Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Whitsunday Fantasea crew and you

Fantasea crew and you


They are not just marine crew. The Whitsunday Fantasea crew are a diverse group of people who are our friends, shipmates, neighbours, playmates and ratepayers. Their kids go to school with our kids. They shop where we shop and enjoy their sports and their kid's sports with us. We share our BBQs, car pool the children to birthday parties, sports and dance lessons. For many years, we have shared all the good things of living in what we would all like to be paradise. We share meetings, weddings, births, laughs, loss, shoulders to cry on, time to listen, lawnmowers and eskies together.

They are what we lose if they are forced away. Our kids lose friends and their school loses students. We lose the skilled critical mass that makes us what we are. An event like this ripples through the fabric of our town, further eroding our sense of community.

There is no question that 80 people and their families departing town would greatly affect our local economy.

The jobs drive recruitment night last Friday was the concept of Christie Leet of PRD and John Nayler at and others so contact them for updates or if you can help or need help.

"This is what our true community spirit is about," Whitsunday Mayor Jennifer Whitney said on Friday night.


Hand bitten off


Yachting & Boating World reports a boat captain is recovering in hospital after an alligator bit off his hand during a tourist trip in the Everglades swamp in Florida, USA.

Capt Wally Weatherholt was leading a family tour when a 2.7-metre alligator leaped out of the water bitting his left hand, severed it and swallowed it whole.

Wildlife officials killed the 'gator, retrieved the hand from its stomach and took it to the hospital but doctors were unable to reattach it.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are investigating whether Weatherholt was feeding or baiting the animal before the attack, a second-degree misdemeanour in Florida. Jorge Pino, an officer with FWCC, said that it was common for swamp skippers to take unnecessary risks with dangerous animals.

"The more flamboyant you are, the more aggressive you are in getting an alligator to come close to the boat, the more tips you're going to end up getting," he said.

Weatherholt's employers, Capt. Doug's Everglades Tours, are planning to lend a hand and hold a fundraiser to help the injured man and his family.


Modern war policy


'Russian' cargo ship The MV Alaed, was reportedly carrying refurbished Russian attack helicopters, missiles and unspecified munitions, on a voyage from Russia to the Syrian port of Tartus, where Russia maintains its only warm water port outside of the former Soviet Union.

Off Scotland, the ship turned around and headed back to Russia. The change of course was not induced by warships or threats of air attack, but by the withdrawal of the ship's Protection and Indemnity insurance policy by The Standard Club in London.

So insurance is the new war manoeuvre. Policy and paperwork is the new steel and beats the bomb and missile. A statement by the British insurer, Standard Club said that cover was withdrawn because the owners of the ship had "broken internal rules" of the mutual insurance association.

"We were informed that the ship might be carrying weapons, in particular Mi-25 attack helicopters, missiles and non-specific munitions. There are exclusion clauses in our cover and, for anyone involved in improper or unlawful trade, we can cancel cover."

Though listed as part of the fleet belonging to Russian company FEMCO, the ship is registered to Volcano Shipping in the Dutch Antilles, flagged Island Territory of Curaçao, and chartered by United Nordic Shipping in Copenhagen, Denmark.

STOP PRESS: The MV Alaed has been reflagged under the Russian flag and is reported to be ready to set sail from Murmansk to Syria in a few days. Hope they have insurance.


Mariner notices


Bowen Harbour entrance - Mariners are advised that an unlit yellow spar buoy has been temporarily established marking the position of the partially submerged 7.5-metre fibreglass fishing vessel 'Kypena'.


Powerful statement


"It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible."


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Whitsunday sailor safe: ordeal reported

Whitsunday sailor safe: ordeal reported


"Thin pall of smoke on desert island gives hope in search for lost sailor" says the UK Daily Mail front page this week.

"The dramatic news came today as local Tongan fishermen waited out a storm that swept through the area where the Englishman, named as Ian Thompson, and his unnamed companion, went missing after their yacht struck a reef last week."

The sensational report includes a photo of Ian Thompson, a youthful 60 and outlines his plans to settle in the idyllic Whitsunday islands of Queensland after sailing his newly purchased yacht Navillus from the Caribbean.

