Monday, June 17, 2013

Going nuts for Airlie!

Going nuts for Airlie!

All over the world the coconut palm is celebrated as a thing of great beauty and a provider of almost everything a human being could ever need.

Coconuts offer us sweet, drinkable juice. Their flesh provides nourishing food. Their husks make cups, toys and a dozen different kinds of implement. Their fronds provide baskets, hats, mats and roofing and their timbers, too many items to list.

"It seems that, here in the Whitsundays, we think of coconut palms as an annoyance, as a source of dangerous missiles, as simply unsightly refuse; rubbish to be disposed of."

So says local activist Rory McCourt who adds "The coconut is not a nuisance, not a scrap of litter. It's one of nature's great gifts."

"In the Whitsundays we have current plans to remove, to destroy, at least forty of our gracefully arching mature coconut palms - and who knows how many more in the future."

"It seems that the relatively modest cost of occasional de-nutting is not worth paying."

Years ago there was a small business that harvested coconuts under the banner, "All we want are your nuts!"

"So, how about, instead of perceiving the town's coconuts as a costly inconvenience, a problem to be disposed of, we try to see them as an opportunity.

"Why not consider doing something positive with them.  At the appropriate time each year, when the bulk of the area's coconuts are ripening why not persuade our tourism marketing gurus to consider a celebratory event?

"How about, 'The Airlie Beach Coconut Harvest Festival?  Mr McCourt concluded.

We would be nuts if this is not considered; in the meantime Keep the Coconuts!


Blooming Jellyfish burgers!


The rise of jellyfish populations in many of the world's oceans may be more than just an inconvenience for swimmers who want to take a dip.

According to expert Lisa-ann Gershwin, the rapid growth over the last few decades of these creatures is a sign of the planet's deteriorating marine health,

In her new book 'Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean', Gershwin says that these "enchanting and lovely" invertebrates are in fact harbingers of the health of the oceans.

Unfortunately, the rise in jellyfish numbers is far from benign. Gershwin said that jellyfish are able to "take this damaged ecosystem and actually drive it to a much worst state."

Although jellyfish rank low on the evolutionary tree - they don't even have brains - they have the unique trait of eating things higher up on the food chain than themselves – things that are bigger, faster and smarter than they are.

An example, she points to a species of jellyfish called Mnemiopsis leidyi that was accidentally introduced into the Black Sea in the early 1980s.

"Within just a few years, it had taken over so completely with this double whammy of predation and competition that Mnemiopsis was now 95 per cent of the biomass in the Black Sea," Gershwin said. "Ninety-five per cent of every living thing is this one species of jellyfish."


Gershwin said she fears that the biodiversity of the world's water will eventually resemble that of the Precambrian era, when oceans were ruled by jellyfish and mammals and reptiles did not exist.

Another source is Daniel Pauly: Jellyfish Burgers or How We Changed the Oceans and They Changed Us.


Mermaid Parade Saved!


The thirty-year-old Coney Island Mermaid Parade was nearly shut down by Superstorm damage to Coney Island New York USA earlier this year.

Through crowd funding online many small donors gave over $102,000, beating the $100,000 fundraising target.  $10,000 was raised in a benefit concert headlined by Amanda Palmer, an entertainer who champions causes other than just mermaids. 

The parade, scheduled for June 22, attracts over 750,000 spectators and is an annual kickoff to the summer season, featuring artists and performers in wild and imaginative costumes, with an aquatic theme.


Mariner Notices


Port of Airlie public boat ramp - pile driving for the construction of abutment and queuing pontoon on the public boat ramp has commenced and will continue this month. Pile driving work is being carried out by barge 'Invincible' that will display appropriate signals. Mariners should use caution and give a wide berth when approaching the area. AUS chart 268


Unsafe Passage - There have been at least three notices issued about the unlit front and rear leading lights on Daydream Island, which mark Unsafe Passage, between North Molle and Mid Molle Islands. AUS charts 252 & 253


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Ten years online --

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Official start: Season of Sail

Official start: Season of Sail


The 24th Blessing of the Fleet on Sunday marked not only the naming of Whit Sunday and Pentecost Island in 1770 by James Cook but also signalled the start of the Whitsunday Season of Sail

It is time to stretch your sea legs for plenty of experiences right on our doorstep with boats you could hire, racing yachts looking for crew or learning to sail so you may explore our backyard of islands and the Great Barrier Reef. Learn to SCUBA dive and experience the underwater world. Check the zone for fishing, cast a line and put a fish on the boat barbie.

Your sea legs may take you to experience the invigorating joy of a fast passage on a yacht to a quiet cove; there to sip a Sundowner with friends. Or enjoy the lifestyles of the rich and famous available for hire every day – no experience necessary. In fact, you don't even need a boat licence or a fancy pair of deck shoes to sail in Queensland.

Explore Whitsunday Islands on a bareboat charter yacht. Dip a toe in with a sunset champagne sail, cheer on the racing yachties from the balcony of the Whitsunday Sailing Club. Or just sit back and let a skipper (or motor) do all the hard work for you.

It is said that once you taste the adventure of the sea you never forget it. The feeling of the wind, the salt spray, the activity of the deck or relaxing in the cockpit; you decide your own adventure experience level.

Rub shoulders with the world's yachting glitterati at Hamilton Island Race Week, or join a crew for fun racing every Wednesday in Airlie Beach.

Gather your best stowaways and start planning your sailing and boating today.


Crew cops count


The 'Queen of the North' was several hours into a routine overnight passage from the northern community of Prince Rupert, British Columbia, to Port Hardy on Vancouver Island, when it struck Gil Island and sank in March, 2006. Of the 103 passengers and crew onboard, two passengers drowned.

The person in charge of the 125-meter ferry has been convicted of criminal negligence causing death. After six days of deliberations the jury returned with the verdict against a deckhand who was filling in as the ship's fourth officer.  Crown prosecutors argued that the crewman, 59, neglected to steer the ship because he was distracted by a crewwoman who he had been having an affair with up until just weeks earlier.

The fateful voyage marked the first time the two had worked alone together since their breakup, after both their spouses found out about the affair. It is unclear what they were doing on the bridge when the crash took place, the prosecution argued.

Electronic records that showed the ship did not alter course for 20 minutes before the crash, saying that showed that the crewman was not doing his job.

It is extremely rare in Canada to see criminal negligence cases involving commercial crew members, which makes this case of particular interest from a legal perspective.

In its report of the sinking, the Transportation Safety Board noted that the two crew were engaged in a personal conversation that had lasted at least 14 minutes before the grounding, and that this was their first shift alone on watch since the end of a "recurrent relationship" between them two weeks before.


Jelly fish farm


In what could be regarded as a glowing report, nine glow-in-the-dark sheep were born at Uruguay's Institute of Animal Reproduction in a genetics experiment in conjunction with the Institute Pasteur. The scientists say that they used the fluorescent protein from a species of jelly fish to give sheep a distinct glowing green colour when exposed to ultraviolet light. Wonder why? So do I.


Marine Notices


St. Bees Island - a control program requiring the use of live firing of weapons will take place on St Bees Island in the Mackay National Parks Management Area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Feral animal control operations will continue until 1800 hours Friday May 24. Exclusion zones will be placed around St Bees Island extending seaward 500 metres. All vessels are to remain clear during the above detailed times. Qld Park & Wildlife vessel 'Tamoya' will patrol during these times. St Bee's Island is located 15nm NE of Mackay Harbour. AUS charts 251 & 824


Pioneer River entrance - Mariners are advised that the lighted Port Lateral Mark No.2 buoy Fl.R.2.5s in the entrance to the Pioneer River has been re-established in position. AUS chart 249


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Australia's top 10 islands: The Whitsundays

Offshore mission: Australia's top 10 islands: The Whitsundays


"In a nutshell: A bit like heaven really," says backpacker travel magazine TNT Downunder.

"Tell me more: Angels serve you free beer and... Nah. But the scenery is out of this world. We've cheated a little bit here – we simply can't choose one island above the rest, so we're including all 74.

"Most isles are sandy with tropical rainforest and several have accommodation options, ranging from five-star resorts to basic camp grounds (34 in all). It's all shallow, gently swirling turquoise waters and talcum powder beaches, with the famous Whitheaven [sic] Beach on Whitsunday Island the 'must-have' photo.

"As if all that wasn't good enough, the islands are surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef, so the snorkelling and diving is pretty much as good as it gets. Staying on an island or two is fun, but sailing in amongst them is arguably better.

"If you meet someone who toured the east coast and didn't go to the Whitsundays, you'll meet someone who looks marginally suicidal."

Leaving today from Airlie Beach!


Calling captains courageous


Who ever gets this job will no doubt feel the pressure of command; every move will be watched and if there is any mishap, no matter the size, it will be commented on.

But even with that sort of pressure, captains courageous are lining up to take command of the Titanic II due to sail its maiden Atlantic voyage Southampton to New York in 2016.

Reports say eight prospective captains have already applied for the position, with backgrounds on cruise ships and super tankers.

Though the captain of the original Titanic, Edward Smith, went down with his ship in the freezing waters off Newfoundland, owner Queenslander Clive Palmer hopes his new captain and crew will stay 'cool' and 'get down' on the ship.

Your Waterfront writer hopes and one would expect that, the successful captain candidate sports an impressive beard.


Winter Seawind rally


Organisers say the Seventh Annual Seawind Whitsunday Rally to sail around and about the Whitsunday Islands June 15-22 will be a fun and fantastic week of social cruising onshore activities and partying.

Open to all Seawind models, organisers are expecting 20+ vessel and around 90 people to participate in this unique experience combining great sailing with a beautiful and safe environment. The onshore activities which add another layer to experience include; karaoke, sand sculpture, golf, hiking and of course the ever popular Blind Mans Dinghy Race!

"Of course not everybody has a Seawind in the Whitsundays and we encourage everybody who is keen to be involved to book one of the many Seawind Catamarans available for charter in the Whitsundays. "

If you need to book or discuss the rally please contact Morgan McDonough on


Beacon distress


The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is reminding people to dispose of their unwanted distress beacons properly at Battery World stores after three false alerts recently.

AMSA's Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) recently responded to two distress beacon alerts in the Brisbane area, tasking rescue assets and personnel to investigate. It was determined that neither beacon was associated with a genuine emergency. One of these beacons was found disposed in a household bin, while the second and third beacons were found in waste facilities.

False alarm incidents require the use of emergency response resources and personnel, which may be diverted from a genuine emergency.

This financial year to date, AMSA has had 46 confirmed cases of distress beacons being disposed of incorrectly with 73 confirmed cases in 2011-12.

Most of these beacons were older 121.5MHz beacons, which have been phased out and cannot be detected by satellites although they transmit on a frequency used by aircraft.

Distress beacon owners need to switch to the 406MHz beacon and register (free!) with AMSA to ensure a efficient search and rescue effort.


AMSA note


The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) will become the National Regulator for domestic commercial vessels and administrator of the National System from July 1.

The Navigation Act 2012 will also start on July 1, replacing the century old Navigation Act 1912, providing the maritime industry with a clear, transparent and flexible maritime safety regime say bureaucrats.

More information on the National System is available online at


Mariner Notice


Slade Rock - Mariners are advised that the lighted port lateral mark buoy Fl R 25s which marks Slade Rock has been re-established in position. AUS charts 249, 250, 823 & 824


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan