Friday, February 17, 2012

Queen to visit Airlie Beach this Saturday

Make it a special day this Saturday, get your boat on the water or take advantage of a charter boat to see close up the magnificent RMS Queen Mary 2 at anchor off Airlie Beach.

RMS Queen Mary 2 is a transatlantic ocean liner, the first major ocean liner built since Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1969, the ship she succeeded as flagship of the famous Cunard Line. QM2 entered service in 2004 as the largest, longest, widest, tallest and most expensive passenger liner in history.

With the retirement of RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 from active duty in 2008, Queen Mary 2 is currently the only transatlantic ocean liner operating a scheduled service between Southampton and New York, although the ship is currently on her annual world cruise, winter crossings of the Atlantic not being in favour. RMS is the prefix for ships that carry mail under contract to British Royal Mail.

No ship has ever been designed like QM2, a liner that sets the benchmark for others, extends the boundaries of ship design, and which is the fastest since Cunard's own QE2. QM2 is a technically advanced machine far ahead of any passenger ship in service today, and will be so for some many years to come.

At the time of her construction in 2003, Queen Mary 2 was at 151,400 gross registered tons (GRT), was the largest and remains the largest ocean liner, as opposed to cruise ship, ever built. The current cruise ship biggie is the 225,282 GT Allure of the Seas launched in November 2010.

Her top speed of just over 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph) and cruising speed of 26 knots (48 km/h; 30 mph), makes her much faster than contemporary cruise ships.

Queen Mary 2 has fifteen restaurants and bars, five swimming pools, a casino, a ballroom, a theatre, and the first planetarium at sea. Agents say there are also kennels on board, as well as a nursery, although not strictly in that order.

As of December 2011 Queen Mary 2, and all ships of the Cunard fleet, changed their registry to Hamilton, Bermuda to host weddings on board thus ending 127 years of Cunard British registry.


Meet and greet


Our Volunteer Ambassadors will do the meet and greet for some of the 3000 passengers who come ashore in Airlie Beach. Other passengers will take trips to the Great Barrier Reef. Want to become an Ambassador? Judi Dunn 0408 285 915


Planning a boating trip?


Check the weather before you go says the Bureau of Meteorology and they have prepared a few tips to keep everyone safe and happy!

The Four vital weather checks to include when planning your boating trip are Warnings, Weather, Wind and Wave Conditions.

Check the Bureau's round-the-clock forecast service for all Australian coastal waters. You can access the BOM marine website using 3G mobile coverage if you are close to the coast. Additionally, there are VHF and HF radio broadcasts besides regular updates on commercial radio. The full story with links -- check On the Waterfront


End of Cowboys


Fifty years ago, John Glenn's spaceflight on February 20 spelled the end for cowboys when every boy (and some girls;-) at least thought about becoming an astronaut. Pirate movies took a knock for some years but seem to have made substantial inroads in recent times.

The Mercury spacecraft, named Friendship 7 made three orbits of the Earth, piloted by astronaut John Glenn, who became the first American to orbit the Earth almost a year after Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin .


One bounce


Sailors know that when using a tool on deck a lanyard or some such contraption really should secure it.

Also known is that if an unsecured tool drops on the deck it will bounce once -- and go over the side.

Waterfront hears there is a shotgun that bounced once and following the one bounce law is now on the bottom of Molle Passage.

Is this waterfront yarn a smoking gun or just a daydream?


Marine Notice


Daydream Island - Mariners may notice that the backlight of the leading lights marking the route through Unsafe Passage is partially obscured and/or of lower intensity. Use caution or get the tree dudes to clear some branches possibly obscuring the light.


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


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


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Year of sail on horizon for Whitsunday


Year of sail on horizon


The announcement of this year's Seawind Rally shows that another year of great sailing is on the horizon for Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Barrier Reef islands.

On the calendar for the week of June 16-23, the Seawind Rally fleet cruises each day to a different anchorage where beach barbeques are enjoyed complete with onshore variety club entertainment. Seawind owners may sail their own yacht or charter a Seawind sailing catamaran from a local bare boat company for the rally.


Rabaul Queen


'Rabaul Queen' sank early on February 2, shortly after transmitting a distress signal, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). She was voyaging her regular route from Kimbe on New Britain Island to Lae on mainland PNG, with 12 crew and an estimated 350 passengers aboard.

The ship operator Star Ships has indicated that bad weather may have caused the sinking. Survivors reportedly told rescuers that large waves had hit the vessel just before it sank.

The PNG Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre oversaw efforts to recover survivors, assisted by AMSA, search-and-rescue personnel from Papua New Guinea and Australia, and merchant ships in the area. 246 people have been rescued to date, with over 100 still missing.


Titanic 100 years


The RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and sank on 15 April 1912, in the North Atlantic Ocean South-East of Newfoundland on her maiden voyage to New York City resulting in the deaths of 1,517 people in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.

An event to remember, a Titanic contest organised by amateur radio operators at Queensland's Maritime Museum, Southbank will feature on April 15.

The story of the Titanic and the iceberg has grown into a legend of the sea. It took her discovery in 1985 to begin to find the truth behind the tragedy. One of the things that make the Titanic so fascinating is that she represented the best of technology when she set sail on her ill-fated voyage in 1912.

Checking for this piece your writer discovered that there is available a luxurious 8" plush bear wearing the official uniform of Captain Edward J. Smith and commended as "A great gift and collectible for all ages." Although not a gambler, the Titanic Playing Cards are a nice touch however, the collectable Titanic mini snow globe gives me shivers.


A good row


Twenty-three identical 8-meter boats set off at the weekend in the third Bouvet Guyane Solo Atlantic Rowing Race for a nice 2,600-nauticle mile row between Senegal and Guyana. One major challenge of the race will be crossing the equatorial counter currents. The route passes through the Intertropical Convergence Zone where sporadic and unpredictable winds can be violent. Also in the approach to Guyana, the rowers must cope with where powerful coastal currents. Sounds like fun!


New Investigator


Construction began in Singapore this week on 'Investigator', a new AU$120 million research vessel and Australia's Marine National Facility.

Toni Moate, executive director of the Future Research Vessel Project at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), attended the steel-cutting ceremony in Singapore. She said the research vessel would be capable of conducting marine research from our coastal waters, to the Antarctic ice edge and to the tropical waters to the north.

"The equipment on board our new vessel will allow Australian scientists to carry out advanced atmospheric research onboard the Marine National Facility," said Ms Moate. "It will also be capable of mapping the seafloor six kilometres below the surface, conducting deep water coring to 24 metres."


Allure of the Seas


On Friday morning, a British passenger fell overboard from the balcony of his cabin on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Allure of the Seas, while cruising off the coast of Mexico near the island of Cozumel. The Allure of the Seas with a capacity of 5,400 passengers is currently the largest cruise ship in the world. The passenger, a 30-year-old man, is still missing, despite searches by the Mexican Navy and Coast Guard.

This is the third recorded case of passengers or crew lost overboard from a cruise ship this year and the second incident on a Royal Caribbean ship.

In 2011, 23 people were reported lost overboard on cruise ships and ferries. Since 2000, 176 were reported lost.


Fitzroy Reef Lagoon


Mariners be advised that the starboard lateral mark buoy at the entrance to Fitzroy Reef Lagoon has been replaced in position. AUS charts 366 & 819


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


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


Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Check the weather before going out

 Planning a boating trip? Check the weather before you go!

If you're preparing to head out on the water this summer, check the Bureau's round-the-clock forecast service for all Australian coastal waters.

Four vital checks

There are four things to take note of when planning your boating trip: Warnings, Weather, Wind and Wave Conditions.

1.    Warnings current for your boating area

Warnings are the highest priority forecasts. They warn of potentially dangerous wind conditions expected during the next 24 hours. Winds of 26 knots or more indicate rough conditions for small boats.


Type of warning

Average wind speeds indicated

Strong wind

26 knots or more


34 knots or more

Storm force

48 knots or more


64 knots or more


2.    Weather conditions affecting safe navigation and comfort

Coastal water forecasts provide information about conditions that may affect safe boating.


Take note of forecasts indicating reduced visibility from fog or risks to safety and comfort from thunderstorms, lightning or squall conditions.


Some forecasts will also include information on UV levels and the times of day to use sun protection.


3.    Wind conditions

To plan your trip for the best conditions, look for forecast trends in wind speeds and shifts in wind direction over the day. Forecast winds are average wind speeds, with gusts being up to 40% stronger.


Wind conditions for the next three or four days can also be found in coastal or local waters forecasts. Three-hourly marine forecast maps are also available from the Bureau's Forecast Explorer tool available in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. These forecasts are all accessible from the Marine Services website:








4.    Wave conditions

Also take note of swell and sea wave conditions and how your boat reacts to short sharp sea waves against longer and flatter, but more powerful, swell waves.


Swell waves don't enter enclosed waterways, but do have a dramatic effect on entrances to these areas.


Enclosed waterways are affected by sea waves – waves produced by the wind blowing across the region. A sea height of 1 metre can create enough chop to swamp a small boat. For coastal waters, you need to consider swell and sea waves. Swell waves can be of considerable danger near reefs and breakwaters.


The combination of sea and swell heights indicates the wave conditions you may experience. But you can't just add one to the other. For instance, a 2.5 metre swell and 2 metre seas results in wave conditions over 3.2 metres. See for information on how to calculate combined sea and swell height.


Getting forecasts while you're out on the water

You can access our marine website using 3G mobile coverage if you're close to the coast. Forecasts are also provided by VHF and HF radio broadcasts. The Bureau's radio schedule is available at: Depending on local arrangements, warnings are generally broadcast every hour whilst forecasts are generally broadcast every few hours.  


Happy boating from the Bureau of Meteorology!



Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Celebrating the Black Water Dragon

Celebrating the Black Water Dragon


The new lunar year is the Year of the Black Water Dragon. Also known as Chinese New Year, the lunar New Year is celebrated currently for 15 days, from the first day of the first new moon of the year to the first full moon. We wish everyone a most happy and prosperous Year of the Black Water Dragon.


Free Draught Beer?


Well no, that's just to draw your attention to the issue of the draught and under keel clearance of ships operating within Torres Strait and World Heritage Area Great Barrier Reef waters.

With more and larger ships operating in these waters, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) addresses the keel clearance issue. AMSA has accepted a web-based real-time Under Keel Clearance Management (UKCM) system developed under contract by OMC International for the waters of Torres Strait.

AMSA will operate the web-based system that will become mandatory for pilot usage in Torres Strait from July and will become operational when new survey charts are produced.

Compulsory pilotage through Torres Strait was implemented in 2006 and applies to all vessels over 70 metres in length and all loaded tankers, chemical tankers and liquefied gas carriers.

Following a study of hydrographic data and tidal information in the 1970s by the then Federal Department for Transport, vessels with a draught of 12.2 metres were able to pass through Torres Strait on any day of the year whilst maintaining the required UKC, but is restricted to periods around times of high water.

Complementing the system of pilotage and the recent extension to Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Vessel Traffic Service (REEFVTS) coverage, the UKCM system provides a modern aid to navigation that links complex shore-based calculations with ship-based operations.

Of particular concern is the potential uncertainty in relation to water depth resulting from the large survey tolerances associated with the most recent surveys of the Torres Strait and the charts currently in use.


Royal Navy sinking


The Royal Navy has proven that it can only be defeated when politicians and bean counters take the helm. Recently, the Royal Navy acknowledged that it did not have a warship on emergency stand-by in British waters for the entire month of October. In the past, a destroyer or frigate, designated as the Fleet Ready Escort (FRE), was in readiness to respond to an emergency at home or abroad. Due to budget cuts, no ship was available. A spokesperson called the FRE role a 'luxury'. Former First Sea Lord, Admiral Lord Alan West, disagreed, saying, 'I would hardly say it is a luxury. If there was a terrorism incident in UK waters, this would historically be the ship sent in to deal with it."


Project on ice?


In the US, a Michigan Homeland Security Program provided grants to the 13 Michigan counties. Included was one snow cone machine for each county, at a total cost of $11,700.

"It is used to attract people so they can be educated and prepared for homeland security," says Executive Director Sandeep Dey. "More importantly, in a medical emergency the machine was capable of making ice packs which could be used for medical purposes or be useful at the scene of a large fire or during very hot weather."

"I   don't like the term snow cone machine, because it sounds horrible," he said. "When you look at it as an 'ice shaving machine' and considering the purpose, it makes a little more sense."


Notices to Mariners


Queensland waterways - boating on flood affected waterways mariners should be closely monitoring both the weather and the tides and ensuring they place the utmost emphasis on the safety of their craft and passengers. Mariners should exercise extreme caution if boating on flood-affected waterways. Consider wearing life jackets at all times. Vessels operating on rivers and inland waterways, should travel at reduced speeds, keep a careful watch for floating debris, and avoid operating at night or in low visibility.


Hayman Channel - Mariners are advised that the lighted green starboard lateral mark buoy Fl G 6s, which marks Hayman Reef, has been reinstated. AUS charts 252, 254 & 825


Lagoon Rock off Whitehaven Beach - Mariners are advised that a lighted west cardinal mark buoy Q (9) 15s has been established to mark Lagoon Rock off Whitehaven Beach. The buoy is a temporary mark replacing a beacon that has been destroyed. AUS charts 252, 253, 824 & 825


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


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