Thursday, April 25, 2013

Dent Island Light Plan

Easter weather enjoyed


Most long time locals will say that Whitsunday often gets rainy, windy 'Easter weather' but not this Easter weekend.


Fabulous weather for everyone except sailors a the Whitsunday Sailing Club Easter Regatta who could have used a bit more wind, not that it cramped their style much with the regatta going off in fine style.


With a fleet of cruise ships lining up in Pioneer Bay to enjoy Airlie - roadworks and all - the Lions Markets are looking like a Beach Bazaar with near permanent tent souk city.


Local traders would have had their hands busy with what looked like a bonus crowd maxing out the parking and filling the footpaths. Ditto for the Lagoon.


The new boat ramp at Port of Airlie was full to overflowing with a long weekend of flat seas and full moon meaning all the best that Whitsunday and the Great Barrier Reef have to offer was there to enjoy.


It is easy to see why we can put up with living here in paradise.


Friends depart


Dear friends and writing colleagues Ian 'Stripey' Grant and his "child bride" wife of some 53 years Marie both passed away in recent weeks, so it is fitting that their ashes will be scattered together on the water they spent their life on and near.

The couple's oldest son, Mark, said the double loss had hit the family hard, but it was "comforting to know they're going to be together".

I had the pleasure of their friendship for many years and enjoyed working with them at sailing events.

Ian's childhood nickname came from the blue and white striped pyjamas he got at a Brisbane orphanage.

For almost seventy-years, whether writing about a sailing weekend with kids or the Olympics, their smiling faces and encyclopaedia-like knowledge of the sport made them firm companions to all who came in contact with them.

We will all miss their familiar faces at both Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach Race Week regattas, events they covered since they began. Their many friends will have a QLD – quiet little drink in their memory.

Fair winds you two.


Dent Island Light Plan


The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority have prepared a draft Dent Island Lightstation Heritage Management Plan. The plan describes the Dent Island Lightstation heritage values and proposes measures to ensure those values are managed and protected.


Lighthouse weekend


A trend emerging with the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend in August is to find a lighthouse location that has not previously been activated by amateur radio.

While organisers of the friendly annual event like to see amateur stations returning year after year to the same location, it's pleasing that some new lighthouses or those not registered for some time, being included.

Already quite a few enquiries around the world have been received about new lights, lightships and maritime beacons.

In the Port Douglas area of Queensland Australia two lighthouses dating back to the 1870s, are to be heard for the first time.

The International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend takes place on the weekend of August 17/18. for info or to register.


Calamari surprise


In a bizarre incident, a Chinese fisherman caught a squid that was discovered to be concealing a live bomb.

The bloated looking squid was caught off the coast of the Guangdong province in China and taken to the fish market in Jiaoling County.

Only when the cephalopod was cleaned at the market, was it revealed that there was in fact a live bomb inside it that could detonate at any moment if handled improperly, according to China Daily.

"This sort of squid lives close to the shore and normally makes a meal of small fish and prawns," the discoverer Mr. Huang, told Guangzhou Daily newspaper.

Local police suggested that the rusted bomb may have been dropped by a fighter jet, but its age was unknown. After Huang called Chinese authorities about the bomb's discovery, it was promptly taken away by police to perform a controlled explosion.


Mariner notice


Macona Inlet, Hook Island - Mariners are advised that the destroyed lighted starboard lateral mark beacon Fl G 2.5s, which marks the entrance into Macona Inlet at Hook Island, has been re-established in the position of latitude 20° 10.308' S, longitude 148° 55.138' E. The lighted buoy temporarily established to mark the destroyed beacon has been withdrawn. AUS charts 252 & 824


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Complacency kills hero

Complacency kills flood hero


Complacency led to the death of Brisbane's tugboat flood hero, an investigation by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau has found.

Tugboat engineer Peter Fenton, 67, was killed when a crate being loaded onto a barge came free of its slings and fell on top of him on December 15, 2011.

Months earlier, during the January floods, he prevented potential disaster on the Brisbane River when he and colleague Doug Hislop successfully steered a 200-metre section of the Brisbane Riverwalk clear of the Gateway Bridge.

Mr Fenton, operations manager for Bowen Tug and Barge, was performing a routine exercise transferring crates from a ship to a barge on the day of his death.

In its investigation, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau found the crew of the crude oil tanker British Beech had, over time, removed safety barriers which would probably have prevented the accident.

"The ship's crew did not view the storing operation as dangerous," the bureau said in its final report released on Thursday morning.

The bureau discovered the container had not been properly rigged on board the ship and the ship's crew had not warned the barge crew of its return.

"The fatal shipping accident ... demonstrates the dangers of complacency, even when undertaking routine tasks," the bureau said.

Mr Fenton received a medal for his bravery during the 2011 floods, when he tackled the swollen Brisbane River on the tugboat Mavis, and steered the 300-tonne walkway clear of one of the city's main bridges.

He was a reluctant hero, saying afterwards "it was something we had to do and we did it".


Mariners be advised


Hook Reef - the West Cardinal Mark No.2 beacon which marks the north-western end of Hook Reef has been altered to a pile beacon in the position of latitude 19° 44.448' S, longitude 149° 09.549' E. The structure exhibits a radar reflector. AUS charts 254 & 825


Nara Inlet, Hook Island - the destroyed lighted port lateral mark beacon Fl R 2.5s which marks the entrance in to Nara Inlet at Hook Island, has been re-established in the position latitude 20° 09.859' S, longitude 148° 54.017' E. The Fl R 2.5s light has been altered to a Fl R 3s synchronised light. AUS charts 252


Macona Inlet, Hook Island - Mariners are advised that the destroyed lighted starboard lateral mark beacon Fl G 2.5s, which marks the entrance

into Macona Inlet at Hook Island, has been re-established in the position of latitude 20° 10.308' S, longitude 148° 55.138' E. The lighted buoy temporarily established to mark the destroyed beacon has been withdrawn. AUS charts affected: 252 & 824


Theory and Practice


"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; In practice, there is"


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Our plastic future?

Our plastic future?


I saw a very moving and disturbing short film the other evening at a meeting on the Whitsunday Marine Advisory Committee of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

The film clip is about the plight of the albatross of Midway, a 2.4-square-mile (6.2 km2) atoll island in the ocean 2,800 nautical miles (5,200 km) west of San Francisco, and 2,200 nautical miles (4,100 km) east of Tokyo.

Nobody lives there, only birds … and yet … You will not believe your eyes! This film should be seen by the entire world, please don't throw anything into the sea.

Unbelievable? I wish, just look at the consequences!


Not just birds!


The greenhouse effect? A dead sperm whale which washed ashore last year in Andalusia, in southern Spain, was found to have died from ingesting plastic sheets used in the construction of greenhouses in that region.  The whale had over 17 kilos (37 pounds) of garbage blocking its stomach, including some 30 square metres (36 square yards) of plastic canvas, said Renaud de Stephanis, a marine biologist at the Donana Biological Station, of the Spanish National Research Council.

"There were a dozen metres of plastic rope, plastic sheeting used on the outside of greenhouses, and plastic sheeting used inside and even two flower pots."

Can you believe that? No sheet!


Shipping News


When the government or CSIRO put out "the news" such as "Investigator looking ship shape - Australia's new Marine National Facility vessel will start looking ship shape as hundreds of tonnes of steel are lifted into place, to form part of the keel of RV Investigator."(10 May 2012)You should be wary of what lies ahead.


Yup! Australia's new Marine National Facility vessel 'RV Investigator' a AU$120 million, 93.9 metre blue water research ship being built at Sembawang Shipyard in Singapore will be based in Hobart.

And it will spend plenty of time in Hobart too, as Parliamentary documents reveal the Government has only set aside enough funding to conduct 15 days of research each year. The shortfall was revealed when a policy was submitted to the parliamentary budget office for costing.

The office found that 300 days of research would cost $26 million a year, however existing appropriations for the CSIRO allow for just 15 days of research activity each year, with the exception of funding in 2013-14, which would provide for 65 days of research.


Tri harder record


This week the World Sailing Speed Record Council sanctioned Team Australia's passage record from Sydney to Hobart set over February 22-23, 2013.

The ORMA 60 trimaran with six crew sailed a time of 1 day 5 hours 52 minutes and 23 seconds for the famous 630 nautical mile Tasman Sea crossing, making an average speed 22 knots.

Bob Oatley's supermaxi Wild Oats XI retains the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race record of 1 day 18 hours 23 minutes and 12 seconds set last year.

Talk is that Team Tritium from the USA and Team Vodafone Sailing from NZ to race together at both Airlie and Hamilton Island race weeks.


Pizza, beer, yacht


Two men and a woman brought pizza and beer aboard an 82-foot sailing yacht in the Sausalito (California) Yacht Harbor late Sunday or early Monday and proceeded to take the boat to sea, only to run aground.

The owner of the 'Darlin' saw his yacht on the television coverage of the grounding and reported it stolen.

The apparent thieves repeatedly declined assistance and refused to leave the grounded boat. A standoff ensued for several hours with the Coast Guard and local authorities. Ultimately, Pacifica police arrested the three on suspicion of grand theft and conspiracy. Each was being held on more than $1 million bail.  The yacht 'Darlin' was refloated at high tide.


Marine notices


Unsafe Passage - Mariners are advised that the rear leading light bearing 240.5° which marks Unsafe Passage be reported unlit. This has been an ongoing problem and the light may be obscured. Perhaps the tree dudes need so directions.


Laguna Quays Marina - the soundings depicted on the chart for the entrance channel and waterways may not (!) be correct around the Laguna Quays Marina. Navigational aids along the entrance channel and the marina may not be fully operational. Mariners are advised to take extreme caution when approaching Laguna Quays Marina from the sea and navigating within the marina waterways. It looks like the sea is reclaiming this facility. AUS charts 252 & 253


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan



Friday, April 05, 2013

Is it time to fire marine distress flares?


Is it time to fire marine distress flares?


There is a discussion going on about the future of marine distress flares in an age where electronic devices can perhaps do a better job and negate the carriage of these compulsory, expensive limited life explosive devices.


A boat does not have to go very far to sea before an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) is also compulsory. So as the EPIRB has its own battery it is self contained and as it is mandatory one may as well use it in a distress situation.


Marine radio equipped with Digital Selective Calling equipment is a part of the Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS) and provides all the functionality of voice-only equipment and, additionally, allows several distress features almost like dialling triple zero.  The distress button automatically sends a digital distress signal identifying the vessel, the nature of the emergency, and a GPS position.


The problems with flares are firstly; replacing them every three years at a substantial cost. Then the problem is how to use them. Only 'in date' flares may be used in flare training and a permit is required. Out of date flares are considered Time Expired Pyrotechnics (TEP), they are hazardous goods not hazardous waste and can not be used for training purposes mainly because of the 'someone might get hurt' mentality promoted by the huge crowd of landlubber desk jockeys responsible for the impractical Nanny State ideology. Left to these stupid people who seek to protect the world, you may find yourself shooting your flare through the bottom of your boat or liferaft in the dark when blowing a gale and raining unless you have undertaken expensive training beyond the scope of most recreational users.


Then there is the problem of disposing of the out of date flares. You can't use them to find out how they work, so you have to get rid of them.


Yachting Australia advises that "currently there is no uniform national policy for the return and disposal of marine distress signals in Australia. The disposal of expired flares varies from state to state." Well, that is typical for a start.

"Arrangements have been made in many states for disposal of expired flares through nominated government agencies such as Police stations or Fire Brigades, State Marine Authorities, Water Police or manufacturer of the distress signal. Boat owners are encouraged to check the websites of these bodies for further information."

We are lucky locally, probably because of our large marine community, that we have distributors like Marlin Marine who sell new flares to you and take the old ones back. The Whitsunday Fire station will also take out of date flares.


