July 16

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Activation 14/07/16

Skipper: Geoff Smith

Senior Crew: John Fearnley

Crew: Stu Applegate (1st activation), Mark Wright & Jim Dunn

Task: Medivac, Whitehaven Beach

I got the call from Bill at 5pm whilst doing the Thursday Training. It would have been difficult to claim I was otherwise occupied so as we had just finished sheet bends and had intended staying alongside, everyone got into the boat checks and grabbed some food from the Kiosk. Pat was part of the training group but couldn’t stay late and had to go.

Ben Baxter, the Paramedic, arrived to do his first Medivac then John turned up as senior crew.

We left with 6 POB at 1720 into flattish seas and pleasant winds in the bay although it was gusting up to 36 km/h at Hamilton Island. Sure enough, as we rounded Pioneer Point we hit wind mid to high 30’s and rough seas. It was the sort of thing you would expect in gale conditions; slamming seas, greenies over the bow soaking everyone and sea water coming through the hawse pipe.

We tried a few different tracks but they were all as bad as each other so elected to go the Southern route through Solway Passage as it is shorter. We arrived at 19.15 and Stu ran Ben ashore in the tender whilst Mark held VMR1 in position between the beach and the North Cardinal, off the campsite.

Ben and Stu returned with the patient who was part of a kayaking group called Kodiak (I thought they said Cardiac; not geriatric apparently 🙂 ), and had gone for a walk, slipped on a rock, fallen onto another rock breaking a couple of ribs. Another kayaker asked for a lift as well and we also brought back a lot of the group’s surplus baggage, departing at 2009.

With the tide turned and ebbing, John took us North for Hook Passage at 4500 rpm and with a following sea. Fast, stable and dry; luxury.

The passage was a little rolly and slowed us a little but we cracked on again after Pioneer, arriving 2140. We unloaded the 3 passengers and the baggage, fuelled up, and were back in the pen for 2215.

Thanks to a great team who handled the appalling conditions admirably.

Time on job: 5 hrs

Ciels and I emptied the sea water, and most of Whitehaven Beach, from the cabin the next morning.


Activation 15/07/16

Skipper: Gary Nicol

Senior Crew: Tom Manning

Crew: Alan Winch

Task: Tow, Grimston Point

All operations had been suspended at work due to the strong wind warning and 3 meter swell, so I was enjoying a sleep in and late brunch lazing around in my jammies when the phone rang.  Looking at caller ID my first thought was “it’s going to be miserable out there”.

A mayday call was received from Bowen VMR and passed onto the Whitsunday Police who activated VMR Whitsunday to collect a sailor north of Grimston Point. The sailor had gotten into trouble sometime in the morning and decided to deploy his anchor and ride out the blow.  Unfortunately for him, his hand was caught in the anchor chain and required medical treatment.

Crewed up and all checks completed, VMR 1 departed Abell Point at 1100.  As we arrived on site 30 minutes later at the GPS coordinates we were given, the yacht emerged from the rain soaked gloom right where she should be. We quickly assessed the situation and as no one onboard was able to weigh the anchor it was decided to cut the bitter end and tow the vessel back to Abell Point.  The transfer of the towline went well considering the conditions and Alan delivered a perfect pass to the sailor on the yacht who then cut away his anchor.

At first the trip back was very slow until we cleared Grimston Point and got in closer to Bluff Point where the Southwester was abating.  The lads on the deck executed a clean raft up and by 14:00 we had the vessel secure alongside the public jetty with the help of the police.

Sometimes activations can be much more challenging than this one turned out to be, so I would like to encourage all active members to get involved in training on Thursdays with Geoff, especially for rope handling and raft up drills so when it gets tricky we are all on top of our skills.  A big thanks to Tom and Alan for their great work on deck while looking like drowned rats.

Time on job: 3 hrs


Activation 19/07/16

Skipper: Fin Forbes

Senior Crew: Bill Harrison

Crew: Michel del Aguila & Norm Fraser

Task: Medivac, Hamilton Island

Phone Holder (Bill) rang at 1525 advising the need for the activation

activation 19 07 16.jpgWe left APM with 2 paramedics at 1600 arriving in Hamilton Marina at 1700. The patient was transferred to VMR1 and we were back in APM unloaded and refuelled by 1800.

Time on job: 2 hrs


Activation 23/07/16

Skipper: Ray Lewis

Crew: Ron Roberts & Rod Wilson

Task: Tow, Line Reef

I received a call about a broken down vessel located at Mackerel Bay, Hook Island, and by the time I arrived at VMR1 I had another call about a stricken vessel at Line Reef.

With a crew of Ron Roberts and Rod Wilson we departed for the reef.  On the way out I received calls that another vessel had broken down at Line Reef, and yet another at Holbourne Shoals so I passed that job onto Bowen.

It was postcard weather and the two vessels at the reef were only a mile apart.  While we were there, I counted twenty six other boats at the reef.

Over the whole day we saw at least twenty whales so all crew doing night activations be cautious.

activation 23 07 16.jpg

On the long slow trip home I was informed that the vessel at Mackerel Bay had got going.   I was also asked if I could go to Hamilton Island for a job after I had finished the tow.  I asked for another crew to be organised as it would be late by the time I finished,  so Hamilton Is decided to organise another vessel to assist.

We had to raft up and wait in line at low tide to drop the boats off at Port of Airlie so we did not finish until 1855 hrs with a 8.5 hour activation.

Thanks to the crew for a successful day

Time on job: 8½ hrs


Activation 28/07/16

Skipper:  Geoff Smith

Crew: Ray Lewis, Michel del Aguila & Jim Dunn.

Task: Medivac, Hayman Island

I got the call from Fin at 08.30; couldn’t have been Wednesday or Friday when it was nice weather, it had to be the 28th, Thursday, when it was blowing 30’s at Hamilton Island.  I’m starting to think there is a conspiracy.  😕

Anyway, on the boat, over to the fuel dock, pick up 2 Paramedics and on our way by 9.10, 6POB.

Pioneer Bay was OK but the Passage was lumpy with nice seas coming through, on the beam, making for a squirrely ride. Plenty of water over the top as well as through the damned hawse into the cabin, lovely.  Memo to self; put wet weather jacket on BEFORE the trip, not afterwards.

vmr1 at hayman.jpgWe arrived at Hayman (call the Marina on Ch6, not 10) at 10.00 and picked up our Medivac, a gentleman with chest pains.

After his check-up, we departed at 10.30, still gusting 30’s and lumpy, (I hate you Fin) and, awning flapping furiously, returned to APM at 11.45.

We unloaded our passengers, helping the medics up the ramp with the trolley (low tide) then fuelled, washed, removed stuffed awning and back into the pen for 12.15.

Time on job: 3 hrs


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