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Skipper: Geoff Smith
Crew: Fin Forbes & Michel Del Aguila
Task: Medivac – Hamilton Island
QAS rang at 1130 with a straightforward Medivac from Hammo of a young man with headache and fever.
A ring round for crew got us 2 skippers and a good crew member.
We arranged to meet the 2 Paramedics at the boat as the fuel dock ramp was a little suss and left APM at 1210.
A lovely day, if a little bumpy (the Paramedics have asked for a much bigger boat next time) arriving at the Hammo fuel dock at 1320.
We loaded the patient and departed at 1325 arriving back at APM at 1450 with the Paramedics complementing Michel on driving a pleasant, smooth, return trip. What a difference a tide makes. That would make a good title for a song.
We dropped the paramedics and patient on the Ocean Rafting dock first then went to the fuel dock to top up.
Paperwork completed and back to the pen for 1505. VTS and the phone holder were informed.
Thanks to Huey for a lovely day and a great crew for making it easy.
Time on job: 3 hours
Skipper: Geoff Smith
Crew: Ray Lewis, Norbert Gross & Michel Del Aguila
Task: Search & Rescue – Apostle Bay.
The Police District Co-ordinator rang just after 2am: three EPIRBS were going off in Apostle Bay.
We left APM at 0245 with heavy cloud covering a half moon plus showers. The flybridge deflector screens were damaged during Debbie and are off as templates for some new ones. Consequently, spray and rain made it impossible to drive from the flybridge, but it was only marginally better down below.
Whitsunday Passage was pretty slow and bumpy until we got to Hook Passage then it got very lumpy again when we started heading south down the eastern side of Whitsunday Island.
South of Peter Head we saw the Chopper and shortly after, a rocket flare in Apostle Bay. About 0415 the Chopper went in to the bay and reported a yacht ashore and a light moving about 200m from it. The light proved to be a tender with 2 cold, wet and concerned POB. It was nice having the chopper nearby, knowing we weren’t the only silly buggers out there.
We got the yacht’s crew aboard and the tender in tow. None of us liked the idea of going in to the bay further to check out the yacht though, gusting 30 at Hammo, lumpy seas, lee shore, black as the inside of a cow, etc, so we headed for home.
Inside Hook passage we stopped to get the motor off the tender and the tender on board, across our stern, then off to APM.
Whilst sorting out the tender we learned that the crew had picked up a mooring in Tongue Bay the previous afternoon and had only wakened when the rudder smashed into the Rocks in Apostle Bay
Ray had us alongside the fuel dock at 0610 to meet the Police and fuel up. Into the pen for 0640 then off home to bed.
Ray very kindly offered our unfortunate passengers a hot shower at his place and took them home with him.
Time on job: 4 hours
Skipper: Ray Lewis
Crew: Mick Evans, Stu Applegate, Michel Del Aguila & Lance Robins
Task: Sinking – Bali Hai
I was just finishing the morning radio shift when we received a call from a charter boat that had hit the reef near Black Island (Bali Hai) and was flooding.
I went to VMR1 while Bernd organised a crew so we departed APM at 1305 and headed across the passage, which was quite flat considering there was a 15-20 knots of wind blowing.
When we arrived at the scene the passengers had been unloaded to another charter boat to be brought back to Airlie Beach and the catamaran was grounded on the northern part of the reef at Black Island.
As we could not raft up, a crew member brought their tender out to VMR1 where we loaded the petrol driven water pump on board and Mick and Lance went over to pump out the flooded starboard hull.
After some time pumping and trying to stop the ingress of water it was realised that the pump could not keep up with the inflow so a salvage company was organised to take over the operation.
One crew member came on board VMR1 and two remained with the vessel as we returned to APM where we refuelled and were finished by 1635 hrs
Time on job: 3½ hours
PS: This incident also made the Whitsunday Times
Skipper: Ray Lewis
Crew: Roger Wodson, Michel Del Aguila & Lance Robins
Task: Water Ingress – Whitsunday Passage
Received a call on Anzac Day from Fin that we had a police activation for a 38 foot sloop taking in water, located between South Molle and Dent Islands with 1 POB.
We departed APM at 0925 and headed off on a beautiful morning.
When we rendezvoused with the vessel the water police boat was following it so we relieved them. Lance took a small 12 volt water pump on board the vessel and remained there to assist the skipper.
We followed the vessel into Pioneer Bay before heading off to fuel up and berthed next to where the vessel was booked so that we could collect Lance and the water pump.
Tied up and finished at 1235.
Time on job: 3¼ hours
Skipper: Fin Forbes
Crew: Rod Wilson & Norbert Gross (Coms)
Task: Grounding – Pentecost Island
0458 hrs I suppose is as good as any time to receive a phone call from Bill (our 24/7 Phone Holder) explaining that we needed to respond to a Mayday call. It seems a charter catamaran had drifted and run aground on the fringing reef on the south side of Pentecost Island.
Action stations meant we were away from APM by 0530. It was still dark but the promised strong southerly was sure making its presence felt – in terms of wind and sea. The seas were huge and confused, and the wavelength was approximately the same as the length of our boat, which ensured that at times we were making only 5 knots (and then very uncomfortably).
It just goes to show that you can get 3 men in a boat pre-dawn and in conditions that were ridiculous – maybe it just shows there are some certifiably insane people in our midst. I suppose the great money (as volunteers) makes it all worthwhile?
I think we grew gills to enable us to breath, as the amount of sea water coming over the boat meant air breathing was almost impossible. There is not much in the way of protection on VMR1 anymore.
We reached the vessel at 0800 hrs and assessed the situation. The tide was on the rise and the vessel showed it had ‘reasonable’ buoyancy. They assured us that they had no water ingress or damage.
We put our tender in the water and proceeded to take a tow rope to the vessel. But we decided to first have them attempt to use their own propulsion – luck was now on our side and the vessel came off by itself. So we both left the scene at 0825.
We escorted it back to Hamilton Island and were there by 0925, and then made our way back to APM – the conditions with following seas were now at least tolerable. We were washed down and refuelled and signed off and back in our pen by 1100 hours.
Thanks heaps to the crew – much of this activation could not be described as pleasant.
Note: by lunchtime it was again a perfect day in Paradise (the Whitsundays)
Time on job: 5½ hours
Skipper: Ray Lewis
Crew: Richard Atkinson & Michel Del Aguila
Task: Tow – Coral Beach
Received a call late in the afternoon that a non member on a jet ski had broken down at Coral Beach near Shute Harbour so we departed APM at 1700.
Arriving at sunset, we launched the tender and towed the jet ski back to VMR1.
The owner of the jet ski was aware of the issue where water can be forced into the engine when towing so he placed a pair of vice grips on the water hose.
We headed to Port of Airlie in ideal conditions, dropped him off and returned to APM, refuelled and were finished at 1930, just in time to watch Friday night football.
Time on job: 2½ hours