Unfortunately for the UK Daily Mail the photo they used is of Ian Thomson of Airlie Beach who has survived storms and the like and incidentally, has had a 50-foot yacht in Tonga. The photo was lifted from Ian's Facebook page and used without his permission or checking to see if he was at home in Airlie Beach. He is.

So the exciting story, "encountering fierce seas, rescuers believed the pair's only chance of survival, scramble ashore, rain squalls, cliffs on a deserted Pacific island, uninhabited volcanic island, given hope that, wrecked their 50ft yacht, The yacht's wreckage, may have survived a shipwreck – is a bit of a beat up.

But wait there's more. "No sign of the men - until the mysterious pall of smoke was spotted rising up from near the summit of the volcano. Smoke at a volcano?

And there is a girl: A Tongan journalist, Miss Monalisa Palu, reached by the ABC, said that the smoke might be a good sign that the men had managed to make it onto the island.

His (Ian Thompson's) plan was to sail it to the Whitsunday Island and enjoy a 'gentleman's life' in retirement.

'Everyone loves him,' the friend told the Adelaide Advertiser. 'He is very cautious about sea safety and we are all hoping he has washed up somewhere and is safe.'

'The yacht's dinghy has been found and an un-deployed liferaft, as well as a number of life jackets.'

Contacted by The Whitsunday Coast Guardian, Airlie's Ian Thomson replied, "Wow. I look young for 60. Funny that I've had a 50ft yacht in Tonga before but not me this time. I'm safe at home in Airlie."

So while there may be a story about shipwreck in the Pacific, and hopefully it does not include loss of life, it does not include one Ian Thomson of Airlie Beach.

Newspapers, like navigation: Always check your facts!


Canberra's Navy


I heard a joke once or twice about Canberra being the perfect place from which to run the navy, plenty of admirals, bureaucrats and pollies and not a ship on the horizon.

Bit of disaster really, submarines that can't go under water, ships that have trouble going through the water and all run by people that think they walk on water.

This week the latest second hand ship bought with much trumpeting and self-praise glory by the Canberra mob could not take part in the current exercise at Shoalwater Bay Training Area, as HMAS Choules had to limp home for propulsion repairs having lost half its engine power.

Royal Australian Navy's 'new' landing ship had a defect that was "very unusual" said the previous British owners.

"Never had a problem wif it Gov, never a prob, ever, really," a spokeschap said.

The problem highlights the parlous state of the Australian Navy's fleet. HMAS Choules was bought from the United Kingdom last year to fill the gaping hole left in the amphibious ship fleet due to problems with HMAS Tobruk, HMAS Sirius and HMAS Success.

HMAS Sirius has been in planned maintenance for most of this year and HMAS Success has not been operational since December 2010, with $86m spent on the ship to try to fix its problems.

Wonder if it has anything to do with the lowest level of funding in Defence since 1938?


Whitsunday marine notice


Diving operations around aids to navigation in various locations, that a team of divers will be conducting visual inspections of a number of aids to navigation in the Whitsunday area.

The divers will be operating off the vessel 'Harwood', registration number 450QD, will display the appropriate signals and keep a listening watch on VHF channels 12 and 16. Vessels should keep well clear and exercise caution in the vicinity. AUS charts 250, 251, 252, 253, 823 & 824.


Einstein was right


"If you can't explain it simply you don't understand it enough"


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan



Yarr! Pirates take the Reef!

Pirates take Reef!


Yarr! Pirates of the fun loving and polite kind arrr taking over Airlie Beach in August for a new look Reef Festival hooked up with Fun Race.

Place a mark on yer calendar on the weekend of August 16-19 for a weekend that will commence with canons firing a broadside with Friday night fireworks and the smell of black powder in the air. That be follered by music an stompin' about on the waterfront.

Saturday will launch with the Lions markets from sun up for treasure and trinkets galore so ye can buy something small for your figurehead. Yo! That's right, it be Fun Race day on the water with something for everyone. After 35 years of racing for rum, that day will see ships of all sizes take to the waters of Airlie Beach for a day of colour and beauty. Yachts covered with flags and bunting, crews decked out with imaginative costumes, glamorous figureheads uncovered and plenty of spectator craft of every size and style. 

Having survived Airlie Beach Race Week, Airlie will be buzzing with activity for the biggest festival and party of the year.

After Fun Race many lies will be told and the party will begin around Airlie featuring the after race party at the Whitsunday Sailing Club.

Landlubbers who get seasick looking at their cup of tea need not worry as they can still dress as pirates, join the crew or just spy-upon the street parade, and conquer the streets of Airlie Beach.

Sunday will dawn with nary a sore head? But wait, there's more. Ye can't afford yer own ship ya say? Course you can. Anything that will float yer boat is welcome at the recyclable regatta where you could win vast amounts of treasure. The little fenders, I mean kids, will enjoy the sand-sculpting competition if they can push the oldies off the beach. Then the whole family crew can enjoy the fun day on the waterfront.

Whitsunday Sailing Club manager and good sort, Ange Rae says, "get into your pirate gear and get into Airlie Beach for a fun and fantastic weekend. The Reef Festival and The Great Whitsunday Fun Race have something to offer every pirate, young or rustic."

Better book yer berths now


What in a name?


Story last week about a boat with an odd name caught some interest from readers, so how about a few thoughts about the not very exact science of boat naming.

OK, you have a boat. Silly you! Don't worry too much about changing the boat name; I can do a combined name change and exorcism for a wholesale price. That's the last thing you will not have to pay full price for.

Shortly after parting with your cash, sit down with a stack of sticky notes, a pen and started writing names down as quickly as they come to mind. Try a few names to get warmed up; Wavedancer, Sea wolf, Freedom, Si yes da, No more Mondays and I quit, will help you get going.

After about 100 such names, and don't forget Sea Hag and Old Dragon for you know who and Captain Ron if ye be Kurt Russell. You're a Banker? Try A Crewed Interest or The Loan Ranger or even Tax Seavation.

Oh My Darling would sound good on the marine radio; bound to get at least a few snickers. Here is a good thing to remember, you might have to use the boat name on marine radio. Follow the same advice for naming dogs or kids, that is you might have to walk around and yell it aloud. Watch out for Makin' Luff and Sea-duction. OK, that's enough Loon-a-sea for now, Sea ya!


Cruise Ship Forum


Tourism Queensland will conduct a second Cruise Ship industry forum in June, for anyone who is currently involved and those who want to be involved in the growing cruise ship market. Topics include; the economic benefits of the cruise industry and projected growth; an update on the season; an overview of which cruise ships will be in Queensland in the season ahead. The release of the Cruise Passenger Surveys and QLD Port Experience Audit results and How the cruise industry works from the perspective of the Cruise Lines.

Wednesday June 13, 8.45am to 12.30pm, followed by a light lunch. At Peppers Coral Coast, Mt Whitsunday Drive, Airlie Beach - RSVP to


"When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt."


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan






Saturday, June 02, 2012

Airlie Beach Race Week looms on the horizon

Airlie Beach Race Week looms on the horizon


Since beginning Airlie Beach Race Week registrations a few weeks ago, the Whitsunday Sailing Club has received about 50 entries and are looking to tip the 100 mark for the sailing of the 23rd regatta.

Sailing from August 9-16 on the waters off Airlie Beach and around the Whitsunday Islands the event will still be based at Abel Point Marina and the waterfront at the Whitsunday Sailing Club.

"We have also added in a PHS multihull division as we want as many class of boats in the event and to open it up to everyone who sails in the area," says Commodore Rob Davis.

"After all, one of our main motivations for holding the event is to promote the sport of sailing and we want to see as many cruising yachts as possible coming up the coast to join in the event."

This year, competitors need to arrange their own berthing through Abel Point Marina, but there are other options. As long as the yacht is registered for the event and in the water, they can be anchored, moored or berthed anywhere within vicinity of the racing.

The Race Committee has negotiated a discount of 25% off berth prices for entrants who want to berth at Abel Point Marina. As Rob Davis says, "we have done everything possible to make this event appealing and accessible to as many sailors as possible. There is a good reason this is called the 'tropical shirt regatta' and we want to fill the town and create a great week of racing and socialising in paradise."


www = Whitsunday Wind Week


With the cold weather starting to set in (more so in the southern states!) it is no wonder many keen sailors want to head to the Whitsundays to join in the winter regattas. More information or register online -


Olympic threat thwarted


When his young sons wanted to give the four-metre family motorboat a "silly name", Laurence Godfrey was happy to let children be children until he suddenly attracted the attention of police and the Ministry of Defence.

