area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park until approximately 1800 hours Thursday, December 1.
Exclusion zones will been placed around St Bee's Island between these dates. The exclusion zone extends seaward of the High Water mark by 500 metres. Marine VHF security calls will be made on VHF channel 16 by the QPWS vessel 'Tamoya'.
St Bees Island is located about 15 nautical miles north east of Mackay. AUS charts 251 & 823

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Cap'n Dan is a regular broadcaster on ABC Radio Tropical North and 4MK

Secret keel defies Questionable logic

Secret keel defies Questionable logic


Quite a few years ago during the infamous Fun Race a competitor devised a plan to nobble the opposition with a keel attachment in the form of a bucket secured to the unsuspecting yacht's nether regions.

Delivered by SCUBA diver, the bucket keel proved to be all the rage especially the rage of the victim yacht's skipper and crews' subsequent poor performance and discovery of the fiendish plot.

Memory was jogged by an incident during the recent Corporate Sailing Challenge when Westpac bank jonnies topped NAB bean counters on Pioneer Bay.

It seems that at the finish of the Friday evening rum race, Terry Archer's Questionable Frolic picked up some chain from the finish line marker buoy.

So when the Saturday race was a bit slow it may have been initially blamed on the rum from the previous event won indecently by the often-smiling rum winning Ross Winterbourn sailing Bobby D.

On Saturday the Westpac Firsts went sailing on Bobby D and Twister taking first and second with team GoNABs chasing on Questionable Logic and Sandpiper.

Word from the world of high finance is that the share price of sailing is hitting an all time high.


Crew in radio rescue


The South African Maritime Ham radio net was instrumental in the rescue of the crew of sailing vessel 'Wizard' that had struck a submersed shipping container. The Ham (amateur) radio contact lead to the yacht's crew boarding a tanker diverted to the position where the yacht sank.


It happens!


Recent column regarding difficulties in Australian ships highlights we are not alone, as a reader has sent a note about US Navy problems.

It appears the US Navy's newest aircraft carrier the USS George HW Bush built at a cost $6.2 billion has two nuclear reactors, 90 fixed winged aircraft and helicopters, 3,200 ship crew and 2,400 air crew is without one item, working toilets.

Deployed in May, the new carrier has suffered from widespread plumbing failures, which, at times, render the entire ship without a single working head. With remarkable understatement, the crew has complained the non-working vacuum toilets have "affected their morale, health and job performance."

Complicating the matter, some working heads are secured with a lock, letting only sailors who remember the combination inside, sailors said.


Royal Navy


Britain's National Audit Office revealed that the Ministry of Defence is concerned about a shortage of modern attack submarines. The Royal Navy's most advanced nuclear submarine HMS Astute has had more than its share of problems. Delivered 43 months behind schedule and £900 million over budget, during trials it ran aground off the Isle of Skye. There was also a collision with the tug that came to help. The sub was idled by mechanical failures, and then a disgruntled sailor shot and killed one ship's officer and wounded another while the ship was on public relations call in Southampton. The ship that the British papers had begun to call "HMS Calamity" is now being referred to as "jinxed


Don't mention the war!


The Germans recently had a naming ceremony for their new non-nuclear hydrogen fuel cell powered submarine, the U35, which can operate underwater for three weeks without surfacing, is extremely quiet and said to be virtually undetectable. The design sounds very interesting and advanced, even if the submarine's name is less than catchy.


Whitehaven marine notice


Your Waterfront writer was told about a yacht attaching itself to this navigation mark last week and causing it to be out of position. 'Four skippers bommie' so named in memory of one Whitehaven Beach Party Day when a vessel with four local skippers displayed their local knowledge by parking on top of it, much to the delight of the many observers.

Mariners are advised that the lighted north cardinal mark buoy Q temporarily established at the southern end of Whitehaven Beach off Whitsunday Island has been re-established in position. The buoy marks the remnants of the destroyed north cardinal mark beacon. Thanks to Maritime Safety Queensland for the quick repair. AUS charts 252 & 253


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

Naturally Queensland 2020: The Master Plan

Naturally Queensland 2020: The Master Plan


Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) have released a consultation draft of 'Naturally Queensland 2020: The Master Plan for protected areas, forests and wildlife'.

Covering marine parks as well as terrestrial protected areas, this is your opportunity to update the original QPWS Master Plan released in 2001.

Revising the Master Plan provides QPWS and the community the opportunity to reflect on past challenges and successes, and to set the direction for 2020. 

The draft Master Plan outlines the vision and approach for management of protected areas, both terrestrial and marine, forests and wildlife in Queensland. The draft also proposes strategic actions for QPWS management, including facing many challenges.

The consultation period for the draft Master Plan closes on November 20, the draft will be found on the Department of Environment and Resource Management website. Your comments on the draft are greatly appreciated. To provide comment email

Do not miss this opportunity to contribute to a new vision for Queensland's protected areas, forests and wildlife!


Sailors clean up


Since the last day of 1988, it has been illegal, a criminal act, for ships to dump plastics into the ocean.

The Keep the Oceans Clean! team will lead beach clean ups at all ten Host Ports during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 now being sailed, from the remote and rugged coastal beaches of South Africa's Cape Town to the pebbled shores and cool waters of Galway, Ireland.

The Volvo Ocean Race is the latest yachting event to actively encourage people to clean up our oceans. Stormwater, throwing rubbish into the water from land and overboard, oil spills; accidents and criminal intent continue, and it is destroying our sea life and our seas.

The six boats competing in the Volvo Ocean Race departed from Alicante, Spain last week and were immediately battered by rough seas and high winds while still in the Mediterranean. The Volvo Ocean Race (formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race) is a yacht race around the world, held every three years. The first leg finishes in Cape Town, South Africa. 


Sailing: Facebook or Flintstone?


While the new action-packed America's Cup format is designed to appeal to "the Facebook generation, not the Flintstone generation," quoting four-time America's Cup winning New Zealander Russell Coutts, the Olympics are retreating to the Stone Age.

Sailors celebrated the news from International Sailing Federation (ISAF) that a multihull would be re-introduced for the 2016 Games. However, the celebrations did not last long when it became clear the venerable Tornado would not be considered, in fact it is to be a Two Person Mixed Gender Multihull,

Multiple Olympic medallist Roland Gaebler says there are weight and other restrictions that will not only exclude the Tornado, but also some Tornado Olympians and sailors who fought so hard to get the multihull reinstated into the Games, because they weigh too much.

Why the multihull was pulled from the Games in the first place will always remain a mystery to most of us, especially considering sailing's low profile in the media and the multihull, along with the 49er, being the biggest media puller of the lot.

The unpopular and ill-considered dismissal of the Tornado should be re-thought. So should the weight and other restrictions. Since multihull sailors got a whiff of the multihull returning to the Games, fleets of Tornados worldwide have increased, with many women sailing them. Carolijn Brouwer led the way as the first woman to sail a Tornado at the Olympic Games when she competed as a skipper in Qingdao at the 2008 Beijing Games. Since then, many women are sailing the Tornado as skipper and as crew.


Marine notices


Speed limit for Boat Haven Bay entrance channel - Mariners be advised that a 6-knot speed limit is declared for the entrance channel into Port of Airlie marina and public boat ramp.

Heading south? Great Keppel Island - Mariners be advised that the Half Tide Rocks light be restored to normal. AUS charts 247 & 367

Pancake Creek - be advised that back night lead at Pancake Creek has been restored to normal. AUS chart 819


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Cap'n Dan is a regular broadcaster on ABC Tropical North and 4MK