What do you think? Are flares really past their 'use by' date? If they are 'unsafe' when the date ticks over are they safe in untrained hands? In this age of EPIRBS and advanced radios and mobile phones are flares really still necessary or is the average boat owner just held to ransom by people who can't find their way to the beach. Drop a line with your opinion to Waterfront c/ The Whitsunday Coast Guardian or by electric parrot –



Sea Goddesses wanted


Calling all Sea Goddesses, applications are now being accepted for the Maine Sea Goddess Pageant, open to 20 young women who are single, a high school graduate, not more than 21 years of age, and a Maine resident. The young woman chosen as Sea Goddess receives a $2,000 cash award and represents the Maine lobster fishing industry at the 66th annual Maine Lobster Festival during her one-year reign.  Applications to: Maine Lobster Festival Coronation Committee,


Whitehaven beacon


Mariners are advised that the lighted North Cardinal Mark beacon Q off the southern end of Whitehaven Beach at Whitsunday Island has been destroyed. (Again!) A lighted Special mark buoy Fl Y has been temporarily established to mark the position of the destroyed beacon. Mariners should use caution when navigating in the vicinity. AUS charts 252 & 253


Hook Reef


Mariners are advised that the destroyed East Cardinal Mark beacon off the eastern end of Hook Reef has been re-established in the position of latitude 19° 48.6670' S, longitude 149° 15.1750' E. The beacon is unlit and exhibits a radar reflector. AUS charts 254 & 825


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Course set for Whitsunday Fun events



Course set for Whitsunday Fun events


A meeting of the Reef Festival Committee this week was setting course for another great event later this year based around the Great Whitsunday Fun Race in Airlie Beach.


The days and nights before and after Fun Race Saturday August 17 will provide locals and visitors the chance to be involved in plenty of fun activities on the water and on land.


While the program is not yet finalised, your Waterfront writer can reveal that the Recycled Raft Race will again be 'sailed' on the afternoon of Sunday August 18 again at the Airlie Beach Lagoon.


Over the last few years a wonderful collection of craft have taken to the water; some have even managed to float! However under the watchful eye of our mighty Lagoon lifeguards we haven't lost anyone yet, although the level of seamanship has left something to be improved upon.


Start planning your entry now following the simple provisional rules informed by the Pirate's Code (guidelines really) that the craft be made of recycled materials, sailed by two or more crew and may be recycled into a JJ Richards bin following the race. (Subject to judge's whim or payoff and of course no correspondence will be entered into unless the letter is secured to a bottle of rum; see 'fine print').


Prizes are being arranged for the race survivors and sponsors are sought for the event that includes both adult and kids crews.


You are needed to help our community and have fun while you are at it – Further info contact: Reef Festival Committee or the Heidi Walton at the Whitsunday Sailing Club



Titanic II Qld link


The Titanic sank in the Atlantic Ocean over one hundred years ago after hitting an iceberg off Newfoundland.


Queensland Billionaire, Professor Clive Palmer and his Blue Star Line Company held a press conference in New York City last week to unveil the new blueprints of the Titanic II.


It might be hard to believe, but plans are underway for the creation of the Titanic II, an exact replica of the ill fated ship that could transport passengers across the sea as soon as 2016.


"We aren't going to divulge the cost because I have enough money to pay for it," Palmer said. "Cost isn't what it is about. It's about creating a memory of the Titanic."


From a safety standpoint, a Blue Line representative said, "It will be the most safe cruise ship in the world when it launches."


"Anything will sink if you put a hole in it," said Palmer, noting the company is already looking into preventing worst-case scenarios.


Noting that the company is already looking into preventing worst-case scenarios Professor Palmer said, "I'm not super-superstitious. We are staying true to the original Titanic and a lot of those designs and full experience that never saw the light of day, but there will be some updates too."


ASIO asking


An ASIO officer may, without warrant, ask an operator of an aircraft or vessel questions about the aircraft or vessel, its cargo, crew, passengers, stores or voyage; and to produce supporting documents relating to these questions. You may not tell anyone about this.


Mariner Notices


Due to the weather, there are numerous hazards to navigation including a large log approximately 6 metre long and 1.5 metre in diameter that has been reported adrift, so Mariners should navigate with caution.


Nara Inlet, Hook Island - Mariners are advised that the destroyed lighted port lateral mark beacon Fl R 2.5s which marks the entrance in to Nara Inlet at Hook Island, has been re-established in the position latitude 20° 09.8590' S, longitude 148° 54.0170' E. The Fl R 2.5s light has been altered to a Fl R 3s synchronised light. The lighted buoy temporarily established to mark the destroyed beacon has been withdrawn.


Macona Inlet, Hook Island - the destroyed lighted Starboard Lateral Mark beacon Fl G 2.5s, which marks the entrance into Macona Inlet at Hook Island, has been re-established in the position of latitude 20° 10.3080' S, longitude 148° 55.1380' E. AUS charts affected: 252 & 824


Words of wisdom:


"Anything will sink if you put a hole in it," Clive Palmer said.


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


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



Billions for Airlie

Billions for Airlie

Is it a sign of the times? Hamilton Island has enjoyed ownership by the billionaire Oatley family for ten years, so is Airlie Beach just playing catch up; or perhaps claiming our rightful place in Whitsunday society?


News that we have at least one billionaire in our midst and that he has purchased a marina to park his boat really says that we have arrived. So we need to welcome him aboard and rally to the cause. I used 'rally' as I hear he drives a rally car called a Perana (piranha?); made his money digging stuff up and also spends money on helping other abled people. Sounds a good fit for Airlie.


Airlie Beach is one of those places where when enjoying a cool drink at the sailing club bar or similar venue, a chap may be standing next to you wearing a well worn Rolls Royce Owners tee-shirt. Naturally, one may assume the said chap is either a near destitute ex wharfie or a bona fide RR owner.


Case in point was a former employer of your Waterfront writer, boating tragic and now deceased John Calloway who would front the bar of the sailing club with RR Owners Club tee-shirt looking every inch the op-shop rag picker, swilling Mount Gay Eclipse Rum with the last of his pension cheque.


Au contraire! When a not so discreet inquiry was made Calloway related that, yes he WAS a member of the Rolls Royce Owners Club. Furthermore the Poseidon era Melbourne stock exchange member had enjoyed seeing two of his Rollers in the 1959 film 'On the Beach' the post-apocalyptic drama film directed by Stanley Kramer, based on Nevil Shute's 1957 novel, starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and Anthony Perkins.

Calloway liked doing it big. A part owner of 'Golden Plover' JC chartered Eric and Jeannie Kraak's boat 'Sunbird' complete with Chef on the night in 1987 that the full size replica of the 'Golden Plover' was incinerated for the Kennedy Miller film 'Dead Calm'


So while it may appear easy to speculate about millions and billions while enjoying a rather large Sharez Cabernet your humble writer feels somewhat justified in reclaiming for Airlie the crown as Heart of the Great Barrier Reef.


Ghost ship


For a month, the small cruise ship MV Lyubov Orlova has been adrift in the Atlantic Ocean, a "ghost ship" without power, lights or passengers, except for the rats left aboard.  The 295' ice strengthened cruise ship, built in Yugoslavia in 1976, has been abandoned twice – once by her owners in St John's, Newfoundland in 2010 and once by Transport Canada. The ship is drifting over a thousand miles off the coast of Ireland.


On January 23, she was taken under tow bound for a scrap yard in the Dominican Republic; however her tow line broke in heavy seas,

"The Lyubov Orlova no longer poses a threat to the safety of offshore oil installations, their personnel or the marine environment. The vessel has drifted into international waters and given current patterns and predominant winds, it is very unlikely that the vessel will re-enter waters under Canadian jurisdiction," a Transport Canada official said.

The current owner of the ship is technically responsible for the vessel, though there has been no response from the owner, Neptune International Shipping, described as a "Caribbean-based" Iranian buyer," which purchased the ship for scrap for $275,000 in February 2012.


Marine Radio


Check out the latest tips from the guys at Hook, Line and Sinker! Digital Selective Calling on your VHF Marine Radio: Ideal in a distress situation, it can broadcast your essential information including your GPS position with the touch of a button. Check it out at Hook, Line and Sinker Tips


Sea scroll


When is a sea not a sea? The Dead Sea is not a sea, but a landlocked salt lake, 45 miles long by 9 miles wide.


Notice to Mariners


Whitsundays pilotage areas - Unsafe Passage - Mariners are advised that the leading lights F Bu, F Day, bearing 240.5° which mark Unsafe Passage are unlit. Mariners should use caution when transiting the passage. This has been a persistent problem. AUS charts 252 & 253


Remember: Clean Up Australia Day this Sunday!


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan







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`·.¸.·. . .><((((º>





Sailing for everyone needs you!


Sailing for everyone needs you!


Sailability helps get other abled people out on the water to enjoy the sport of sailing and they need volunteers to lend a hand.

"We are in desperate need of more volunteers" Whitsunday Sailability secretary Lyn Chalmers said this week.

"Sailability will be taking people for a sail this Saturday at the Whitsunday Sailing Club's Australia Day 2 event.  We need volunteers and are inviting people to come down and go for a sail in our boats."

"So I hope as many of us volunteers as possible can be there Saturday

 "We also have to discuss taking a boat to Bowen for the Sports Expo," Ms Chalmers added.


Popular race on


the Monte's Reef Resort Race, originally scheduled on the Australia Day long weekend, will now take place on March 2 and 3 with sailors enjoying a few before cruising home on Sunday.


Granny conquers cape


Jeanne Socrates, a 70 year old British grandmother, has rounded the Cape of Good Hope on her sailboat 'Nereida' in her attempt to become the oldest non-stop solo circumnavigator.  She left Victoria, British Columbia in October rounded Cape Horn and has now set course to round Australia's Cape Leeuwin.  This is Ms. Socrates' third attempt at a solo non-stop circumnavigation. She has already completed two previous solo-circumnavigations but on each needed to put into port for repairs, after grounding and a knock-down damaged her sailboat.


Cup O' coffee


Is there no place on earth beyond its reach? No, it's not the US Navy, but Starbucks. The coffee seller is now opening a store on the amphibious assault ship, USS Boxer the first "fully functioning Starbucks shop on a US Navy ship.  It is only fitting that Starbucks has gone to sea as the company was named after the chief mate of the whaling ship 'Pequod' in Herman Melville's novel "Moby Dick."  Melville in turn used the name of a prominent whaling family in Nantucket for Ahab's second in command.  In a very real sense, Starbucks has been at sea for quite some time. Just as long as they don't start using seawater in the brew.




Congratulations to Matt Rutherford who was recently awarded the Ocean Cruising Club's Jester Medal, for an outstanding contribution to the art of single-handed sailing. In April of last year, Matt completed a record breaking 309 day, over 27,000 mile, non-stop circumnavigation of the Americas. He made this incredible voyage, which included singlehanded non-stop passages through the Northwest Passage and around Cape Horn, in St. Brendan, a 27' Albin-Vega sailboat. In addition to completing the voyage itself Matt has raised over $100,000 for the Chesapeake Regional Accessible Boating (CRAB.) A documentary is in production about Matt's voyage – 'Red Dot on the Ocean'.


Gilligan's Island quiz


What were the Professor and Skipper's actual names? The Professor on Gilligan's Island was named Roy Hinkley. The Skipper was named Jonas Grumby. Both names were used only once in the entire series, on the first episode.


 Old measure


The cubit is the oldest known measurement, appearing in the Bible when God gives Noah instructions for the ark. Described as a Royal Cubit, it was measured from the elbow to the thumb knuckle. It was a means of insuring that the nobility got a larger share at the market place. Don't tell politicians about this; they have enough 'measures' up their sleeves.


Robots detect Whales


Two submarine robots equipped with instruments designed to listen for the calls of whales, have detected nine endangered North Atlantic right whales. Battery powered and exceptionally quiet in the water, the robot    gliders are equipped with an underwater microphone on the underside of the vehicle near its wings and an iridium satellite antenna on the tail section. According to SCUBA News the vehicle surfaces every few hours to get a GPS position and transmit data to shore-side computers.


55 BC


"The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed, lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work instead of living on public assistance."  - Cicero, 55 BC

So, evidently we've learned nothing in the past 2,068 years.


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Government is "again ignoring natural justice"


Govt ignores natural

justice on fish zones


The Australian Government is "again ignoring natural justice" by announcing there will be "only 30 days for marine users such as the professional fishing industry and the Australian community to participate in the development of management plans for the newly created Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network", says the Commonwealth Fisheries Association (CFA).

"This is the biggest change to how Australia's marine areas will be managed likely to be experienced by most Australians in their lifetime. Marine industries and the community expect to be given a proper opportunity to consider the draft management plans and provide the Government with feedback," says Trixi Madon, CEO of the peak industry body representing the interests of fishers in Commonwealth managed fisheries.

"30 days, over a period that for many is the holiday season is inappropriate and unacceptable.

"We are talking about how 40% of the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone and how the myriad of new marine reserves will be managed. This includes how fishing operations will be impacted and managed and how experienced and knowledgeable fishers will participate in implementing the management plans."

The CFA is calling on the Government to extend the consultation period to 90 days and engage with user groups throughout that period to develop best practice management for the marine reserve network.

"Australia's marine environment and industries deserve better consultation," the CFA concluded.

Draft management plans under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) are open for public comment until 14 February 2013.


Sho fly tip


Beach cleaning Eco Barge volunteers complained about the massed attacks of blood sucking March flies (Family Tabanids) during a recent clean up at Grimston Point in Dryander National Park. A bit of rain always brings the females out on the hunt for blood.

Helpful Rhonda suggested "just a hint to keep the March flies away from you, mix up baby oil and Dettol into a spray bottle and spray onto yourself. Also do not wear navy or dark colour clothes.  My Dad worked in the bush for years and used this mixture all the time and I still use in today (so) it works. Hope this helps. Thank you for all the wonderful work you and your volunteers do."


Reef wrecked


In 2005, when the Greenpeace flagship, 'Rainbow Warrior', ran aground on Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea, the captain claimed that the reef was incorrectly plotted on his charts. The chart showed 'Rainbow Warrior' was supposed to be 1 ½ miles off the reef when it ran aground. "This accident could have been avoided if the chart was accurate," he said. "We feel responsible, however." (Note: Too close anyway)

It appears that the charts were not corrected in the intervening seven years, as the US Navy is now blaming the Thursday 02:25 morning grounding of 'USS Guardian' on the reef in the Philippines' Tubbataha National Marine Park on inaccurate charts.

"The US Navy said in a statement that a review of Digital Nautical Charts, used for safe navigation by all U.S. Navy ships, found they contained inaccurate data and may have been a factor.

Press time note: unsuccessful efforts to free 'USS Guardian' at high tide in bad weather, the Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship remains stuck on Tubbataha Reef's south atoll.


Abbot Point meeting


A forum for local and out of town fishermen, conservationists and any members of the general public for a chance to air their concerns and be willing to take positive action. Patricia Julien from Mackay Conservation Group will give an overview of the situation regarding port expansions at Abbot Point and submission process. Wednesday 5-7 PM January 23, Anglican Church Hall, Gordon St, Bowen


Mariner notice


Maritime Safety Queensland, like many government agencies, is currently undergoing a significant period of realignment with a renewed focus on the delivery of core public sector services.

This change includes the discontinuation of the Marketing and Education Branch and the cessation of its publishing activities with marine safety promotion to be included in combined transport safety education programs.

Publications will either be discontinued or transition from hard copy to online resources. While stocks of most publications generally remain adequate to see out current demand there will also be significant changes in the way orders are processed.


Considered advice


"One of the advantages of being Captain is being able to ask for advice without necessarily having to take it." James T. Kirk


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan