December 2017

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Activation Reports brought to you by Fish d’Vine & Rum Bar Queensland’s premier Seafood Restaurant and Rum Bar


 Activation: 2/12/17: Member with engine problems

Received a call around 5.00am from our 24/7 phone holder, that a member was experiencing engine problems and was in the Molle Channel out from Pioneer Rocks. It took a bit of time to gather the required number of crew (anyone thinking of volunteering?!) however we departed Abell Point Marina at 5.40am and proceeded out past Pioneer Point.

Crew could see a boat near the northern part of North Molle Island but as we headed in that direction the boat sped away! 🙂 Phoned the member in trouble and discovered that the boat we were looking for had drifted down to Daydream Island…where we located it.

We rafted up, completed the paperwork and towed the 4.5 metre boat back to Port of Airlie boat ramp then returned to our berth, washed our vessel and by 7:30am everyone was heading home for a well deserved big breakfast. 🙂

Crew: Tom Manning, Rod Wilson
Skipper Ray Lewis


 Activation 5/12/17: Medivac from Tongue Bay

Captain Fin rang at 7.05pm, just after dinner. I wasn’t going to mention that but Michel had to eat his steak whilst driving to the boat! A female had trodden on something near the shore and was in pain. We got under way at 7.45pm into a very dark but warm and windless night.

We had an uneventful trip across the passage and down to Tongue Bay, and watched a beautiful moon rising as we passed Hook Observatory.

After arriving at 8.50pm, paramedics transferred across for the evaluation and had the patient and her husband ready to travel by 9.15pm. As they had been aboard a charter yacht, there was a slight delay as the husband gave anchoring instructions to the Skipper who, with his wife, was left with all the kids. Lucky chaps.

The trip home was easy although the bit through Hook Passage was a little bumpy because of the flooding tide. Once through the neck though the water was like a mirror. It would have been a wonderful shot with the Moonlight and a decent camera.

10.40pm saw us at the fuel dock where we unloaded our passengers and we were on our way home by 11.10pm. Thanks to the Gods and a great crew for a perfect night.

Crew: Michel del Aguila, Richard Atkinson
Skipper Geoff Smith


 Activation 18/12/17: Tow a member out of fuel

Phone Holder Fin called at 12.15pm as a member had run out of fuel between Pioneer Point and Hannah Point on North Molle Island. By the time I (Mal) got to Abell Point Marina VMR1, crew members Ronnie and Lance had us just about ready to go. After getting all details from Fin we left Abell Point Marina and set course for Pioneer in 15-20 knots of south easterly and on a dropping tide.

As we knew our target would be drifting, we started looking for him between Pioneer and Hannah points. With our experience of the area we assumed that tide and wind would have taken him north…and this proved 100% correct as we found him quickly and pulled alongside about 12.45pm. There was some paperwork to do but then we set out for Abell Point at a very comfortable 15 knots using less than 90 litres per hour. We took them alongside outside the marina and deposited them at the boat ramp about 1:30pm before returning to our own berth, logging off with Fin and then cleaning and securing VMR1.

All in all a pretty routine activation, and thanks to Lance and Ronnie for a job well done.

Crew: Ronnie Roberts, Lance Robbins
Skipper: Mal Priday


 Activation 23/12/17: Assisting a drifting sailing vessel

I (Paul) received a call from the Radio Room reporting a vessel having engine troubles in Nara Inlet. The stricken vessel originally decided to try sailing to Abell Point Marina and were simply asking VMR for assistance to berth the vessel. No problem. We figured we had a few hours before we’d be needed so leisurely continued with our Chrissy preparations.

It was a short-lived reprieve however, as it was only about 40 minutes later that we received another call asking for a tow. Apparently the sailing wasn’t going too well as the wind was causing issues and they were drifting towards the rocks.

So….all systems go! I met Geoff and Michel at Abell Point Marina VMR1, and we proceeded to Nara Inlet scanning the sea for a dark blue sailing vessel with its main sail up…which was the information we were given. As we passed Hannah Point on North Molle I received a radio call from the vessel which was straight off our port bow….and which turned out to be the vessel were looking for, but was white with a blue stripe and off North Molle Island. So important to get accurate information…..

We were unable to find our bridle so we jury-rigged one up and got under way with the vessel towing nicely at 8 knots. The owner said it was the “fastest his vessel had ever gorn!” Half way to Pioneer Rocks we struck a little problem….the vessel’s anchor had chafed through one side of our make-shift bridle and it had snapped. No drama though as by this stage we had located the correct bridle so we hooked it up and got under way again, asking the vessel’s Skipper to tie up the anchor to stop possible chafing.

We experienced a bit of a roll off the leads at Abell Point Marina which made it tricky to put along side, but all went well and we got the vessel back in her berth with the help of Abell Point Marina staff.

Thanks very much to the crew….and Merry Christmas to all 😊

Crew: Geoff Smith, Michel del Aguila
Skipper: Paul Coggan


 Activation 25/12/17: Rescuing a member with electrical problems….plus more!

Well, at least we squeezed in Christmas lunch! The call came in at 2.30pm on Christmas Day…. Mackay Police had received a satellite phone call from a VMR member asking for assistance.
Dropped the second piece of Christmas cake (that we didn’t need anyway and rushed off to ‘Abell Point Marina VMR1’, setting off at 3.30pm in glorious conditions and heading to Crayfish Beach, South Mackerel Bay. After arriving at 4.30pm we organised a quick pick up and proceeded to Hook Passage to do the paperwork as it was a little choppy with an Easterly picking up. We left Hook at 5.25pm and after an uneventful 15 knot return run, dropped them off at the Abell Point Marina ramp at 6.45pm.

We thought we might still have time for a beer and some Chrissy dessert….but it wasn’t to be. Whilst re-fuelling we heard VTS talking to a sailing vessel which had gone aground on the eastern Gloucester Passage reef with 2 on board. Apparently the yacht was slowly listing and those on board were worried they would sink at the bottom of the tide. We didn’t want to leave then get called back out after opening a beer so decided to hang around for a little while. VTS were talking to Mackay Water Police who agreed we should attend but did not “activate us”. As it was a little vague we contacted Bill who is one of our Search & Rescue experts….he also thought we should go.

Meanwhile, VTS were still talking to the stranded vessel who reported they had holed and were taking water but the electric bilge pump was coping. Bill was talking to Mackay WP, VTS and our 24hr phone holder who were all trying to clarify the “activation”. At this point, we left Abell Point Marina again at 7.20pm, heading for Hydaway Bay as the tide was still dropping therefore making time very much of the essence if we were going to be able to do anything when we got there.

Just north of Grimston we spoke to the Water Police again who informed us the vessel hadn’t been holed and was wedged in nicely and standing up OK. The owner was going to stay on board and get off at the next high tide. That meant we could go home. Whoopee!! Christmas cake and beer….here we come!! Got back at 8:15pm.

Thanks to the great crew who, with patience and tolerance, spent their Christmas helping others.

Crew: Michel del Aguila and Trevor James
Skipper: Geoff Smith


 Activation 27/12/17: Member with engine problems

I (Ray) received a call from one of our phone holders that a member in a six metre vessel with five people on board had engine problems at Fitzalan Passage. With Stu, Lance and new trainee Richardo on board the ‘Abell Point Marina VMR1’ we departed at 2:20pm and headed towards our destination, enjoying superb weather and a flat sea. We received a call from the vessel that they were anchored north of Plum Pudding Island so on arrival we rafted up and started to move away from the reef area while Stu did the paperwork. We then attached the tow rope and headed to Port of Airlie, the vessel coming up on the plane easily as we travelled along at 17 knots.

We dropped the vessel off at Port of Airlie and returned to Abell Point Marina, refuelled, washed down and were finished at 5:20pm, an uncomplicated 3 hour activation.

Crew: Stu Applegate, Lance Robbins, Ricardo Pritchard
Skipper: Ray Lewis


Activation 31/12/17 – Assisting a non-member with fuel issues

I (Ray) happened to be in our Radio Room when a call came through that a non-member with one other person on board had water in their fuel and required assistance from a mooring in Stonehaven Anchorage North. A crew was rapidly put together and we all met at ‘Abell Point Marina VMR1’, departing at 10:30am and making our way across the passage.

It was one of Airlie’s perfect days with a calm, flat sea so we cruised at 2600 rpm and 21 knots, locating the vessel with no problems. We rafted up to them and completed the paperwork while towing out into deeper water then commenced the tow back to Abell Point Marina. The vessel was placed at the Marina boat ramp, and then all there was left to do was refuel, berth and wash down…all completed by 1:00pm.  Thanks to the crew for a competent job.

Crew: Roger Wodson, Stu Applegate, Steve Norton
Skipper: Ray Lewis


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