Monday, July 22, 2013

Abbot Point decision delayed


Abbot Point decision delayed


The new Federal Environment Minister Mark Butler has changed the deadline to August 9 on a decision on dredging at the Abbot Point coal terminal near Bowen to allow him more time to consider the project's potential environmental impact.

Green groups including the Australian Marine Conservation Society had called on Environment Minister to delay his decision.

Bowen fisherman Greg Smith told ABC Radio that claims the dredge spoil from the proposed expansion at Abbot Point coal terminal would contain toxic waste are ludicrous.

Mr Smith says he has worked on submissions to the Federal Government since the beginning of the expansion process and says most Bowen residents support the expansion in principle.

"Ninety-nine point nine per cent of Bowen residents want to see a sensible development at Abbot Point. They want to see employment for the town of Bowen and Abbot Point is in a good spot to do the least environmental damage while still shipping coal out."

Mr Smith said the community should work with the developers to limit the potential impacts of the proposed expansion.


OUCH Volunteers,


The next clean up dive is scheduled for Friday, July 12.  Check you calendars and give Secretary Tony Fontes a shout if you can join in.  Departing from Port of Airlie public boat ramp 8:00 am returning around 3:00 pm. You need to supply your own dive gear; OUCH will supply tanks, weight belts and lunch.  The volunteers picked up nearly 140 kg of rubbish last time.  Amazing! Tony Fontes 0417749143


Reef Walkers


The 'Reef Walk' group are walking from Cairns to Gladstone to raise awareness about perceived threats to the Reef. The group led by June Norman should arrive in Airlie Beach on Friday, July 12 and stay until Sunday.  On Saturday, people may support June and her Reef Walk group for a walk from the Volunteer Marine Rescue base - 8:00 am start - to the Lion's Club Airlie Beach Markets near the Whitsunday Sailing Club, about a 40 minute walk. 


Classic Yacht Overdue


Tasman Sea – classic 70-foot American staysail schooner 'Nina' with seven sailors aboard left New Zealand's Bay of Islands on May 29 bound for Newcastle, Australia. On June 3, when Nina was 360 miles northwest of Cape Reinga, the northernmost tip of New Zealand, she reported rough conditions, and asked for advice on how to get out of it.

Although nobody sounded distressed the forecast was for winds to 60 knots and 20-foot seas. These are heavy weather conditions, but certainly the schooner had ridden out as bad or worse.

New Zealand Rescue Services learned on June 14 that 'Nina' was overdue. Since then they have conducted what has been described as their most intensive search ever. But nothing has been found.

The famed schooner 'Nina' a narrow hull with long overhangs was designed by the famed Starling Burgess and built by Ruben Bigelow on Monument Beach in Cape Cod in 1928. She was built expressly to win the 3,900-mile race from New York to Santander, Spain. And she did. When she arrived, a launch pulled alongside and a gentleman waved his cap and shouted, "Well sailed, Nina, I congratulate you. I am the King of Spain."

Nina became the first American vessel to win the prestigious 600-mile Fastnet Race. She then won the London to Chesapeake Bay Race.

In 2008, the owners started a circumnavigation with the schooner, and a documentary film. 

While nobody knows what happened to Nina, several maritime rescue experts have speculated that the 84-year-old wood boat suffered a catastrophic failure, one that for some reason left the crew unable to set off the vessel's EPIRB.

Years ago it was not uncommon for several cruising boats to go missing in the South Pacific each year. Thanks to EPIRBs and vastly improved communications such unexplained disappearances have become rare and at least have an explanation.


Port News: cruise ship 'Dawn Princess' arrives today (Wednesday, July 10) midday and departs about 8pm. She is on a trip from Perth to Sydney with Airlie the last stop before Sydney. Saturday will see 'Pacific Dawn' in port 7am to 4pm.


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


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




Where were Ye in '83?


Where were Ye in '83?



Where were you when...? People often remember where they were when life altering memorable events or the sudden and shocking deaths of iconic individuals occurred.


Think; where were you when, news that the people's princess, Diana died? Outspoken Beatle, John Lennon shot. 3DB Radio morning news that The King of Rock and Roll Elvis Presley died or assassination of the 35th President of the United States of America John F. Kennedy.


Events; Man on the moon, Berlin Wall, Asian Tsunami, War Ends, Saigon falls, Bagdad bombed, 9/11 Towers. Mandela released February 11.


The impact on you and across the globe. Events that changed the shape of our popular culture.


In Australia, a country that stops for a horse race, it could be the Whitlam Dismissal or first female PM. What about September 26, 1983?


