August 2020

Activation 3/8/20: Participation in video promotion for Whitsunday boating business

This was an activation with a difference! Together with crewmembers Michel and Chris, I (Geoff F) was on board Coral Sea Marina VMR1 by 0700, and soon had her prepped and all ready to head out. We were joined by one of the ladies who was organising the event and left at 0725 to a position outside of the marina, where we waited for the charter vessels to assemble.

It was a slow procession, with all vessels trying to maintain a close formation. The drone operator/photographer was calling the shots for boat positions…which was easier said than done! There were numerous vessels ranging from jetskies to Atlantic Clipper, with some vessels under sail. The skippers and crews did a good job though, and it all went to plan.

It will be interesting to see the footage from the drone. The day started out overcast but then the sun peeked through to make the Whitsunday waters look magnificent. When we were given the nod to break formation, the faster boats and jetskis took off in a great display.

Back to CSM, cleaned up and we were off the boat at 0900. It was a bit of fun.

Crew: Michel del Aguila, Chris Williamson
Skipper: Geoff Fitzsimmons


Activation 7/8/20 (1): Medivac from Hamilton Island

Phone holder Roger called at 1100 to let me (Mal) know that we may be tasked for another medivac from Hamilton Island, and that he was waiting for QAS to decide whether it would be done by helicopter or by sea. 2 minutes later he was back on the line to say that it was up to us as the helicopter was unable to fly in the very low cloud and poor visibility that prevailed at the time. Game on, departure set for 1145!

I met the crew and paramedic at Coral Sea Marina VMR1, and after prestart checks we departed at 1142 for the estimated 45 minute trip at fast cruise speed to Hamilton on a flat sea with very low cloud, poor visibility, and showers – we had to get there quickly from all accounts. En route, if we looked hard we could just see the Airlie Beach Race Week fleet not going very far at all in the very light conditions.

We tied up alongside at Hamilton at 1230, and after transferring our patient onto our on-board stretcher, accompanied by her son, we departed at 1237 for a slightly more sedate trip back to Airlie. We were alongside on our berth at Coral Sea Marina at 1330, and after transferring our patient onto a waiting stretcher brought down by another paramedic, Terry and Lance helped move , the patient and the Paramedic’s gear up the ramp to the waiting ambulance.

In the meantime, Paul and I had moved VMR1 to the fuel dock by which time Terry and Lance were back, then it was a matter of refuelling, moving back to our own berth, stowing our stretcher, cleaning and securing the vessel, finishing the paperwork – and we disembarked at 1415. Thanks crew.

it was a nice change to see Hamilton by day – we are usually there in the middle of the night!

Crew: Paul Martin , Lance Robins, Terry Clarke
Skipper: Mal Priday


Activation 7/8/20 (2): Assist a 6.5 m vessel broken down in the shipping channel, and a close call en route

I had a couple of hours off after the first activation of the day when the “Help” ringtone went off again – it was 24/7 phone holder Roger, and this time we had been asked to assist a vessel with 5 pob broken down on the way back from the outer reef, still on the outside of the islands.

Coral Sea Marina VMR1 departed the marina at 1745 in a very light SE wind and a flat sea, with darkness approaching. We set course for the given coordinates, and got an update from them as we passed through the Narrows between Black Island and Hook Island after a close-quarters situation with a tinny fishing in the channel at night, with no lights on until we got within about 50 metres! Small boats are very hard to pick up on radar let alone see on a pitch black night even with FLIR, but they quickly moved clear as we shook our heads at what could have been a very dangerous situation that could have been avoided if they had complied with the regulations. There is no doubt they would have come off second best!

Once through the Narrows the sea was a bit rougher, and we set course for the updated position we had got from our target, but as we approached we found an empty sea. Another call and another set of coordinates, and we headed back towards the island for another 4 miles before we found them at 1917. If you are giving us coordinates, please make sure that you give us the ship’s position and not where the cursor happens to be on your plotter – particularly important in an emergency situation.

It was too rolly to take them alongside, so we passed across our tow hook and at 1925 headed back to the shelter of the islands, where we took them alongside, transferred 3 persons to our boat to lighten the tow, and again set off for Airlie at a comfortable 18-19 knots.

They were put onto the ramp pontoon at Coral Sea Marina at 2055 (they had launched at Port of Airlie but the state of the tide meant it was not safe to go in there with VMR1), and while Thomas drove one of them to POA to get their car and trailer we moved to the fuel dock, refuelled, and returned to our own berth for the washdown and paperwork, stepping off at 2130 after 3 ¾ hours on the water – nice job, Tony, Richard and Thomas.

Crew: Tony McNeill, Richard Keane, Thomas Dahmen
Skipper: Mal Priday


Activation 8/8/20: We got a Mayday call…but…

Let me (Ken) just start with an important point. The ONLY time you call a Mayday is when you are in grave and imminent danger. Running out of fuel is certainly NOT worthy of a Mayday call. Here’s what happened….

It was 16:15 and I had just finished teaching at Coast Training when the emergency phone rang. It was Alan at the radio base reporting that he had receive two activation calls virtually at the same time. The most important one (so we thought) was the Mayday call from a 4.85 metre power vessel with 3 POB.

Once we knew that he had simply run out of fuel, we stopped rushing. This was going to be a 62+ nautical mile trip which would take Coral Sea Marina VMR1 offline for quite a few hours. Anyway, the crew arrived and we set off at 16:30 hrs. The sea was flat as it had been all day however this was about to change. As the wind began increasing the tide was changing and so the conditions were deteriorating rapidly.

We arrived at the stranded vessel at 18:10 and took the two adults and a child onboard VMR1 – it was a relatively small open vessel. Back we go to the marina with conditions now moderately rough, making for a slow trip.

It was already 22:00 hrs. when we finally arrived so our passengers were transferred to their own vessel which we took to the Boat ramp. VMR1 then headed to the fuel dock then back to our berth for a washdown and to finish the paperwork.

Finally got to go home and get some sleep. Thank you to the Crew who did a great job in not so easy conditions.

Crew: Paul Martin and Steve Norton
Skipper: Ken Bryce


Activation 9/8/20 (1): Where exactly are you???

It was Sunday afternoon and we got as far into the day as 16:15 before the emergency phone rang. Time for action! I (Ken) received the report that there was a 23 foot inboard power vessel with 3 POB, drifting on the northern tip of South Molle Island.

I decided that Whale Song VMR2 was the right boat for this job, so met the crew there and we were on our way by 16:55. While en route, we received a radio call from MV. Logger Head to tell us that the vessel we were looking for was on North Molle (not South Molle as we had been advised).

An immediate 90 degree turn to port and we could see the two vessels in the distance. Thanks Logger Head…you prevented a fruitless search in the wrong area!

When we arrived on the scene, the Skipper of the stricken vessel had his engine running and was hopeful that he may be able to make it home under his own power. That idea was short lived however, so we took the vessel along side and the crew began completing the necessary paper work.

Meanwhile I commenced heading for CSM…..and this is where it got interesting. We were in Pioneer Bay and nearing two yachts that were just crossing the finish line of a race. I was watching the closest one carefully as it was on our Starboard side. This vessel had already furled its head sail.

As we were the RAM ( Restricted in Ability to Manoeuvre ) vessel I was expecting the other vessel to keep clear of us which would have been easily done, however the vessel made no alteration to its course! I was forced to take evasive action and turn to Starboard passing around its stern. Grrrr….all skippers should know the rules.

At 18:05 we left our target vessel at the CSM boat ramp and headed in to refuel, completing the activation by 18:30. We thought that might be the end of our day…..but apparently not yet……

Crew: Tony McNeill and Shane
Skipper: Ken Bryce


Sunday 9/8/20 (2): Medivac from Daydream

I (Ken) was tidying up after our activation out to North Molle. I was ready for some dinner and a cold beverage….when the phone rang. Yep….another activation, and this time a medivac from Daydream.

Because we were short on volunteers that day, the same crew from the previous activation were also called back – they had been driving home and needed to do a u-turn. As this was a medivac, it was necessary to take Coral Sea Marina VMR1 so an extra crew member was needed…thanks Thomas.

We got started on the pre-start checks while waiting for the Ambulance officer to arrive. My tummy was grumbling so I took the opportunity to purchase some food from the Garden Bar.

Once everyone was on board, we departed CSM for Daydream Island at 19:30 hrs. It was an uneventful trip over and we arrived at 20:00. By 20:09 we had the patient loaded and were heading back. to CSM.

All the paper work and washing done by 21:25, it was time to finally go home after a long day. I had started my day at 08:00 doing maintenance on both boats.

Crew: Tony McNeill, Shane Newell and Thomas Dahmin
Skipper: Ken Bryce


Activation 11/8/20: Assist a jetski, 2 POB, in the Molle Channel

Our 24/7 phone holder Roger has been attracting more than the usual number of calls lately, and he called me (Mal) around 1400 to advise that there was a jet ski requiring assistance somewhere near Daydream and North Molle. This was a job tailor made for Whale Song VMR2, our 6.7 metre Naiad RHIB.

Paul and I met at the boat and launched it off its pontoon, and we were underway at 1425. It was a beautiful winter’s day in the Whitsundays, blue sky, light winds, and a flat sea.

While we were heading out, Paul called the jetski and got a very rough description of where they were, and he asked for a set of coordinates – they called back a couple of minutes later but unfortunately the coordinates provided showed the jet ski on top of Mount Merkara on the mainland at an altitude of about 350 metres! We decided to ignore them. 😋

Instead, we opted to simply keep an eye out as we rounded Almora Islet and as we entered the Molle Channel a couple of minutes later, we found our target.

By 1505 we had them in tow, and after being assured by the owner that the ski had a sealed cooling system and that he was happy for a quicker tow, we headed back to the Port of Airlie ramp at 18-20 knots on the flat sea, depositing them onto the pontoon at 1540. By the time we returned to the marina, refuelled, put her onto the drive on dock, cleaned and secured the boat it was 1555 when we stepped off. Thanks Paul.

That was VMR Whitsunday’s 9th activation in 10 days – more than we did for the whole month of August last year!

Crew: Paul Martin
Skipper: Mal Priday


Activation 11/8/20: Medivac from Hamilton Island for QAS.

Conditions – Weather – Clear, Wind – SSE 5 to 10 knots, Seas – less than ½ m.

We left CSM on Coral Sea Marina VMR1 with one Paramedic aboard at 1205 hrs, arriving at Hamilton Island Marina at 1300.

The patient was transferred to our vessel and we started our return to CSM at 1325. We unloaded the patient at our berth and then proceeded to the fuel dock and refuelled. We then returned to our berth to wash down and complete shut-down procedures. This was all completed by 1505 hrs.

Thanks to the crew for their competence and dedication to helping their community – and good guys as well.

Crew: Paul Martin (Snr Crew), Lance Robins (also acting as Comms Officer), Terry Clarke (crewman)
Skipper: Fin Forbes


Activation 13/8/20 (1): Assist a vessel stranded in Stonehaven Bay

I (Ken ) received a call from our 24hr phone holder Roger at 10:30 hrs. He said “We have a 14 metre Sailing vessel with fuel issues at Stonehaven off Hook Island….three on board.” While Roger gathered a crew together I did the pre-start checks on Coral Sea Marina VMR1. Mal, Shane and Lance arrived and by 11:00 we were off to the stricken vessel.

There were flat seas and beautiful conditions for our arrival at Stonehaven Bay, so we moored along side and Shane commenced the necessary paper work. Meanwhile, Mal and Lance organized the tow so we would soon be on our way.

It was dead on noon when we departed, heading for Coral Sea Marina. We were travelling at 8.3 knots in these calm conditions and arrived at CSM at 14:00. We deposited the sailing vessel along side her dock at 14:09 and went to refuel. VMR1 was washed down and secure by 14:45.

The crew once again made this rescue a very easy task. Thank you.

Crew: Mal Priday, Shane Newell, Lance Robins
Skipper: Ken Bryce

BUT WAIT….THERE’S MORE…… 😋

Activation 13/8/20 (2): Engine problems for vessel at Double Cone Island

The phone rang and it was Roger again. “Are you still there on VMR1?” “Yes“, I replied “Haven’t left yet“. “Well…” he responded, “We have another activation to Double Cone Island as there is a 26 foot Power Vessel over heating. There are 4 people on board.”

Luckily the crew were all on their way as we were about to hold a training session so Roger need only ring some and get them to come a bit early. We were on our way by 15:30 and arrived at the stricken vessel at 15:45.

Shane once again completed the paper work while Paul and Domonique organized the tow. We were back at the Sailing Club to drop the tow by 16:25, and the 4 people on board were very happy to be home. After refuelling, the Crew awaiting Training practice boarded VMR1 to go through training drills. That day ended at 18:45

Thankyou to the crew for your professional work.

Crew: Mal Priday, Shane Newell, Dominique Noire
Skipper: Ken Bryce


Activation 15/8/20 (1): Assist a 7metre vessel broken down north of Hayman Island

Linda and I (Mal) were just about to head off to do some babysitting of two of our grandies when the “Help” ringtone went off again – it has been getting a workout lately. It was Dewi in the radio room…a 7 metre vessel had broken down some 4 miles north of Hayman with 2 POB, and was in need of assistance to get back to Airlie.

It was off to the rescue boat for a different sort of “babysitting”! Conditions could not have been better, little to no wind, a flat sea, and a beautiful sunny day with almost unlimited visibility.

Paul and Chris beat me to the boat, and Coral Sea Marina VMR1 departed the marina at 1255 heading for the coordinates given to Dewi. Chris contacted the boat en route to check, and was given another set of coordinates very different to the first set.

I asked him to check again, and he was given a third set, different again! We contacted the target again and stressed that we need the position of the vessel, not the cursor! Fourth time lucky, but 12 miles from Hayman, not 4.

By this time we had passed Hayman, and had to alter course to give way to a large container ship heading north at 19 knots – he had right of way anyway, but he was a LOT bigger than us!

By 1430 we had our target vessel in tow and started back towards Coral Sea Marina. We passed a large sea snake close enough to get a reasonable photo, and were treated to the sight of 3 or 4 humpback whales having a bit of a frolic about 250-300 metres on our starboard side.

We took our tow alongside outside the marina, and deposited them on the ramp pontoon by 1620 before heading to the fuel dock to refuel and then going back to our own berth to wash and secure the boat, and complete the paperwork, stepping off at 1650 to complete another 4 hour activation.

Thanks to Bill and Chris for another job well done.

Crew: Bill Hopton, Chris Williamson
Skipper: Mal Priday


Activation 15/8/20 (2): Medivac for a wee little lad

Takoyaki. Yes, we were deep in discussion on the subject and had just determined how many octopi it takes to make a ball. We figured 2 on the dance floor, and the number in the orchestra was indeterminate.

Then the VMR call came from Roger, a medivac to Hayman. It’s lucky I don’t drink I (Ron) thought as I kitted up for a calm but crisp rescue mission. As I arrived at Coral Sea Marina|Resort VMR1, the crew of Michel and Bill had almost completed the
pre-start checks and paperwork, so we quickly finished those as we waited for our Paramedic assistant.

On departure from our berth we had new information. Pick-up was from a vessel in Stonehaven anchorage, no GPS coordinates, but they were in the Southern end, and would ‘light up’ on our approach.

Flat seas and light breeze meant a very quick trip to our patient who was a young lad who had been sleeping in a boat bunk for the first time…first night out on the holiday of his life, when he rolled out of bed and broke his arm. Poor little tacker!

This was no bad planning of fuel use, bad navigation or bad sea-manship, just pure bad luck. The whole crew felt for this young lad, and to a man were proud to be of help.

Our paramedic was concerned about the journey back across Whitsunday and Molle Passages’ and recommended a stop to see the resident Doctor at the 5-star Hayman Island Resort. A quick phone call and we were assured of access and the doctor would be waiting at the dock for us.

After his check-up our patient (with his Mum as company) was okayed for a steady trip back to Airlie Beach, then on by ambulance to Proserpine hospital. With whales recently sighted in the area, we set off for Airlie at good speed keeping a close watch on
our Forward Looking Infrared Camera and Radar.

Safely back at our berth having helped our passengers to the waiting Ambulance, we moved across to refuel, then back to wash down and finalise our paperwork …all done by 00.45. We all agreed that this was one of those ‘feel good’ activations. 🥰

Crew: Michel del Aguila, Bill Hopton
Skipper: Ron Roberts


Activation 16/08/20: Trip to Double Cone to rescue people and horses

Allan was on duty in the VMR Radio room, and he gave me ( Ken ) a call at 11:15. Apparently we had a 5 metre power vessel with engine failure, 4 POB, west of Double Cone.

OK I am on my way!” I said, “Can you call the crew?” Allan did that quickly and the crew actually arrived before me. Not only that, but when I got there they had the prestart nearly completed. So efficient! 🙂

We departed on Whale Song VMR2 at 11:30…there was a slight chop and 15 knots of wind from the SE. It was a lively run to the stricken vessel and we arrived at 12:10, immediately rafting along side.

Chris was acting as Senior Crew so he completed all the paperwork while Shane and I arranged the Tow. Two of the passengers on board the 5 metre vessel were very young children so I decided that they and their mother should come on board Whale Song VMR2 for the return trip.

We had to agree to let them bring their precious horses with them though. TOY horses of course! 🐴🐴 Everyone donned life jackets and when all were secure, we headed for Whisper Bay on a falling tide at 12:21. Chris was on the helm for the return trip.

Arriving at Whisper Bay boat ramp in very shallow conditions at 13:15 but we weren’t concerned as this is Whale Song`s forte. After putting the passengers ashore we headed for refuelling and our dock, arriving back at the dock at 13:55.

Thankyou to the crew a pleasure to be with you.

Crew: Chris Williamson, Shane Newell
Skipper: Ken Bryce


Activation 18/8/20: Medical emergency at Gould Reef

Sometimes, it is all in the timing. I (Ron) had a ute full of tools and a job to do on a yacht, then the VMR ringtone blares at me as I am turning into the Coral Sea Marina car-park. Roger apologises that even though I am not on call, can I help.

Of course, where am I going and why?” Gould Reef and a medical emergency, 2 paramedics on VMR1, a helicopter already dispatched and the Police Niaid will accompany! “I will be on board in 3 minutes” was my response.

The police vessel left before us, then with our VMR crew of 4 plus 2 paramedics and also 2 police officers on board we powered up to 29 knots as soon as I was clear of the marina leads.

A choppy sea with a Northerly swell coupled with a 15kn North-Easterly breeze made for bouncy going until we were almost at Double Cone Island, then with flatter conditions we transferred one of the paramedics and some of his equipment onto the smaller Police vessel for a slightly faster trip to our rendezvous point with the patient.

We had quite a bit of radio traffic happening between the 3 vessels and the helicopter, and we were informed that a paramedic had been lowered down to the patient, and that they were making way at speed directly to Airlie Beach.

At that point VMR1 was stood down, so we slowed somewhat, turned to a reciprocal bearing, and headed for home. From first call to home and hosed was a little over 3 hours.

Crew: Michel, Shane and Thomas
Skipper: Ron


Activation 19/08/2020: Vessel with a prop wrap, anchored outside CMS

Time of Contact- 1218 hrs
Conditions – Weather – Clear, Wind. – NNW – 15 to 25 knots, Seas. – 1 to 1 ½ m, Tides.

We left on Coral Sea Marina VMR1 at 1245 hrs and were at the vessel (in rough seas) at 1300. We threw the tow line to them using the throwing line (and Tom’s Monkey fist) and attempted to take the strain off their anchor chain so they could manually pull it aboard – much easier said than done. They made the decision after some time to abandon that and the attempt at taking them in tow until conditions were more favourable.

We left them but just as we were entering CSM, we got a call from the same vessel asking us if we could retrieve their tender as it had broken free. We retrieved it with some difficulty and returned it to their vessel. We left them again at 1350 and returned to our pen. We were washed down and necessary paper work done by 1405 hrs.

Crew: Ron Roberts, Shane Newell
Skipper: Fin Forbes


Activation 21/8/20: Assist member broken down off Mandalay, 5 POB

It was 14:30 and the emergency phone was ringing. It was Bill Harrison, our 24 hour phone holder who told me (Ken) that there was a 6 metre runabout broken down 1 mile North of Mandalay point. “Can you assist?” he said. “No problem,” I replied “I’m on my way.”

This was a job for Whale Song VMR2 so while Bill arranged two crew for me I made my way to CSM. I arrived to find the crew busy completing the pre-start checks. We departed at 15:10 heading in the general direction given.

Well, it seemed like every vessel in that area was on the move, so I asked David who was acting as Comms person to call the vessel in distress as we needed a better location. David asked for a GPS position and after some discussion we were off to a new location on the opposite side of Pioneer Bay.

Luckily that proved accurate and we were soon alongside the vessel. Crew member Bill completed the paper work while David set up the tow line and then we were off to Whisper Bay near the bottom of the tide.

At 16:10 we left the member and his 4 passengers and vessel on the boat ramp. Their plans for a camping birthday in the islands was in need of a Plan B although the kids were not phased by the break down. “Let’s just hire another boat!” they suggested.😄

We on VMR2 returned to our dock refueled, completed the paper work and were off home at 16:40. Thank you to the crew.

Crew: Bill Hopton, David Richter
Skipper: Ken Bryce


Activation 22/8/20: Vessel broken down near Grimston Point

The phone rang at 12:50, and it was Janet in the VMR Radio room calling. “We have a 4 meter vessel with 4 on board, broken down near Grimston Point. Can you assist?”

I ( Ken ) headed off to Whale Song VMR2 while Janet used our Availability app to call a crew.

We were soon underway departing CSM at 13:50. The sea conditions were moderate so we made a fast trip – Whisper Bay was our destination and we arrived there at 14:25. Once along side, Chris completed all the paperwork, while David set up the tow line. It didn’t take long and we had the vessel under tow and heading back.

The 4pob and their vessel were deposited at the boat ramp while VMR2 headed for CSM to be refueled and put to bed.

Thank you to the very efficient crew.
Crew: Chris Williamson & David Richter.
Skipper: Ken Bryce


Activation 24/8/20: Broken Down Vessel east of South Molle

Another episode for VMR2. I (Marti) was having a lazy afternoon after a good morning’s work so I settled into my comfy lounge and snored through another episode of Foyles War, starring Michael Kitchen. It was towards the end of the show at 1512 hours that the bat phone rang…and yes, I have a special ringtone for VMR calls.

It was Bill Harrison with a mission to complete. A boat owner is stuck (anchored) just north of Planton Island (to the east of South Molle Island) with a flat battery, and he can’t start his outboard.

Mission accepted, I jumped into the jalopy and motored to Coral Sea Marina where I shared the scenario with crew Bill and Shane. It was a unanimous choice that we use Whale Song VMR2 to execute the operation. Our general plan of action was to first attempt to jump start the vessel with an onboard power pack and if all else fails we would tow the 7.5m vessel back.

We were underway at 1554 hours with VTS and base advised, and 25 minutes later we had located the stricken vessel. We pulled up alongside when I recognised it was a mate of mine with 2 others. We exchanged the normal salutations and got busy with the paper work and then the serious business.

Long story short, the Lithium Ion jump starter did not work so we decided to do the tow. We hooked up and paid out about 100m of tow line and slowly increased the speed to about 20 knots, motoring home in 35 minutes.

Not bad for a 7.5m fibre glass boat in tow with 3 blokes onboard. VMR2 you are beautiful. What a job she did today all in the space of 2 hours.

Crew: Bill Hopton, Shane Newell
Skipper: Marti Davy


Activation 30/8/20 (1): Medivac in the wee small hours

I (Marti) was sound asleep when the phone rang. I opened my eyes just a little bit and squinted at the bedside clock. It was 12:56am …yes, one o’clock in the morning. It was 24/7 phone holder Bill Harrison on the other end (and also awake), looking for a volunteer to do a medivac to Hamilton Island. Mission accepted.

I made my way to Coral Sea Marina VMR1, and found Roger and Bill (a different Bill) already carrying out the prestart checks. Shortly after, Michel walked jauntily down to the berth ( I think he must have sneaked in a cuppa before he left home). We were soon joined by a Queensland Police Officer and a QAS Paramedic.

By 0150hours we were underway and with a 25 knot wind gusting to 30 ESE, it was going to make things interesting particularly crossing the passage. The tide had roughly another hour on the runout which proved to be an advantage in that I didn’t expect much chop around the points.

As it turned out, that was a fair assumption but we did slow down crossing the passage between Unsafe Passage and the southern end of CID Island due to the wave height. Rounding Reef Point and on entering Fitzalan passage we were able to pick up speed for the rest of trip to Hamilton Island.

Arriving at the Hamilton Island Marina at 0300hours we berthed at the pontoon jetty adjacent the fuel dock where the resident paramedic and night Island Manager brought the patient (and friend) to the boat. The patient was on a stretcher but as we had organised our own vessel stretcher setup inside VMR1, it was a relatively quick and easy transfer.

After 25 minutes we were underway and heading for Airlie Beach, but this time with a following sea which was a more comfortable ride. We crossed the Whitsunday passage heading initially for the cardinals off Coral Point, Shute Harbour then turned for Pioneer Rocks once clear of Roma Point on South Molle Island.

Once clear of Almora Islet we headed into Pioneer Bay and arrived in good time back at Coral Sea Marina where we took our new berth…and yes it is a “blowoff” berth but we managed it well considering it was the wee small hours. With the patient safely disembarked, QAS wheeled him away and we tended to the refueling and finally a wash down and post operation duties, finishing by 0500hours.

That pretty much took care of the night! Always, a job well done by all crew.

Crew: Roger Wodson, Bill Hopton & Michel del Aguila
Skipper: Marti Davy


Activation 30/8/20 (2): Medivac from Hammo (at a civilised time) 😄

Yes, I (Ron) know that ringtone. It’s the VMR radio room which means somebody needs some help!

A medivac from Hamilton Island? Yes, OK Ray. I’ll turn the car around, forget lunch, and head directly to Coral Sea Marina VMR1. On my way.

It didn’t take long to get the pre-start checks done and have our paramedic was aboard, and by 12.20 we were on our way… into a strong wind warning. We initially estimated the expected sea-state to be ‘Moderate’ but soon upgraded this to ‘Rough’. Oh yeah. 🤪

By travelling through Unsafe Passage, then across Whitsunday Passage we managed to stay out of the worst of the wave action while maintaining a good speed, arriving at our destination within 60 minutes. Hamilton Island Marina was quite busy and it was good to see so many vessels in the harbour, rather than out on those seas. We were soon tied up and taking our patient on board.

Once we had the okay from our paramedic, we headed back to Coral Sea Marina with a following sea and breeze, so the trip was a little faster but much smoother.

Just under a one hour trip and we had our patient safely in the ambulance. A refuel and wash down, and VMR1 was ready for our next call-out.

Thanks to the crew for their fine efforts…we were all tidied and finished up by 15.05

Crew: Shane Gosselink, Tony McNeill & Dave Burch
Skipper: Ron Roberts


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