Monday, January 30, 2012

Sailability for all, on Australia Day!

 Australians all let us rejoice,


Sailability for all, on Australia Day!


Girt by Sea? Sailability is an international organisation that works to provide access to the joys of sailing for all regardless of ability – So this Thursday, Aussie Day there is a Family day at the Whitsunday Sailing Club – model boat sailing and cricket on Australia's most scenic cricket pitch – the front lawn of the Whitsunday Sailing Club. There is the annual Dan Kane Memorial yacht race in honour of a great Aussie battler and popular member of the Sailing Club and the Family fun kicks off at 11am downstairs with games for the kids and a good old-fashioned Aussie BBQ.

About 3pm, the new Sailability Access 303 dinghy 'Kane' is due to be christened and launched by Dan's parents, Mim & John Kane and Sailability President Jim Hayes.

Club Manager Angela Rae says, "The more people the merrier as we love to celebrate the day with all our club members and their friends. You can bring rugs, chairs, umbrellas or sit in the shade of the balcony" (Note: if this rain keeps up, you might bring your own boat)

Presentations for the Dan Kane memorial race are at 4pm. Dan Kane's parents will present the trophy they have donated in memory of their son. Last year's Australia Day proceeds where donated to Sailability Whitsunday to help purchase the new boat to allow disabled people of all ages to enjoy sailing.

Call Sailability Whitsunday Vice President Andy 0407 636 611 if you have any questions about the sailing days.

"Let all combine with heart and hand,

To advance Australia fair!"


Old guy on slow boat enjoys sea


Low to no budget, tiny boat, all alone, 72 years old, enjoyed 45 days on his Atlantic crossing. If that isn't a true inspiration, I don't know what is.

Swede Sven Yrvind left Porto Santo and 2870 nautical miles later at an average speed of 2,65 knots arrived in Martinique in his bright yellow self-built little boat.

In these record focused times Sven is something different, and enjoyed his, most likely a healthier inner and outer journey rather than blasting along in 30 knots.

Yrvind is a boat designer and over the years, he has always followed his own path with small, seaworthy boats. His latest has no electronics and no autopilot.


Noah saves


Mini-Arks are the latest in Japanese engineering with the development of the 'Noah' a four-person four-foot diameter bright yellow sphere made of fibre-reinforced plastic. The mini-ark was designed to help residents along Japan's coast survive a future tsunami. The 'Noah' is self-righting and can survive a 33-foot drop (that's a big bounce in metric!) It can be used as a toy house for children or a doghouse for Dad and includes a chrome pole inside to hang onto or to entertain. The pod retails for about $3,800 and more than 1,000 have been ordered says the builder.


Time for leap seconds


The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service have decided to add a leap second to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) at the end of June 2012.

The most recent leap was added on December 31, 2008. They have been necessary because of the Earth's unpredictable rotation.

UTC is based on highly accurate atomic clocks, but has been kept more or less synchronised with mean solar time by way of leap seconds.

Meantime with this being a leap year, February will have a total of 29 days instead of the usual 28, to make up for our rotation around the Sun.


Marine Notices


Boat Haven Bay - Mariners are advised that the special mark buoy which was marking a sunken vessel midway between Abel Point and Mandalay Point in the Muddy Bay Small Craft Mooring Area, has been permanently withdrawn. AUS charts 252, 253 & 268


Bait Reef - Mariners be advised that the special mark buoy temporarily established in approximate position latitude 19° 48.549' S, longitude 149° 03.778' E at Bait Reef is reported off station. AUS charts 254 & 825


Proserpine River entrance - Mariners are advised that the lighted starboard lateral mark No.1 buoy Fl G 3s temporarily established to mark the destroyed starboard lateral mark No. 1 beacon Fl G 3s in the entrance to the Proserpine River, has been reported off station. AUS charts 252 & 824


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


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



Tall ship sailing adventure and fun in the sun at Airlie Beach


Tall ship sailing adventure and fun in the sun


Years ago before Airlie Beach had any marina at all, much less two, the crews of the various day boats would trawl the bars at night and put on a morning grand parade up and down Airlie's beach to attract custom. Having selected or been selected the passengers would be ferried out to the chosen vessel for a grand day on Whitsunday waters.

Once that was sorted, the day boats would go to their 'own' spots to swim and snorkel, sunbath or drink the day away. On the voyage home to Airlie there would be water fights with buckets and fire hoses, the occasional water bomb or flying fruit. Special points were scored if you could drop your days rubbish bag into another boats tender.

Tri Tingara, Nari, Dhalia, and of course the biggest show in Airlie was the square-rigged Golden Plover. I'm sure I've missed some out, so drop a note and I will share it.

Back on shore, the fun would carry on into the night at The Village on the site of Magnums, with rope climbing and leg wrestling for prizes of rum all accompanied by plenty of nautical music from pirate/boatie bands.

Aargh! Those were the days and what fun was had. There was romance in the air and figureheads on the boats. No wonder some people never left Airlie.

Tis' a bit more civilised these days however, so it is with some affection to see the impressive 90-foot schooner Derwent Hunter docked at Port of Airlie and once again offering visitors the chance of a day trip on a traditional gaff-rigged historic sailing ship.

Built in Tasmania of Blue Gum, Tasmanian Oak, Celery Top Pine and Huon Pine, regarded as some of the best ship building timbers in the world, four men using hand tools constructed Derwent Hunter and launched her in 1946.

Resembling a Grand Banks schooner, Derwent Hunter is a fast sailing ship carrying 2,400 square feet of sail that still turns heads today as she leaves many modern yachts in her wake.

Through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), the ship participates in Marine Park research programs and still contributes data for Hump Back whale research and other environmental programs.

The Derwent Hunter's involvement in marine research with GBRMPA is not the first time Derwent has contributed to marine research. In 1950 the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) purchased her as Australia's first oceanographic research vessel working under sail roving from Antarctic waters in the Southern Ocean and as far north as Noumea and the outer Pacific basin.

Her hydrographic work included salinity tests plotting the East Coast Australian Current. The Derwent Hunter Sea Mount (Guyut) was discovered by and named after the vessel.

In 2012, Derwent Hunter continues to assist with marine research, guests can get involved and help crew collect data for GBRMPA 'Eye on the Reef' programme, testing water clarity, analysing areas of reef, and completing sightings information crucial to maintaining our pristine Great Barrier Reef.

Sailing on a traditional tall ship is one of the truly great adventures that have inspired many to leave their humdrum lives and head to sea.


Boat ramp


Administrators McGrathNicol took control of the $200 million Meridien Marinas Port of Airlie project in September.

One of the first things done by the receivers was to change the company name from Meridien Marinas Abel Point Pty Ltd to A P Marina Pty Ltd usually to not tarnish the Meridien/Port of Airlie name in legal proceedings.

Anyhow, there is a fine four-lane boat ramp on site that should be open to the public. As McGrathNicol ignore inquires, hard done by local boaties will have to consider what action be taken to get access to this much needed facility.


Abel Point YC


Lyn Chalmers, Treasurer of APYC has dropped us a note.

"Hi Everyone, The Abel Point Yacht Club is holding an AGM 10am Sunday January 22, at the Sorrento Restaurant, Abel Point Marina."

"All members and interested sailors are welcome. We have committee positions vacant, If you would like to contribute to the continued growth of this progressive little club, please contact me on 0488 570 527"


Notice to Mariners


Someone at MSQ must have made a Freudian slip announcing that Koombooloomba Dam had 'damn' restrictions due to low water level.


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


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


Race protest clears winner

Race protest clears winner


Non-yacht racers were left puzzled about a protest, by the race committee, involving the line honours winner Investec Loyal following the supermaxi's history-making Sydney-Hobart win.

So, what was it all about?

A three-hour hearing by an international jury dismissed the protest brought by the Sydney-Hobart's race committee. The finding that the yacht's tactician Michael Coxon, a sailmaker who had built the mainsail for competitor Wild Oats XI, was only interested as to whether the sail, one of the most expensive ever constructed, had survived the gruelling conditions during the night.

It was alleged Investec Loyal had sought to gain an advantage by asking an ABC helicopter crew what sails its main rival and defending champion Wild Oats XI was using on day two of the race.

The race committee brought the protest under Rule 41, relating to outside assistance that may give a competitor an unfair advantage.

In an audio recording, Investec Loyal tactician Michael Coxon was heard asking the helicopter crew: "Can you confirm, does Wild Oats have their trysail up? What colour is the mainsail they've got up?"

Coxon told the jury he was concerned for the mainsail his company had constructed for Wild Oats XI specifically for the race.

"Our mainsail had taken a bit of a battering so I was worried about the status of theirs," Coxon said after the hearing.

Investec Loyal skipper Anthony Bell could not call the crew to let them know the outcome as his phone was ruined when the crew ceremonially threw him into the water after the race finish.

Much better for all concerned to hear a protest than to have the issue cloud the integrity of the race.


Storm death


When fishing charter boat Rapture left Hamilton Island Marina on the afternoon of Tuesday December 27 there would be no doubt the passengers were looking forward to a fishing adventure.

The storm that struck later changed adventure into tragedy with eleven of the dozen onboard dumped into the sea from the 30-foot charter fishing boat at about 4.30pm in Turtle Bay.

Two helicopters, a plane, water police officers, VMR vessels and several private boats scoured the area Wednesday.

Police divers arrived and began their search on Thursday afternoon finding the body of missing 31-year old Sydney woman in the still overturned charter boat.


RN caught short


The impact of the ongoing budget crisis in Britain on the Royal Navy is far reaching. Recently, it was revealed that the Type 23 frigate, HMS Westminster, went on patrol off the Libyan port city of Benghazi in March with just four Seawolf missiles. Designed to carry 32 Seawolf missiles to intercept incoming missiles fired at the ship, the missiles are fired two at a time, so had the ship come under attack, it would have had the capacity to defend against only two incoming anti-ship missiles.


Faux Prince booked


"Good deception is 80 per cent preparation and 20 per cent performance," says a faux Saudi Arabian prince who swindled $42,000 from Hamilton Island amid claims to have written a tell-all book about his exploits.

French backpacker conman Abdelkarim Serhani writes in his yet-to-be-released book L'imposteur that he spent 16 days on the Whitsundays island, in north Queensland, living a life of luxury, after scamming free accommodation, meals, drinks and $20,000 of champagne in 2009.

The 28-year-old imposter skipped court and headed to Darwin, before fleeing by boat to Bali, later taunting Queensland Police in a video message: "Catch me if you can."

The book is set to be released in Europe with an English translation to follow.


Late activation lax


A Mackay fisherman spent much more time lost by not turning on his EPIRB when he realised he was 'disorientated' CQ Rescue says.

The man, 28, only turned his distress beacon on when he heard the AMSA search plane overhead at Creal Reef.

Suffering mild dehydration and exposure he was located at 7.20am after an extensive air search on New Year's Day was abandoned due to the lack of light.


Marine licences


Marine licence verification is an online service to assist both marine licence holders and hire companies in the verification of Queensland Recreational Marine Drivers Licence (RMDL) and Personal Watercraft Licence (PWCL). A marine licence verification certificate costs $5.70 and provides verification of information recorded on Queensland Transport systems.


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

Queensland Government employs drones

Queensland Government employs drones


From the rough terrain of Afghanistan to Queensland's Great Barrier Reef and outback, unmanned flying surveillance drones are set to spy on fishers, boaters, green zones, tourists in bikinis, citizen landowners and weed farmers.

The Smart State is employing a "Brisbane-based business," wholly-owned by US aircraft giant Boeing, to test the spy aircraft.

Commissioned by the Smart State Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, surveillance experts will test the ScanEagle UAS and ISR to bring government spying to a new, higher, level Minister Jan Jarratt announced this week.

For those not in the know of government speak UAS are Unmanned Aircraft Systems that provide services for commercial and military applications, including ISR - Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.

"With monitoring illegal fishing and trawling, UAS have a big advantage because they can stay in the sky for much longer and at altitudes that ensure low noise and an element of stealth, meaning their ability to catch people doing illegal fishing and trawling is much greater." Minister Jarrett revealed.

The trials are subject to approval by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, and require the ScanEagle UAS to fly at 2000 or 3000 feet up to twelve hours day and night and needs show that the spy plane can detect and record sufficient evidence to warrant police charges and convictions made.

Costs of machinery and spymasters are part of the trial, to be conducted from January with Fisheries Queensland and Biosecurity Queensland.

Minister Jarratt said the aircraft could also be used to monitor invasive weed infestations in rural Queensland,

"The big issue with using manned aircraft is the risk to human safety in undertaking what the industry terms 'dull, dirty and dangerous' missions," Ms Jarratt said.

"If we can avoid people getting hurt by using UAS, then of course they are worth deploying in these types of projects."


Spy V eye in the sky


The spy in the sky may soon replace the eye in the sky approach used by Customs Coastwatch, now BPC – the grandly named Border Protection Command.

Out on the Barrier Reef at about midday Sunday your writer would keep a sharp skyward lookout for the predictable Coastwatch Cessna Caravan surveillance aircraft to hove into view. Once spied, I would then jump onto the VHF radio, to call them first and direct them to a working channel. It really upset them, as they wanted to call you and boss you about.

More fun was to be had on other occasions when the operator would call "blue schooner at Black Reef please change to channel 14 and identify" After changing VHF channel, I would ask "Hey Coastwatch, you must be new, the other guys know our name." Aargh, those were the days!


Shine a Light


ABC Local Radio has launched a series of photo and audio tours featuring lighthouses around Australia's coastline. 'Shine a Light' reveals the hidden stories of lighthouses that dot Australia's coastline, from the remote tip of the Dampier Peninsula in the Kimberley, to Maatsuyker Island in the roaring forties below Tasmania.

They are staunch and utilitarian, but they have stories of the land and sea around them, some amazing history and tales of the people who have lived, worked and played in their shadow.

After you've explored this audio and visual tour of Australia's lighthouses you can contribute your own lighthouse tale.

So far, there are no lighthouse photos or stories from Burnett Heads to Magnetic Island so there is plenty of scope to contribute.


Notice: Abbot Point


Clark Shoals area proposed multi cargo facility. Mariners are advised that geotechnical investigations and drilling works will continue through to 31 December in the area of Clark Shoal, north-west of Abbot Point. These works will be conducted from the jack up barges "Sealift 1" and "Sealift 2".

Mariners are advised to navigate with caution in the area and keep well clear of the jack up barges. The jack up barges and associated work boats will be appropriately lit at night. For further information please contact Peter Fielder from Australian Barge Hire on telephone 0418 254 210.

Abbot Point pilotage area - Mariners are advised that Special mark buoys with measuring equipment have been established; see full notice for details. AUS charts affected: 255, 259 & 828


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

Monday, January 02, 2012

Don't rubbish our sea kids say

Don't rubbish our sea kids say
What a year it has been for Eco Barge Clean Seas Inc and founder Libby Edge has set the not for profit community group a high mark for the new year.
"Help us to reach our goal of removing 12 thousand kilos of marine debris in 2012," Libby asked this week.
Ms Edge told the Whitsunday Coast Guardian that the goal for 2012 will be planned on the newly launched "Free the Whitsundays from Marine Debris" Calendar 2012 which highlights ways in which our community can help to reduce marine debris entering our marine environment.
"We all play a vital role in helping to protect the Great Barrier Reef, which is right on our doorstep," Ms Edge says.
"There is no better forum to highlight ways in which we can help reduce marine debris, than by listening to our local Reef Guardian school kids. Eco Barge Clean Seas Inc asked the Cannonvale State Primary School to run an art competition, to promote what our school children saw as ways we can all help reduce the threat of marine debris. These incredible artworks are used for our 2012 calendar available from the group or at IGA Jubilee Pocket.
Eco Barge Clean Seas Inc teamed up with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to remove rubbish from beaches on Thomas and Shaw Island in late November. This was a great day working together and a massive 651 kilos of marine debris was removed.
Libby Edge won two awards recently, the Peabody Environment Award and the Land Care award for Regional Achievement. Libby thanked the Whitsunday Council who helped her financially so that she was able to personally accept her award.
Give burrs the boot
Tourists are not the only island hoppers, invasive weed species seeds and burrs such as cobbler's pegs rely on hitching a ride attached to clothes, socks, shoes or camping gear.
To try and combat the spread of invasive weeds on our national park islands, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service are installing de-seeding stations on various islands along the coast. These stations will highlight to visitors how weeds can be transported on clothing and equipment and deposit bins will be available for seeds and burrs to be placed in for disposal by the Rangers. spies
Underwater spies are searching hulls of ships for explosives, weapons, narcotics and terrorism threats in New York; the place where the first use of a submersible in combat occurred. On September 6, 1776, Eza Lee in command of the 'Turtle', a one man submersible designed by David Bushnell, attempted and failed to sink Admiral Richard Howe's flagship HMS Eagle.  
The New York Police Department Harbor Unit now has at least six unmanned submersible drones, remote-operated vehicles, or R.O.Vs, to provide a new set of eyes to search for threats below the tide line.
Their drones can dive to 1,000 feet and range in weight from only 8 to 16 pounds.
More spies
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, state police in Michigan are now using "extraction devices" to download data from the mobile phones and devices of motorists that they pull over.  This is taking place even if those pulled over are not accused of any wrongdoing.
The devices can download text messages, photos, video, and even GPS data from most brands of devices. The handheld machines have various interfaces to work with different models and can even bypass security passwords to access information.
Plumbing the depths
German maritime archaeologists believe that they have to have found a urinal used by Kaiser Wilhelm II in the wreck of the light-cruiser, Udine, lying on the bottom of the Baltic Sea, sunk by the British in 1915.
At the time the significance of this Great Moment in Maritime Porcelain went unnoticed until later research revealed that the urinal was part of a special bathroom laid on for the Emperor's convenience.
The urinal is the most significant discovery in maritime porcelain since photographs of Captain Edward Smith's bathtub in the wreck of the Titanic.  Although, like his bathtub, Captain Smith went down with the ship.
Marine Notice
During the year we publish marine notices covering many dangers and incidents concerning signposts of the sea. It is our contribution towards an informed and safe community on the water. We wish all that use the water for fun or work a safe Christmas.
Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Asian tourists pose future and challenge

 Asian tourists pose

future and challenge


With news that Queensland saw a 25 per cent increase in Chinese visitors last year, marine and tourist staff will be faced with new challenges; that of communicating with different cultures and language.

Similar to the challenge faced by staff by the Japanese influx to Queensland some years ago, research and training is needed to ensure the increase in Asian tourists is catered for and expanded.

Tourism Whitsundays announced the launch of a Whitsundays tourism website written in simplified Chinese and hosted in China and say "we aim to provide the best service possible to continue to introduce Chinese travellers to the wonders of the Whitsundays."

Tourism employers need to provide training for staff to make this happen.


Sounds good!


Tourism Whitsundays' Christina Unterwurzacher came up with "Today's best translation from Chinese to English: Heart Reef = "Fascinating Love Reef". Now that has to sell the reef!


Olympic preview


The world's best Olympic class sailors have descended on Western Australia as the action starts this week at the Perth ISAF Sailing World Championships.

Eighty countries have sent sailors to Australia for a chance to quality for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Australia's 103 sailors will contest all ten Olympic classes against 1200+ of the world's best athletes competing on Fremantle Harbour.

The Aussie 470 women's fleet includes Olympic Gold medallists Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell.

Competition is set to conclude with four medal races close to shore on Sunday December 18 with the 49er, Laser, 470 women and RS:X men classes racing with live coverage through Network Ten and OneHD during the event.


Rangers net rubbish


Much of the marine debris encountered by the coastal regions of northern Australia is fishing-related: nets, ropes, floats, and associated items. Based on analyses of net types, nearly 90% of the derelict nets identified originate from Southeast Asia. During the monsoon season each year, hundreds of nets — some several kilometres long — float into the Gulf of Carpentaria in Australia's Northern Territory.

This annual surge of "ghost nets" poses a challenge for management of the region's indigenous protected areas as most of the northern Australia coast is owned and occupied by indigenous people.

GhostNets Australia is an alliance of 22 indigenous communities from coastal northern Australia Established in 2004; the program has trained and supported indigenous ranger groups in removing more than 7500 nets so far, on shore and at sea. One ranger group spent three weeks this year undertaking cleanups of fishing gear and other debris at sea. Using a barge and two patrol boats, the rangers removed 465 ghost nets weighing a total of 66 tons.


Castaways found on Pacific atoll


Two men missing for 33 days, aged 53 and 26, from the Pacific Ocean island nation of Kiribati, , came ashore over 300 miles away on Namorik Atoll, in the Marshall Islands. The men were reported to be weak, but otherwise not in bad shape, considering their ordeal.

The record for time spent adrift in recent times is thought to be three Mexican fishermen who drifted over 5,000 miles of Pacific Ocean for almost ten months in 2006.


Volvo Ocean Race


The start of the second leg is scheduled to leave Cape Town on December 11, for an unspecified destination, where the yachts will be loaded aboard a transport ship and taken to the next stopover at Abu Dhabi.

This decision has been forced, race organisers say, by the frequency of pirates off the east African coast, and the practical impossibility of individually protecting the yachts from boarding and seizure.


Sub lost on Qld coast


Mariners are asked to keep watch for a robotic submarine that has been lost, last seen just below the surface of the water east of Moreton Island, 1.3 NM north of Henderson Rock. The device has dual yellow hulls, two metres long and 1.5 metres deep. The device also has an emergency beacon which quick flashes twice every three seconds. If located contact Stefan Williams from University of Sydney on telephone 0403 849 183.


Mariner notice


Bird Island - Mariners are advised that the West Cardinal Mark light Q(9) 15s 14m 5M on Bird Island which is south of Hayman Island has been reported to be unlit. AUS charts 252, 254 & 825


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


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