Remember Bob Hawke and That Jacket? September 26, 1983, was the day that Australia II ended the longest winning streak in world sporting history, 132 years, defeating the American entry Liberty to claim the America's Cup.


Australians will have the chance to celebrate the 30th anniversary of one of the country's most famous sporting victories, the 1983 America's Cup, this September.


The victory and its lasting impact in Australia will be celebrated 30 years on Thursday, September 26, 2013, bringing together many of the major players from the famous win.


This will be the only gathering of the Australia II crew in Australia to mark the 30th anniversary, with skipper John Bertrand and crew to be joined by syndicate chairman Alan Bond.


Bertrand, as well as skipper of Australia II is chairman of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, said that there are a number of reasons why the 1983 victory remains so popular 30 years on.


"Looking back at 1983 Australia was coming out of a tough recession, we had been severely affected by bushfires and floods," said Bertrand. "I think the way that we were able to come back from three-one down, with our backs against the wall to break the 132 year winning streak by the Americans captured the imagination of the Australian population, and in many ways continues to today.


"I look back at the campaign with pride and satisfaction at what we achieved. It was the ultimate team performance; our team culture was of resilience. We came back from the dead to win and people have learnt a lot from that over the years.   I look forward to giving people a better understanding of the inside story." Bertrand said.


The Sydney lunch will be the only time that the crew will gather in Australia to celebrate the 30th Anniversary, coming just a month after they celebrate in San Francisco, coinciding with this year's America's Cup.




Of course BVGYC is Airlie's world famous Beaut Views Grotty Yachty Club where much silliness took place usually around Airlie Fun Race time. I was reminded of the BVGYC at the Pioneers of Airlie Tourism get together at the Airlie Bowls Club on Saturday. There was the night at BVGYC when John Bertrand head-butted the platypus. Ah, memories!  


That Cup


Love it our hate it, there is always much, much more to the America's Cup than just sailing. Faster, outrageous, dangerous legal minefield – and that's on land!

So bet you will be surprised that with preliminary races starting this week there is a change to the rules regarding the sail boats with two of the three competitors facing huge problems to reconfigure to meet the changes.

The AC72' is a truly awesome piece of technology; 72-feet long, nearly 50' wide they are a 'flying carpet', they fly above the water. In 20knots of breeze they reach over 40 knots (80+kms an hour)

The wing sails fixed on a 130ft mast create lift in exactly the same way as an aeroplane wing but it's most spectacular trick is to use hydrofoils to lift the hull of the boat clean out of the water.

Larry Ellison the owner of Cup defender Oracle and one of America's richest men took possession of the America's Cup in 2010 with grand plans to transform this elite, gentleman's sport into a TV spectacle for the masses: Nascar on San Francisco Bay. Ellison reinventing the cup for "the Facebook generation, not the Flintstones generation."

"A level playing field is all spectators ask. Then let the best Kiwi team win" was overheard.


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan



Friday, July 12, 2013

Croc tung warning signs souvenired




The signs thoughtfully erected by Queensland Parks and Wildlife were very popular for the few days they were up before being souvenired. Warning that crocodiles had been sighted in Boat Haven (Muddy) Bay, the signs advised against swimming at the beach. Tourists lined up to take photos with the signs until the signs got knocked off. Of course it has all happened before and perhaps the Parks people should print more and sell them to visitors thereby getting the message across and making a dollar as well.


Airlie Reunion


This Saturday will see the Airlie Beach Bowls Club become a hive of historical activity with a reunion of Airlie Beach 'Pioneers of tourism' taking place.  

Some interesting photos and memories are surfacing and in should be a 'do not miss'

Memorabilia is sought for display and needs to go up earlier on Saturday with organiser Dale Hell is considering archiving some, perhaps in a book or online form. Details 0416273598


Dredging spoil


It is worrying that groups that say they are opposed to some development issues are perceived as being opposed to all development.

A case in point is a leaflet distributed relating to the Abbot Point expansion and specifically regarding dredging and where the spoil may go.

Now I must say I attended meetings of the technical committee so have a reasonable understanding of the various issues.

I noted that much thought and work was completed by a range of interested parties to ensure any dredge material did not impact the onshore Caley Valley Wetlands. An early act of the incoming Queensland Government was to reduce that part of the Abbot Point development that would have seen a huge amount of material to be moved.

It may be fashionable to present mainly uninformed opinion as fact; however it does not do their cause much good when the story is an unsubstantiated one-sided litany of disaster.

For people that at other times quote their version of "The Science" the arguments put forward on this occasion are not only unscientific or factual, but certainly biased political emotionalism.

To discuss this issue in a responsible way there must be some guidelines and total anti development 'keep coal in the ground' is not much of a basis for discussion.

Implying that the spoil is destined to be dumped on the Catalina war grave or the Barrier Reef when the clear intention is that the spoil is deposited under the shipping lane in deep water does not provide any basis for honest discussion. The sandy spoil is most like the sea bed where it is proposed to go in deep water.

And fishers may reflect that the people who want coal left in the ground may also like fish left in the sea or in green zones.


Mariner Notices


Shute Harbour South Channel- the No. 3 Green lateral Buoy, Fl G 2.5s has been reported missing from location. AUS charts 252, 253, 254 & 825


Port of Airlie - marine development - construction works for Arm E of the marina development have begun will continue until October. Yellow marker buoys to mark the boundary are being installed. Mariners keep clear. The all round white light on 'A' berth entrance to Port of Airlie has been repaired.


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


Controlled burning - Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service will be conducting controlled burns this week on Pentecost Island, Lindeman Island, Shaw Island, Mansell Island, Thomas Island, East Repulse Island and St Bees Island. Visibility may be poor.


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


"The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that it is very hard to verify their authenticity" – Winston Churchill


Reef Fest Recycled Raft Race


Reef Fest Recycled Raft Race 


Build your raft from recycled stuff and enter in the Reef Festival Recycled Raft Race on Sunday afternoon August 18 at the Airlie Lagoon. 

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 / paddled by two or more crew and may be recycled into a JJ Richards bin following the race.

Rules Note: Subject to judge's whim or payoff and of course no correspondence will be entered into unless the protest is secured to a bottle of rum in adult division; see 'fine print' for the junior divisions (Hey, the kids have to learn!)

 Over the last few years a wonderful collection of craft has 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, although the level of seamanship has left something to be improved upon.

The Whitsunday Reef Festival -15-18 August- is a celebration and showcase of our vibrant and diverse community. It is our largest annual festival that engages the local community while entertaining visitors so they may experience our unique Whitsunday lifestyle.

The four day festival attracts all ages and a crowd of 10,000+ from all walks of life. Chock-a-block with fun events; fireworks, live music, a street parade, comedy gala, family fun day, Lions markets, competitions, fashion and wearable art, sand sculpting, a recyclable regatta, reef education and the iconic Great Whitsunday Fun Race sailing event.

Now in its 13th year, a rich history has developed in the community bringing different people together to celebrate what we all share, a fabulous lifestyle and beautiful place in the tropical north to call home.

To register or for further sponsorship details email to


CIA Bowen report


The Port of Abbot Point is an existing operating coal port located just north of Bowen. Since obtaining a 99-year lease of the X50 Abbot Point Coal Terminal, operator Adani identified the need to increase terminal capacity.

They are proposing a 35 Mtpa expansion of the existing terminal, along with an additional two offshore berths.

The Abbot Point Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) Report has been finalised following a public comment process.

The proponents say the CIA will help ensure that the Port of Abbot Point is designed and developed in a manner consistent with environmental best practice and considerate of the Outstanding Universal Value of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. NQBP, Adani, BHP Billiton and GVK Hancock Coal came together to produce a consolidated assessment report that will provide comprehensive information to inform individual approval decisions at the port. The report will also provide useful information to help guide future assessments at the port and also the strategic assessments underway across the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

An environmental assessment which included a review of 16 environmental studies found the port expansion would not have a significant impact on the Great Barrier Reef and that Greenpeace claims regarding the expansion's impact were overstated.


Record set


Congratulations to Francis Joyon, who set a new west to east singlehanded trans Atlantic record sailing from New York's Ambrose Light to a line linking Lizard Point, Cornwall to Ushant in a remarkable 5 days 2:56 minutes and 10 seconds, beating the previous record set by Thomas Coville in 2008 by 16 hours 34 minutes and 30 seconds.

Joyon sailed a Groupe IDEC 29.7 meter trimaran covering a distance over the bottom of 3,222 miles at an average speed of 26.20 knots. Francis Joyon, 57, is a French professional racer and yachtsman who also holds the record for the fastest single-handed sailing circumnavigation.


Marine notice


Port of Airlie marina, Boat Haven Bay – Work has been completed on the Superyacht berths on the northern Beacons side of the marina. The declared exclusion zone A has been revoked. Schedule B is still current; this is the area just to the north of the public boat ramp. There is a chartlet map S9-170 attached to Queensland NtM 964(T) of 2011. There is also an issue with the white light on berth 'A' being unlit. AUS charts 252 & 268


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan