Saturday, January 26, 2013

See under the sea; Healthy reef revealed

See under the sea;
Healthy reef revealed
Almost two million people so far have taken up underwater diving and discovering the Great Barrier Reef from their home with a new exploration program anyone can use without getting wet.
And the excellent news is that the Great Barrier Reef  is exceedingly healthy in deep water areas, discovered with camera carrying, deep diving robots, to depths unvisited by conventional divers.
Early observations on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) show the good health of deep reefs, until now almost totally unexplored by scientists, may hold the key to regeneration of shallow reefs under stress.
The current Catlin Seaview Survey deep-water exploration of the GBR and the Coral Sea, to depths well beyond the reach of scuba divers, has discovered healthy coral habitats thriving below 30 metres. These healthy deep reefs are located directly under shallow reefs degraded by storms and other stresses including coral bleaching and invasive crown-of-thorns starfish plagues.
Speaking from the research boat where he is leading the Deep Reef Survey, Dr Pim Bongaerts, of the University of Queensland's Global Change Institute, said, "The Holmes and Flinders Reefs in the Coral Sea are renowned for having been badly damaged. Yet we have found their deep reef zone is hardly disturbed at all. In fact the most striking thing is the abundance of coral on the deep reef. What has blown me away is to see that even 70-80 metres down, there are significant coral populations."
Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Chief Scientist for the Catlin Seaview Survey, said that a recent report from The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) showing that the Great Barrier Reef has lost half its coral cover in the last 27 years was a study of the situation in the shallow reef. "Our work in the deep reef is already casting a new light on our understanding. Up until now our knowledge was limited to the shallow reefs accessible by scuba diving. In reality, that provided us with an incomplete picture. Now, using ROVs (Remote Operated Vehicles), we are able to get below 30 metres and down to 100 metres, revealing a wholly different picture which now includes the deep reef environment," Ove commented.
Dr Pim Bongaerts said, "Deep reefs are unique eco systems, that have been hidden away and unexplored, yet they are very much part of Australia's natural heritage.
"There are clear differences we're observing. Corals are much flatter, more plate-like than the branching and domed shapes seen nearer the surface. This is the corals responding to the reduced light conditions and spreading out to maximize their exposure to light. So far below the surface, the light is blue because all other parts of the spectrum have been filtered out. It is a monochrome world until you turn on strong lights to reveal amazing, beautiful, fantastic colours," Dr. Bongaerts concluded.
The Catlin Seaview Survey expedition on the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea will visit 20 separate coral reefs along the 2,300km reef on an unprecedented scale and depth range – including sections of the reef that have never previously been seen or studied. It will then continue on to selected global locations in 2013 including Hawaii, the Philippines and Bermuda.
Anyone can get a flavour of the expedition experience by taking a user-controlled 'virtual dive' onto the reef on the expedition's website and via the Street View feature of Google Maps. The virtual dive allows people to use their own keyboard controls explore the reef for themselves.
Hey kids, why not take Granny for a dive?
Mariner Notices
Lagoon Rock off Whitsunday Island - Mariners are advised that the lighted west cardinal mark beacon Q (9) 15s marking Lagoon Rock off Whitehaven Beach has been re-established. The temporary lighted west cardinal mark Q(9) 15s buoy is withdrawn and the destroyed beacon remnants removed. AUS charts 252, 253, 824 & 825
Seaforth Creek - Mariners are advised that lighted beacons have been re-established in Seaforth Creek. All temporary lighted port lateral mark buoys Fl R 3s have been withdrawn. All beacons now exhibit synchronised lights. AUS chart 251
 "It is surprising in this day and age, that below some of the most well known reefs which are so popular with divers, there is an almost entirely unexplored world and as a result, an enormous amount of science to be done," Dr Pim Bongaerts on the Great Barrier Reef
Fair winds to Ye!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Whitsunday 2013 event lead recovery


Whitsunday 2013 event lead recovery


From Australia Day activities at the Whitsunday Sailing Club to the start of  winter sailing activities and celebrating the naming of Whitsunday on Whit Sunday May 19 through to both the Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island Race Weeks, 2013 is shaping up to a resurgence of activity.

However it must be noted that both race weeks have had continuing success with both numbers of boat and people but the recent joining of Reef Festival in the mix brings land and sea activities closer for all. With a bit of luck we will have more visitors coming our way especially when more drive market miners realize what is on their doorstep.

Let's not forget the fifty or so cruise ships now making port calls here and the continuing work on Airlie's high street. When the water main was holed creating a huge fountain, we thought we were getting the new water feature many wanted.

What about the new boating facilities at Port of Airlie? Looking real good and getting patronage over the summer making Airlie a good spot once again to bring the family and put the boat in the water.

Every Saturday our waterfront Lion's Club markets provide a fun atmosphere and additional cruise ship markets and the occasional car show consistently bring visitors. 

Let's all work together toward a fun event resurgence in 2013.


Costa Quid


On the island of Giglio in Italy's Tyrrhenian Sea, relatives of the 32 passengers and crew who died when the Costa Concordia crashed into rocks last year gathered to mark the one-year anniversary of the tragedy. One year ago, the cruise ship Costa Concordia was steered perilously close to the island, sideswiped Le Scole reef and ripped open a 150' gash in the port side of the hull. 

The ship itself is still on its side, close to where it sank and rolled over.  The major change is that there are now barges and cranes alongside the stricken ship, making preparations for what will be, if successful, the largest intact salvage of any ship in history. Much of the work is currently, like the Titanic's iceberg, mostly underwater. 

The cruise industry has adopted a raft of new rules which they claim will make cruising significantly safer. The most significant rule change is the obvious – safety drills will now take place at the dock before the ship sails, rather than within 24 hours of sailing. The Costa Concordia sank before a safety drill was performed.   The rest of the rules are largely window dressing. Each conceivably could help to improve vessel safety, if property implemented.  Given that the captain and senior officers on the Costa Concordia appear to have largely ignored the existing rules for passenger safety, it is unclear how much difference the new rules might make.

Investigation and legal proceedings continue at a snail's pace; Italian Marine Casualty Investigation Central Board, charged with the technical investigation into the casualty, has not yet produced a final report on the sinking.  


High Tides


Item last week regarding tides.  Yes, the tide height was also the same height of 4.24 metres on both Friday and Saturday, the highest for 2013.


Fishy felony


29 year old Matthew Clark almost won the Bailiwick Bass Club Open Challenge in Guernsey.  The almost 14 pound fish that he presented at the weigh in should have won the £800 first prize if one of the judges had not recognized the fish, which had two distinctive markings on its head. The fish had been stolen from the local Guernsey Aquarium where Clark was employed.  The felonious fish thief was nicked by police for theft and fraud.  The bass, unfortunately, died before it could be returned to the aquarium. 


Mariner Notices


Lindeman Island - Mariners are advised that the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service will be conducting controlled burns on Lindeman Island between Wednesday, 16 January and Monday, 29 January. The area around Lindeman Island will be affected. Mariners are advised to navigate with caution when in the vicinity as visibility may be restricted due to smoke. AUS charts 250, 251, 824 & 825

Daydream leading lights – reported unlit, the back light is lit but of low intensity and may be somewhat obscured.

Whitehaven Bay – as reported last week both new replacement lights are operational with an intensity not seen for years, good job.


Thrive alive


"My Mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style."


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

Monday, January 07, 2013

Whitsunday wins winter

Whitsunday wins winter


Australian Traveller magazine deems Queensland the year-round destination for readers, crowned favourite destination in both summer and winter with Whitsunday and its charms receiving the 2012 Readers' Choice Awards for the Favourite Winter Destination.

The magazine poses the question about Whitsundays best kept secret and answers it with, "yachts – the kind of sleek, gorgeous cruisers that most of us associate with the rich and the very famous; complete with bedrooms, bathrooms, and of course, champagne. But here's the secret: they're available for hire; often, for less than the price of a hotel room."

"These yachts – or 'bareboats', as they're known – often are owned by the wealthy or well-known, people who can afford a yacht, but don't have the time to spend lazing about on them for months on end.

"So they're not 'bare' in the sense you'd expect, actually, they're fantastically well appointed". "They're called bareboats because you get to fill it with the people and have holiday you want."

"Lush, green foliage. Every colour of blue. Barren, rocky cliff sides that hint at Australia's colonial reputation as a somewhat less-than-hospitable place; interspersed with soft, perfectly white beaches, away from internet and phone reception"

Australian Traveller says it's Australia's premier and iconic domestic Australian travel magazine based on a readership of committed, smart and discerning travellers. It must be working as they are a publication that has increased its readership.


System deadline missed


National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety (National System) will now start in March 2013 having missed the January 1 target.

Regulations to support the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act, which was passed by the Australian Parliament in August this year, will also be implemented on that date.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) will become the National Regulator for domestic commercial vessel safety and administrator of the National System and State and Northern Territory marine safety agencies will act as delegates to the National Regulator.

Regulations and Marine Orders to support the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2012 will also be implemented on the commencement date.

NSCV Part E consultation has an exposure draft of the NSCV Operations, available for public consultation until 16 January 2013). Also available for consultation is the draft of the NSCV Part D – Crew Competencies again until 16 January 2013. This is an important licensing standard for industry and individual seafarers and will provide some holiday reading. 

Marine Safety Inspector (MSI) training for the start of the National System reached a milestone, with all Jurisdictions except WA, now having started Marine Safety Inspector training.

Twenty Maritime Safety Queensland staff became the latest group of officers to receive the training from AMSA staff. Topics covered in the two-day workshop included prohibition, improvement and infringement notices and the practical consequences of the National Law.

The training helps ready marine safety inspectors to apply the new laws on the water from the first day they are in force.

Maritime reform initiatives include the introduction of the National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety (National System), the new Navigation Act 2012, the Australian International Shipping Register and the Maritime Labour Convention, as well as AMSA's role in marine environment protection, search and rescue and ship safety.

To guide industry through the key requirements of the new National System, an Industry Guide to the National System and accompanying Fact Sheets are now available by visiting any State and Territory maritime safety office; by downloading the material from the National System website.


