Sunday, July 29, 2012
Bernie of the Barrier Reef hits the beach
While I don't remember exactly when I first met Bernie and Yvonne Katchor, it was about thirty years ago when they had our region's second bare boat company Whitsunday Rent a Yacht.
I do remember the last time I saw the Katchor's 43-foot ketch 'Australia 31' though. My first mate and I were enjoying a drink or two at the Bras d'Or Yacht Club, located in historic Baddeck, on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Eastern Canada.
The barman told us of some visiting Australian yachties and gazing out the bar window past a wealth of nautical memorabilia of the historic club, 'Australia 31' stood out floating serenely on the water of the Bras d'Or Lakes; an inland sea and sailor's paradise.
The Katchor crew was away at the time; however, we left a message for them at the bar, ships passing in the night and all that.
So it was a surprise at the weekend to hear from a shipmate down the Queensland coast that 'Australia 31' was bouncing on the beach about 6km south of Rainbow Beach.
Tin Can Bay Coastguard got the call about 2.30am and dispatched a four-person crew.
Coastguard commander Harley Moss said the crew were all experienced but two of them were badly sea sick, with the skipper reporting the conditions were so bad that "he could not see his hand in front of his face outside as rain and gale force winds tore up the ocean''.
Conditions were such that the Tin Can Bay coastguard boat became stranded during the rescue in rough five-metre seas and wind gusts to 60 knots forcing them to take shelter near Double Island Point.
The would-be rescuers were waiting out the rough conditions in a vessel, which, while well equipped for rescue work, is not fitted out for overnight stays. "They haven't got any real food - a couple of packets of soup and some muesli bars - and they haven't got a stove or any way of heating water," Mr Moss said.
Meanwhile, on the beach Bernie was guarding the yacht they have lived on for twenty years.
"The police came and got my wife and grandson and they've been ringing up to make sure things are okay. They do a good job don't they," Bernie told ABC Radio.
"I'm the nightwatchman till the yacht is on a truck," he added.
Blink of yer eye
There is a fair chance that at the weekend you missed an international event affecting you and all six billion people on earth.
Leapin' lizards! You say. Yes, you missed the 2012 Leap Second.
The last minute of June 30, 2012 UTC was 61 seconds long, the extra second being a "leap second" and took place in Eastern Australia at 10am. Leap seconds are introduced to maintain synchronisation between atomic clocks and more traditional time scales such as Greenwich Mean Time.
These leap seconds are introduced approximately every 18 months, at the end of June or December, usually to give the Earth's rotation a chance to catch up on our clocks.
Gov Dept Dead
The Department of Environment and Resource Management has been declared "dead" by Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney as he urged activists to stop spouting emotional claims about "environmental Armageddon."
Mr Seeney, who is Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning, vowed to empower local councils and encourage investment, while also pledging to ensure environmental protection.
"I don't think we in government should be leveraged to accept lower environmental standards at any time," he said.
Mr Seeney told the Queensland Media Club, "Well, the Office of Climate Change is no more and DERM is dead,"
The new structure includes a Department of Environment and Heritage Protection; a Department of Natural Resources and Mines; and a Department of Natural Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing.
Know your radio
The ACMA has produced two educational videos for the recreational boating community about how to operate your VHF marine radio correctly. Hook Line and Sinker presenters Nick Duigan and Andrew Hart talk to Marine Rescue volunteer Greg Searle about how to use a VHF marine radio in an emergency and for weather information. Direct link to the online videos -www.acma.gov.au/vhfmarine
Honest pirate advice
"It's the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they're going to do something incredibly stupid." Says Captain Jack Sparrow
Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan is a regular broadcaster on ABC Radio Tropical North and 4MK