Dr Godfrey says he was told he must change the boat's name because it could allegedly cause a threat to security at the London Olympics.

The Physicist's son Dylan, then aged 11 had heard the name on TV and thought it was funny, so proudly hand-painted the name 'Bin Laden 1' on the four-metre runabout.

Despite the family using it for two years without complaint, they were stopped by police after landing at Greenwich Yacht Club following a jolly trip on the Thames last weekend.

Physicist Dr Godfrey had taken his son Waylan, six, Dylan, now 13, and Dylan's 13-year-old school friend along the river to see Tower Bridge.

"Until they started shouting at me I assumed the police boat was nothing to do with me," he said considering his grave situation.

"The first question they asked me was, 'Why did you call the boat Bin Laden? I said, 'You better ask my child because that's who named it'."


Bondi sharks caught out


The headlines sold (sorry, told) the story of "Hungry great white 'just off Bondi Beach', say fisherman" while YouTube and television ran with "Massive great white shark launches frenzied attack next to fishing boat" recently, however one news outlet has retracted the story.

"Henry Minter, one of the fibber fishermen who was aboard the boat, said the encounter took place only 200 meters, beyond the shore. He estimated the shark's length to be at least 18 feet"

"Never seen anything this big so close to Sydney, a real shock to the Sydney fishing and surfing community." He told anyone who would listen.

'Fishing World' wrote "On the subject of sharks, it came to light after we'd posted it that the video of a great white shark attacking off Bondi Beach recently, was actually shot a decade ago around 25 miles off the coast - not the 200-metres its maker claims.


Marine Notices


Entrance of the Pioneer River, Mariners are advised that the number 2 beacon Fl R 2.5s at the entrance of the Pioneer River has been destroyed. AUS charts 249 & 250


"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain," Said Dolly Parton


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


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


Time for teens to go boating

Time for teens to go boating


Recently talked to a young visitor from Victoria who was visiting Queensland. He likes the climate but didn't like the fact that he was not able to drive the family boat.

"Thirteen year old kids at home can drive a boat and go fishing, but they can't here," he told me at the footy.

"We thought this was a boating area, but you have silly laws."

"Hang on a minute," says I. "We are just stuck with silly laws made by someone else who probably couldn't find their way down to the seaside."

For visitors to Queensland, licences issued by other safety authorities within the Commonwealth of Australia or other entities recognised by Maritime Safety Queensland include current boating licences issued in other states (excludes junior licences). Hopefully your licence will be recognised.

Notice 'excludes junior licences'? Let's take a look at some other places starting with Victoria where there is a 'Teens go boating' program run by Boating Victoria offering Recreational Boat Licence Courses for adults and kids 13 years and up.

What's this? A restricted boat operator licence is required by any person over the age of 12, and under 16, who is operating a powered recreational vessel. OK, there are conditions; speeds of less than 10 knots operating between sunrise and sunset not towing a person, another vessel or any object.

In the wilds of Canada, kids under 12 years of age, and not directly supervised can operate vessels with under 10 hp. Between 12 years and under 16 years of age and not directly supervised  Can operate vessels with under 40 hp. Moreover, the cost for the online course, at home in your own time is $49.95 + tax.

And if you want to go where the government has even less stupid ideas perhaps check out New Zealand where there is no requirement for a recreational boat license for any age.

Makes you wonder about the state of the Sunshine State.


Interstate licence


So if you come here Maritime Safety Queensland recommends that you obtain a Queensland recreational marine driver licence. Take your current interstate recreational boat licence and you wallet to a Department of Transport and Main Roads customer service centre.

Expired interstate licences will not be accepted for conversion to a Queensland licence. If your interstate licence has expired, you will need to either renew your licence with the relevant interstate marine authority or meet Queensland's recreational marine driver licence requirements – a full day course and expect to part with a fair bit of money.


Costa Lotta


Representatives of salvage company Titan-Micoperi presented their plans to raise the Costa Concordia from where she sank after running aground and capsizing off the island of Gilgio last January.

The plan is, once the ship is stabilized, an underwater platform will be built and watertight boxes, or caissons, fixed to the side of the ship that is above water.

Two cranes fixed to the platform will pull the ship upright, helped by the weight of the caissons, which will be filled with water.

When the ship is upright, caissons will be fixed to the other side of the hull to stabilize it.

Finally, the caissons on both sides will be emptied, after the water inside has been purified to protect the marine environment, and filled with air, Costa said.

Once the giant ship has been refloated, it will be towed to an Italian port, probably in Tuscany, to be dismantled and disposed of according to local regulations. The officials who presented details of the recovery operation gave no exact cost, but a Costa Cruises representative said that the figure would probably be about $300 million.


Hot ice ship


A fire broke out on the 95-meter long, 3911 dwt research vessel Aurora Australis while berthed at Hobart, Tasmania. The fire started in the laundry when a towel overheated and caught fire in a dryer. The local fire brigade was called to the scene and quickly extinguished the blaze. Reports state there was minimal damage and no injuries.


Consider this


'The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.'


Fair winds to Ye!


Cap'n Dan

Survey: What sailors want?

Survey: What sailors want?


Yachting Australia has released the findings of a research report into the perceptions of sailing in Australia. The report will shape future Yachting Australia and yacht club programs to increase membership and participation.

Funded by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC), and conducted between September and November last year, the survey was sent to nearly 30,000 people, including club members, focus groups, primarily with people not currently in the sport, and workshops with Yachting Australia and the BIA.

Yachting Australia CEO Phil Jones said that the information will shape a number of future programs and initiatives.

 "In working with the ASC we identified the lack of solid data and evidence into the levels of participation in sailing," he said. "While there are plenty of opinions in the sailing community, we really needed solid and objective information about what club members and the Australian public think of our sport.

"We now have the basis for shaping future Yachting Australia programs, communicating the insights in the report to officials and members, of the 390 clubs around Australia," said Jones.

 "There are no big surprises to what many people would have guessed, but there are lots of insights and identified priorities that will enable us to be much more effective in growing participation

The top insights are that, Australians generally have a low rate of both participation in, and passion for, sailing. Sailing is perceived as an 'exclusive' sport while not being seen as very 'accessible'. Yacht Clubs are generally not welcoming, and are for older people only although primary and secondary school age children and young families have the highest interest in participating in sailing in the future

Relaxation is consistently the most important reason for participation in sailing among both current sailors and those interested in sailing. New participants are interested in a social, relaxed activity rather than competition, the later tending to be more important to current club members.

The main barrier for future participation is the perceived cost of sailing. And the big positive message? Sailing is adventurous, responsible, friendly and fun. That's well known to those in the sailing community and hopefully many more Australians will experience this in the future.


Over and Out?


John Mair, manager of the Office of Maritime Communications at the Australian Maritime College reports about marine radio issues, the preparation of the new handbooks and a change in the communications procedures.

"The current radiotelephone procedures were basically handed down from the radiotelegraphy (Morse code) method of sending and receiving messages. The International Phonetic Alphabet was used to spell words in times of communications difficulties, and the International Code of Signals was also used. The most common query is the use of the letter R ROMEO and when it is to be used. Obviously, Romeo is still used to indicate the letter R when spelling out a word. The original acknowledgement for a distress message sent via Morse code was the use of the letter R sent three times R R R or via radiotelephone if necessary Romeo Romeo Romeo. However, over time the reference or use of anything radiotelegraphy has been dropped. The acknowledgement of a distress message now includes the words RECEIVED MAYDAY. Romeo had also been used to indicate, "I have received and understand your message" during general or routine communications.

"Over the past few years this has been dropped, and the word Roger has crept in and become the most common practice. However, officially, Romeo should be replaced with the word Received. The next versions of the handbooks will reflect the changes, as indicated in the examples of radiotelephone procedures that should be used.

"The word Over indicates an invitation to the receiver to respond, and the word Out means the sender has finished this communications session. It is therefore not acceptable to end a transmission with the words Roger, Over and Out!


Marine Notices


Whitsunday Passage - Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service will be conducting controlled burns from May 21 to 25. The affected islands include Gloucester Island, Grassy Island, North Molle Island, Whitsunday Island and Henning Island. Visibility may be affected by this operation. AUS charts 252 and 825


Fitzalan Passage between Henning Island and Whitsunday Island - Mariners are advised that the lighted special mark buoy Fl Y 2.5s in Fitzalan Passage between

Henning Island and Whitsunday Island, has been re-instated. AUS charts 252, 253 & 824


Big give and take mistake


"A government big enough to provide everything you need is big enough to take everything you have." - Thomas Jefferson


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan



Seeking members to enhance the work of helping manage the Great Barrier Reef

Community reef care group seeks members


The Whitsunday Local Marine Advisory Committee is seeking members to enhance the work of helping manage the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) sees engaging with local communities as an essential component in the management of the Marine Park; embedding the elements of engaging, educating and inspiring people through the care and management of the Marine Park as a key priority in that agencies Strategic Plan.


Twelve Local Marine Advisory Committees (LMACs) were established to provide a forum for local coastal communities to raise issues and have input into management arrangements relating to the Marine Park.


The purpose of LMACs is to improve the involvement and support of local communities in the management, the ecologically, socially and economically sustainable use, and the conservation of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

Secondly, to advise the GBRMPA and other management partners on issues and policies relating to specific activities, conservation, environment, public information and public education concerning their local catchment, marine and coastal region.

Thirdly, to facilitate communication between user groups in the local community.

And lastly, to promote the exchange of information about, and raise awareness of, issues impacting on the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem between communities, the GBRMPA and other management partners.


 The GBRMPA is charged through its legislation to encourage partnerships

and participation in the process of long term protection and sustainable use of the Marine Park. LMAC members have the following roles and responsibilities: • To keep informed of local marine and coastal issues and community concerns. • To provide a channel of two-way communication between the community and management agencies. • To actively participate in an equitable forum that allows all LMAC members to express the views of their stakeholders. • To accurately represent the views of their stakeholders - without personal bias and without letting self-interest interfere with LMAC processes. • To work towards identifying and resolving issues at a local level. • To raise public awareness by information sharing and community education. • To facilitate community projects relevant to the management of the Great Barrier Reef.

The Whitsunday LMAC now incorporates Airlie Beach and Proserpine communities - from Yeates Creek to Midge Point, Barrier Reef islands. For further details and application form contact

Disclaimer: Your Waterfront writer is the current LMAC Secretary.


Celebs to visit


"I am very excited to advise we can add another Cruise Line to our schedule, with Celebrity Cruises now scheduled to visit Airlie, starting with Celebrity Millennium with a capacity of 2038 passengers," writes long time cruise ship volunteer ambassador Judi Dunn.

"Also to visit is Celebrity Solstice with 2840 passengers scheduled for April 2013."

This is a direct result of news spreading the world of the welcome passengers receive into Airlie Beach by The Volunteer Ambassadors and the friendly service they receive in town. This will give us a total of 46 ships arriving this year. Lets all keep up the good work and continue smiling, because from what I have been told these visits are what is keeping our town alive."

"We are very very lucky that Helen and Eric Loft are going to coordinate the volunteer roster and the ship arrival on the scheduled days

"Keith, my long suffering husband, and I are taking a short break from the actual ship days for the next couple of months (we are going boating); however I will still be your contact for any information. 

"With the great band of volunteer we have shows there are some wonderful people in this community." Kind regards, Judi Dunn


Around two Americas


Matt Rutherford, sailing 'St Brendan', a 27' Albin Vega, finishing his solo circumnavigation of the Americas last week. Matt set foot on-shore in Annapolis, Maryland on the East coast of USA for the first time after 25,000 miles-at-sea.

Matt's adventure was far more ambitious and certainly more compelling sailing single-handed East to West through the Northwest Passage inside the Arctic Circle. He kept going down the Pacific West coast of both North and South America, rounded Cape Horn and voyaged up the East coast of both continents to his start / finish point.

Matt's motivation for the trip was to show people, particularly those with disabilities, that there are no limits to what can be accomplished in life; and to raise money for Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB), a nonprofit sailing program for people with disabilities, based in Annapolis, Maryland.


Not so abstract


"An idea is a point of departure and no more. As soon as you elaborate it, it becomes transformed by thought" - Pablo Picasso


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

Mystery man: mystery death

Mystery man dies in harbour


Mystery man: mystery death


Police are continuing their investigations following the mysterious death by drowning of a 51-year-old man on Sunday at Shute Harbour.


The man a recent arrival unknown to the police and who locals say usually kept to himself lived on his yacht and had been doing work on the salvaged ship 'Whitsunday Magic' alongside Shute Harbour's old South Molle jetty in recent weeks.


Acting on information received, Police investigating an assault complaint on a private boat moored at Shute Harbour about 4.30am arrived at about 9.20am Sunday and tried to speak to the man, however he started rowing to shore, then jumped into the water.

Although the water is not deep at this spot, the man did not resurface so two police officers immediately got into the water to assist and pulled the man to the rugged mangrove shoreline.


A local worker, who asked not to be identified, told The Whitsunday Coast Guardian of the considerable personnel and facilities at the scene. Police were joined by paramedics who provided emergency treatment but the man died at the scene despite the officers' best efforts.


"Due to the fact he died during a police operation it will be investigated and reviewed," said a police spokesperson


On Monday morning the Queensland Police Service Ethical Standards Command attended the scene.


An official report is now being prepared for the Coroner.


Anyone with information which could assist police with their investigations should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via  1800 333 000 or

Rowed Pacific wearing Next to Nothing!

Rowed Pacific wearing Next to Nothing!


Forty years ago this week, Hayman Island was in the news as the landing spot for two adventurers who had rowed across the Pacific Ocean. One was John Fairfax an ocean-defying wild man who died this week and his companion Sylvia Cook who wore 'Next to Nothing" during their 361 day voyage.

Fairfax and Cook set off from San Francisco, California on 26 April 1971 in their 11-metre boat Britannia II. The pair arrived on Hayman Island 361 days later on 22 April 1972. Cook became the first woman to row any Ocean. Her commercial sponsor Yardley of London had just introduced a new crème moisturized make-up named 'Next to Nothing'. Headlines in the cosmetics industry trade papers touted 'Woman rows the Pacific wearing Next to Nothing'

"He'd always been a gambler," says Ms Cook, now 73, "And at the end of the day, adventures are a kind of gamble, aren't they?"

Fairfax died at home in Henderson, Nevada, near Las Vegas said his wife, Tiffany, a professional astrologer, who should have seen this coming.


Airlie Race Week details


It seems 23 years have sailed by since we started our Race Week in Airlie Beach to compliment the Hamilton Island event. This year the event will sail for the week from August 10, run by the great team at the Whitsunday Sailing Club.

The main change is that while berths at Abel Point had been included they now need be booked directly with the marina.

 "We have negotiated discounts for Race Week competitors as we recognise this is a difficult transition year for the Marina receivers." Commodore Rob Davis says.

"We appreciate the keenness of everyone involved to continue the long and harmonious relationship between the event and the marina operators." Commodore Davis added.

The Notice of Race is now able to download from the event website at


Fun factor survives


All after race and lay day activities are at the Whitsunday Sailing Club with a bus service to the marina. Nevertheless, all the usually fun stuff will be in evidence. The Wolverines return to power up the after race celebrations in the Race Marquee with a feature of an all-new 'Yachties Got Talent'. The infamous Tropical Shirt Party will again feature the 'Barbary Coasters' and a cast of thousands.


Greek gift cast off


It would be wonderful to see. The Thames, Olympic London. An ancient Greek rowing galley ship, the trireme Olympias, with 170 rowers at the oars, proceeding down the Thames bearing the Olympic flame. But, it is not to be.

Why you may ask?

There were "major concerns" from London's transport and security agencies that the trireme would create overcrowding along the Thames as the Olympic flame passed by. There was also discussion about people throwing themselves off bridges," said Martin Green, the head of ceremonies for London's organizing committee.

The cancellation has sparked threats of a lawsuit by the organization that funded the refurbishment of the trireme. The Greek Navy, which owns the Olympias, has also cancelled a scheduled party on the trireme at a ceremony to hand over the flame next month in Greece, to which British delegates are no longer invited. Well, that will save the budget.

Built in 1987 this would have been the second visit to the River Thames by the Olympias, the previous visit in 1993 celebrated 2,500 years of Greek democracy. On that occasion, there were no reports of mass bridge jumpers or hordes of people sinking London.

The trireme derives its name from its three rows of oars on each side; fast and agile, it became the dominant warship in the Mediterranean from the seventh to the fourth centuries BC.


Marine Notices


Schooner Rock - near Keswick Island, off Mackay. Mariners are advised that the temporary buoy, replacing the destroyed north cardinal mark Q on Schooner Rock, north of St Bees Island, has been reported unlit. Use caution in the vicinity. AUS charts 251 & 824


The Narrows - Hayman Island Passage, between Hayman and Hook Islands. Mariners are advised that the Hayman Passage No. 4 Beacon, Fl R 2.5s, off Cockatoo Point has been reported destroyed. The beacon is submerged and leaning horizontally. AUS charts 252, 254 & 824


Not so abstract


"Action is the foundational key to all success" - Pablo Picasso


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Cool thinking on Airlie attraction

Cool thinking on Airlie attraction


The proliferation of Titanic theme parks around the world turning deadly history into amusement rides has sparked interest in an anti-hero theme park for Airlie's main beach.


Imagine cooling off on a hot day next to a huge iceberg in the new centre of Airlie Beach complete with downhill ice skating, Luge and giant slushies. Is this not guaranteed to draw and keep families to Airlie?


With the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic with the loss of 1,514 lives, perhaps it is time to sit down and ponder the commercialisation of history and to consider how our consumer culture turns tragedy into theme parks; and moreover, perhaps provide a new attraction for Airlie.


One 'attraction' of note is The Titanic of Tennessee complete with concrete iceberg; a sort of half size replica of the ill-fated ship in the mountains of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee USA (Population 5,875) which opened as a 'museum attraction' two years ago.


Mary Kellogg-Joslyn, the Titanic Museum Attractions owner explains, "This museum is not a thrill ride or Hollywood style museum. It is an interactive experience that brings in all elements of the famous and tragic Titanic story for families to experience." One can only hope that bringing in all elements of the experience does not include drowning in the dark in icy water. That would certainly cut down on repeat visitors.


Another Titanic attraction is in Branson, on the plains of Missouri; however, as wacky as it sounds, there may be a method in their madness.


Pigeon Forge has a small population but attracts 11 million visitors yearly. In addition to the Titanic Museum, attractions include the Dollywood theme park, the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame, the Country Tonight Theatre, Wonderworks, the Miracle Theatre, Dixie Stampede, Zorb, Flyaway Indoor Skydiving, the National Elvis Museum, and Nascar Speedpark.


Branson, with a population of 10,523 attracts over 7 million guests each year. Branson in the Ozark Mountains is best known as the home of the Beverly Hillbillies. Also for its music halls featuring country music and includes the Hollywood Wax Museum, Silver Dollar City, White Water, Waltzing Waters, Ride the Ducks, Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, The Haunted House and Monster Asylum and Predator World.


Never ones to be shy, the French are planning to build a 'Napoleonland' theme park that will stage daily re-enactments of Battles of Waterloo and Trafalgar. Gee, I wonder who wins?


And while on the commercial re-write of history, some time ago, Disney proposed opening a theme park in Virginia USA near the sites of Revolutionary War and Civil War battlefields. After complaints from historians and some difficulty in transforming slavery and slaughter into fun-filled theme park rides, Disney shelved the idea.


One can only hope that future generations do not learn their history from the marketing of theme parks and "museum attractions." However, that may be too much to ask.

Now, how do we get an iceberg on the Airlie Beach foreshore? I had better send an SOS message to Newfoundland.


Little Dove visit?


Duyfken 'little dove' in English, "duifje" in modern Dutch was a small Dutch ship built in the Netherlands. In 1606, during a voyage of discovery from Bantam (Banten), Java, captained by Willem Janszoon, she encountered the Australian mainland. A reproduction of Duyfken was built in Perth, launched in 1999 and visited Airlie Beach in October 2001 for the Paddling Through History Festival. Duyfken is currently on a voyage around Australia and we are trying to get her to stop in on the way.

The ship is also looking for some crew. Crew will have the adventure of their life sailing the world's most authentic 16th century sailing ship replica in the way that sailors of 1606 would have done. The 20m replica ship Duyfken is looking for people who have a love of the sea and square-rig sailing to join as voyage crew as she sails around Australia.


Notice to Mariners


Fitzalan Passage, between Henning Island and Whitsunday Island. Mariners are advised that the lighted special mark buoy Fl Y 2.5s in Fitzalan Passage between Henning Island and Whitsunday Island, be off station. The buoy is currently about 1 km North West of its proper position. Mariners are advised to use caution in the vicinity. AUS charts 252, 253, 254 and 824


Try something new


"Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic."


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan