May 2020

Fish DVine

Activation 8/5/20: Assist member in a spot of bother

It was a little after 18:00 and I (Ryan) had just sat down to plan my evening’s ‘Iso Activity’…some quality TV viewing. Suddenly the phone rang. It was Bill, our 24/7 emergency phone holder who was calling with a quick job.

A member was having some engine issues with his 4.5m tinny just off Pioneer Point so Bill and I had a quick discussion about the conditions and decided Whale Song VMR2 would be the ideal vessel for the task. Anyway, it all sounded more interesting than the TV option so I grabbed the keys and headed out.

It was a quick trip to Coral Sea Marina where I met crew-member Shane who literally followed me down the ramp. It was a textbook activation. We first called the troubled vessel and got some location details. Once we were in the vicinity we found them right where they said they’d be…perfect.

Next was just the standard paperwork and we were quickly under tow back to the VMR ramp. VMR2 made positioning the tinny easy onto the finger, where we left the nice people who were very thankful for our help.

Back on the pontoon, refuelled and shutdown all by 20:30. Quick, safe and easy job with the right equipment and Shane’s very professional assistance. Now…back to the TV.

Skipper: Ryan Cunningham
Crew: Shane Gosling

ACTIVATION 10/5/20: Assist family on an 8.5 mtr cruiser

It was 17:50 on Sunday evening and as I watched the sun going down over Pioneer Bay, I (Ryan) was reflecting on how quiet the weekend had been. Aaah….the serenity. And then my phone went off with the alarm ring tone that told me that life was not so serene for somebody else! It was pretty unlikely that Bill Harrison (our 24/7 phone holder) was just calling to say “Hi”.

After a brief conversation with Bill and with all the details in my head I drove quickly (but within legal limits) to Coral Sea Marina VMR where the pre-start checks on the boat were already underway thanks to Ron, Ken, Paul and Tony.

Before setting out, we called the vessel in distress to find that a family on their 8.5mtr cruiser were having trouble with their electrics, and although safely at anchor they were pretty anxious to get the kids home. Their plotter was not working which made getting a position problematic, but they managed to give us a pretty good fix in Fitzalan Passage near Hamilton island.

Calm seas and a pleasant temperature made for a nice trip across to Fitzalan and although it was an extremely dark night as the moon hadn’t yet risen, we quickly found our family with help from the forward looking sonar. We spent some time sounding around the shallows to ensure we could safely take them in tow…but eventually we were ready to head for home.

With the usual paperwork completed, we were soon underway back to CSM. It was a speedy trip as VMR1 and the twin Cummins diesels easily managed to average around 16 knots all the way back to the leads. All we needed to do then was tie the family’s vessel alongside before making the last push onto the public jetty.

The kids seemed to be having a great time with the little adventure, but I think the parents were just happy to be back. We were all done and back in the pen by 21:30.

It’s worth saying that as Skipper, I never needed to move from my seat. My highly efficient crew made me look good!

Skipper: Ryan Cunningham
Crew: Ron McCall, Ken Bryce, Paul Martin, Tony McNeil


Activation 11/5/20: Flare sighting south of Hayman

It was 22:40 and I (Geoff S) was right in the middle of a yawn when the phone rang. It was Bill…our 24hr emergency phone holder, calling to say that an orange flare had been sighted in the Stonehaven anchorage, towards Langford, and the police would like us to have a look round. Oh well, sleep is over-rated anyway.

The conditions were almost perfect out on the water with winds 15kts SE, slight seas and half a moon that only got lost a few times behind a bit of cloud.

We arrived off Langford at 23.55 and called Hayman Security who had reported the flare sighting, to get a better idea of where to look. Security advised us that the Resort Manager was our witness but unfortunately, we couldn’t contact him so it was left up to us to guess where to start searching.

Where to begin? I had a brief discussion with the crew and we tossed around some ideas. “The Target could be aground somewhere?” “It could be a medical emergency?” “The wind is from the SE so if they are drifting, we should find them on a south facing shore or reef?”

All guesswork however we headed off along the shorelines with all lights blazing, paying particular attention to any southern reefs. Unfortunately we could find nothing. We tried an all ships call on 16 and 82, also with no response. At 01.25 we called the Police for further instructions and were told, “thank you, time to go home”. Chatting on the way back we surmised that as it was an orange ‘flare’ it was quite possibly a meteorite or space junk…who knows?

Anyway, we got back to Coral Sea Marina at 02.10 and after a washdown and the paperwork, we headed for home. Thanks to a great crew. After all the effort a false alarm is naturally disappointing, but the upside is, nobody was hurt.

Crew: Michel del Aguila, Sam Collins (Comms), Shane Newell
Skipper: Geoff Smith


Activation 24/5/20: Assist 29′ yacht run aground

After yet another quiet weekend, I (Ryan) had not long gone to sleep when the alarm ringtone on my phone sounded. Groggily I grabbed the phone after first glancing at the clock…it was 23:00 and I’d been asleep for a whole 45 minutes.

Celia (our 24 hr phone holder) quickly explained that we had an urgent job and she needed a crew to get ready whilst she finished getting all the details from the Police. I tried my best to get out of it as I had an early start for work the next day but Celia can be convincing.😋

No traffic on the way to the marina so it was a quick trip, and we had Coral Sea Marina VMR1 all ready to rock ‘n’roll in a speedy manner. Just in time for the update phone call with all the info we needed – a 29’ yacht had ran aground reportably in Muddy Bay near the Mandalay mansion.

We wasted no time getting to scene but a quick search found nothing, however with some logical thinking, we moved into Funnel Bay which is where we noticed some mast head lights up near Pioneer West Point. We headed over to investigate.

On arrival we found a yacht nose first into the rock wall. Assuming this was our customer we launched the tender and motored over for a chat. They definitely needed some help so we got a towline to stern, and then with a careful tow into deeper water we were able to raft up along side for further investigations.

They had a dry bilge which is always a good sign after a big bump, so we towed our friend back to a mooring near CSM for an overnight stay, handing over the number for Hawke’s boat yard.

By 01:30 we were all done and dusted, and I headed home to get a couple of hours sleep before I needed to get up and go to work!

Crew: Ron McCall, Terry Clarke, Shane Newell
Skipper: Ryan Cunningham


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