Mariner 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 restored with a temporary light. The temporary light has a visible range of 2-3 nautical miles. AUS charts 251 & 824 


South of Cape Bowling Green - Mariners are advised that a structure composing of net and 3 PVC rails with approximately 15 to 20 metres of rope attached and various size buoys is floating approximately 16 Nautical miles offshore Southwest of the Yongala wreck site outside of the Green zone. The structure measures 3 metres x 2.5 metres. AUS charts 826 & 827. Mariners are advised to navigate with caution whilst in these areas.


Newfoundland fisherman's saying.


'Tis another year gone

God Bless you an' yours

May 'ee grant you


As you bend at d'oars.


Best wishes of the Season and Long may your big jib draw!


Cap'n Dan


Cap'n Dan will return to ABC Radio Tropical North and 4MK in the New Year


Russians invade with Lasers

 Russians invade with Lasers:
Aussie 007 called
The Russian Laser invasion of Hamilton Island reached the halfway lay day rum party with plenty of power left at the UON SB20 Laser World Championships at Hamilton Island.
Sport as battle brings an international fleet of 42 sports boats to Whitsunday waters with team Great Britain clawing after the Russians at seven points behind.
Australia's '007' Glenn Bourke, multiple world champion racing with bow number 07, which as CEO of Hamilton Island gained the 007 tag from island staff.
Boat crews include dual Olympic gold medallist Malcolm Page and Russia's Olympic 470 and Yngling sailor Anna Basalkina, who was finding the conditions hot, steamy, and worried about Australia's deadly sea creatures. Wonder if Anna knows about the Aussie Drop Bears yet?
Down the list is the Italian team, several more Brits, United Arab Emirates, France, Ukraine, Netherlands and Ireland. All up nine countries and three skippered by women, Russian Anna, Great Britain's Sarah Allen from the winning 2008 crew and Australia's Paris Stowell crew of West Australian Aboriginal High School girls. Racing concludes on Thursday, December 20.
Late News: Competitors report that The Lay Day Pool Party sponsored by Bundy Rum was a great success.
Stone the flamin' crows mate
 Northern New South Wales local health district has banned the use of colloquial words such as mate, darling, sweetheart and honey at work.
NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell says he approves of a directive that staff stop addressing each other or the public as 'darling', 'sweetheart' and 'honey' - but he isn't keen on banning use of the word 'mate'. On Ya Baz!
"I get the fact that we don't want public servants providing services to the public to be referring to the public as sweetheart, darling or honey," Mr O'Farrell told reporters.
"I have some issues myself around the word 'mate' - I think it is part of the Australian vernacular.
Agreed, it may be 'unprofessional' to some hospital boss. But it is friendly in what can be a cold, sterile and scary environment for some.
These days even the most unreconstructed old codger knows that he's not meant to call the girls around the office "sweetheart" or "honey," but "mate"? You're trying to ban "mate."
Mate, it doesn't take long for perhaps well meaning bureaucrats to get up the nose of ... well just bout the whole mob.
Heard a good list made up on radio, and with some mates, with terms of address not limited to those proscribed by the PC brigade.
Hey, Sheilas first: Love. Luv. Pet. Petal. Flower. Honey. Honey bun. Sister. Girlfriend. Girls. Girlie. Dear. Dearie. Darls. Poppet. Possum (perhaps originates with Dame Edna but now in common use). Pumpkin. Ladies. Gorgeous. Chicky Babe.
Europeans can get away with a signorita and a mademoiselle, but ma'am is hard to pull off. If American, then the automatic "yes ma'am" is fine. If addressing the Queen with a Marm, that's fine but ma'am invariably makes the recipient feel a hundred.
Now blokes. Champ. Sport. Digger. Cobber. Blue. Comrade, some at the RSL (but used most often by ALP members of a certain age and in a different context).
Someone quoted Barnaby Joyce, who on Q&A likes to calm fellow panellists with a "steady on, cyclone." And a woman may choose to settle an over-amorous bloke with a "slow down, cowboy."
China; as in "me old china plate", rhyming slang for mate. Squire. Sir. Boss. Skipper, big fella. Chum. Pal. Buddy. Little Buddy. Bro. Brother. While we're looking at the many imports from U.S. of A., "guy" and "guys" ditto for "dudes" is no longer gender exclusive.
So offensiveness taken may bear no relationship to the offensiveness intended. A bottle shop guy saying, "Mate, is that savings or credit" is not being disrespectful to the older gent buying single malt. He's just saying what he's been saying for six hours already to everyone.
What have we become? A bunch of big girl's blouses who cry when someone hurts our feelings, demanding that nanny (state?) comes and makes everything nice and safe again.
There was one thing all agreed on. We all hate it when healthcare services refer to us as "clients"
Sailor's Christmas
"Twas the night before Christmas, the ship was out steaming,
Sailors stood watch while others were dreaming.
A Sailor lay sleeping, silent and alone,
Curled up in a rack and dreaming of home.
The ditty bags hung by the lockers with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there"
Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan