December 2021

Activation 28/11/21: Rescue sinking 50 foot catamaran at Langford Reef with 6 POB.

It was Sunday morning 08:15, Christine and I (Ken) were discussing the days job list. Well, actually I was listening to an ever increasing work load on a Sunday morning. Saved by the emergency phone ringing. Oh what a great start to my day. Neil, one of our Radio operators was on the line. We have a 50 foot (15.24 metre) catamaran at Langford Reef it is rapidly taking on water with 6 POB. Okay, please call Shane, Terry and Paul B. Please let them know that the vessel is sinking.

By 08:35 we were all onboard heading out on Coral Sea Marina VMR1. I suggested to Shane (Senior Crew) to have both the engine driven pump and the 240 volt pump ready on deck for immediate deployment.

As we rounded Langford Island there were two catamarans. We had been given a name. As murphy would have it the second cat was the sinking vessel.
Although the name on her hull was not the name on the AIS. Not very helpful in an emergency.

Their starboard hull was taking water so I positioned VMR1 along side that hull. Our crew made short work of securing the vessel. I immediately jumped onboard to asses the situation which was rather tense. There were six people all very worried as the water was now rising above the cabin sole.
In the engine space the first place I looked the water was gushing in and disappearing into the hull. Into the hull I went. Yes, it was definitely going to sink. VMR crew were standing by with the engine driven pump primed and ready to go. I signalled where to pass the suction hose. This was via a small hatch about 250mm square. So only hands could be seen. With the suction in place we commenced pumping. It was soon realised that further action was required.

My crew then passed over the 240 volt pump which I dropped into the ever rising water. The outlet was then passed out the small hatch to a waiting pair of hands. I signalled to one of the cats crew to turn on their generator power. The pressure on the out let hose was too great for the hands that were holding it. The outlet with the spear came flying down the hatch to where I was standing, spraying me with water and scaring the hell out of me.

Apparently the securing hands belonged to a fourteen year old lad who did not expect the force of the water. Situation corrected as Terry took control on the deck. The water level was immediately dropping. I had the pleasure of reassuring the cats crew that we had the water under control. There were smiles all round.

We were discussing where we would tow this vessel. Due to it’s extreme width 28 feet (8.5 metres) it cannot be lifted at either boat yard. I was thinking of putting the pumps onboard the cat and towing it. Well that idea was changed immediately when their generator stopped working. My crew set about starting our generator and so we were now going to tow the cat along side VMR1 towards Coral Sea Marina. Meanwhile the charter company were purchasing water pumps so they could take over when we arrived. They would also give me instructions as to where they would like the vessel.

The trip home was uneventful with the VMR crew monitoring the pumps. The sea conditions were perfect. The track home was not a straight line as our 44 feet beam (13.3 metre) mainly on the Port side kept dragging us one way on the other.

Were we having fun? Absolutely. Any day you can save Six People and their vessel is a great day. 12:25 We were negotiating our way in the marina to G1. I was asked a question. “Can you put this cat stern first into this berth?” We have a great crew onboard, let`s do it.

While all this was going on we had been advised that VMR1 was required for an immediate medivac from Hayman Island. My crew and I were still buzzing from the previous activation. A medivac was just what the doctor ordered. 😁

Great work by all. Thankyou Neil for the updates along the way.

Crew: Shane Newell (Senior Crew), Paul Bloomfield (Comms) and Terry Clarke
Radio Base: Neil Cutten
Skipper: Ken Bryce


Activation 28/11/21: Medivac Hayman Island

During our busy morning with the sinking cat, we had a call to assist a Medivac from Hayman Island.

We departed in Coral Sea Marina VMR1 at 12:40 with a Paramedic onboard. The sea conditions were perfect.

Arriving at Hayman 13:30 we picked up the patient and a carer. 13:38 VMR1 headed for CSM arriving at 14:30. As usual we went to the Hayman berth to off load the Patient and Paramedic.
VMR 1 has done this a total of 107 times so far this year with out incident.

Thankyou to the crew on this long day 08:35 to 15:30

Crew: Shane Newell, Paul Bloomfield and Terry Clarke
Skipper: Ken Bryce


Activation 2/12/21: Midnight Medivac from Hamilton Island

A beautiful, balmy night was so rudely interrupted by the alert tone on my phone. Bill H, the emergency phone holder, greeted me with details of a Medivac from Hamilton Island, the ambulance officer will meet you at midnight.

Again I arrived at Coral Sea Marina VMR1 before the crew, quickly checking the tide chart I was less than pleased to note the night’s low tide was 0.28m. Preparing the vessel log and preparing the fly bridge occupied my time awaiting the crew. Soon enough the crew arrived and all checks were completed, minutes later the ambulance officer arrived, off we went into a very black night, the moon was a waning crescent and clearly not in sight, wind was absent for a change and the seas had reverted to a mill pond making for a very pleasant transit to Hamilton Island. With radar and plotter doing their job with customary accuracy I was confident of a safe passage.

We arrived at Hamilton Island in 67 minutes, loading of the patient and her assistant was quickly achieved, I was ready to depart. Word came from below another 5 to 10 minutes was required before departure, OK, cool your jets young fella. Shortly VMR1 pivoted from the berth and the return journey was on. It was still black as the insides of a cow (a strange saying as I have never explored the insides of a cow, oh well).

All went well, arrived at Coral Sea Marina, comfortable and intact at 0235hrs, discharged the passengers and refuelled. After a wash down, securing the vessel we were done by 0300hrs.

Many thanks to the crew:
Crew: Michel del Aguila (senior crew), Bill Hopton (comms) and Nathalie Hartman.
Skipper: Paul M


Activation 4/12/21: Tow broken down vessel from Hook Island.

Thanks Erifili, I’d had enough of whipper-snipping in the heat when the emergency phone ring-tone went off in my ear at 14.38. A VMR Whitsunday member had broken down in Maureen’s Cove on the Western Side of Hook Island, could we assist?

Certainly, but first some questions because it was a beautiful afternoon and I was hoping to take Whalesong VMR2 out. Yes, his vessel was only 3.8 metres long, the seas were slight and the breeze was light and he was the only passenger. Perfect.

So with crew of Michel and trainee Selina on board we set out for the Northern end of Hook Island, where the vessel actually was! Stopping briefly inside Langford Reef to pick up a floating plastic bag and change drivers to give Selina some steering practice, we continued and had our target in sight in quick time.

He was lightly attached to a dinghy mooring. Once swiftly briefed and the paperwork done it was time for connecting ‘Tom’s Hook’ and setting of for the return to Coral Sea Marina.

By the time we had him back at the boat ramp, refuelled VMR2 and put her back on her floating pontoon, finalized the paperwork and put the boat to bed it was 18.25.

Just in time for an emergency call from Bill who is our current 24 hour emergency phone holder.

URGENT from Whitsunday Water Police, a sinking vessel in Dent Passage, please attend, further details to come.

So, some more quick choices. Would my 2 current crew stay on for the next activation. Yes.

Which boat, VMR1 has more rescue gear, pumps and medivac status if it was needed, but we were 1 short on crew and no time, VMR2 was on the pontoon, but without equipment we might need.

Decision made, we go with Coral Sea Marina VMR1, lets make it quick, team.

During a rapid pre-start check more information came through. Vessel overturned, 2 passengers in the water, go fast.

“Cast of the breast lines and springs” was my call, then “ready at the bow and stern lines please crew”.

Then the phone call, ‘Stand Down’, a vessel had been raised on Hamilton Island and had done the pick-up. Excellent, as our travel time to the site would have been 60 minutes.

Right crew, lets lose some of the adrenaline and put this vessel back to bed.

Shut down, reattached lines and paperwork for the Stand Down done. Huge thanks to the crew, Michel and Selena. Your time and efforts are greatly appreciated and we couldn’t do it without you. Until next time, your skipper, Ron.

Crew: Michel del Aguila and Selena Brooks
Skipper: Ron Roberts


Activation 12/12/21: Dodging yachts during a Medivac to Hamilton Island.

Sunday morning, time to mow the yard and get ready for the visit by my granddaughter and great grandson, so excited; have not seen them in months, need to puppy proof the yard in preparation for Bonz, the boy’s puppy. Had just finished dressing for the job when Derek from the Radio room called “can you do a Medivac from Hamilton Island?” Yes, the yard can wait, it’s not that big!?!?

Off to Coral Sea Marina, fresh pants, high visibility shirt and salt stained shoes in tow. A few short minutes later arriving at the Marina, no ambulance, just checking, down to Coral Sea marina VMR1 to get ready. With a spring in my step, checking the flags for wind strength and direction, feeling good. Yes, beat the crew again. This may seem like a common thread, but having moved into town from Proserpine, it cut my drive by 18 minutes. Nobody waiting on me.

The crew arrived within the next 10 minutes, the Ambulance officer just a few minutes later, checks done, paperwork started and off we went. The tide was falling, the wind was once again in conflict with the tide. The ride over was surprisingly mild, our Noosa Cat sliced through the swell and chop beautifully. A couple of yachts were heading in our direction, one obviously needed to take a closer look at VMR1, or was simply enjoying running before the wind, either way we got out of her path. Rounding Pioneer Point we were able to identify the faint dot on the radar screen as a tinny, not having too much fun in the choppy sea, I guess the fishing was good!

Unsafe Passage was unoccupied and relatively calm, once through we turned to starboard and started the final leg of the outward journey to Hamilton Island. Another pair of yachts, both on a converging course with me, must be my day for yacht avoidance. The yacht on my starboard was now tracking slightly further to her port, perhaps I can pass between them, no, the remaining yacht decided to tack to his port, only one way to avoid a mess was a deliberate turn to port myself and leave the yachts to their play. Safely avoiding an embarrassment we proceeded to the dock. After a short conference amongst the assembled ambulance personnel, our patient, her companion and our ambulance officer boarded for the return journey.

A quick pirouette, yes, VMR 1 does dance, and we were on our way to Coral Sea Marina. The homeward journey was rather smooth as wind and tide were now in concert, adding an extra 2 knots to our speed, thank you. As we neared Pioneer Rocks yet another yacht was to pass across my bow, I had slowed in anticipation of this manoeuvre, only to see it tack and head back at me! Was I a target? Not likely, a little more pressure on the throttle and a swift departure was at hand, foiling their scheme!!

With a quick call to the Marina we asked if we may dock at L1 to discharge our patient, passenger and ambulance officer. We were next in line behind the Police vessel for the fuel dock, unfortunately they needed to fill both tanks, was to be a further 35 minute wait, nah, let’s see if we can go to pump1, yes! Thank you Jacque! A quick refuel, wash down and completion of paperwork, all done.

Well done by the crew. Many thanks for your combined efforts.

Crew: Senior – Ray Lewis, who tended the paperwork and passenger briefing while overseeing the crew. Comms – Paul Bloomfield, who kept me abreast of what was to happen, and Deck – Selina Brooks who kept a close watch for marauding yachts.
Skipper: Paul M


Activation 13/12/21: Medivac from Daydream Island

We got the call from QAS just before 1400, a medivac was required from Daydream Island. While I (Mal) made my way in to the boat, phone holder Bill put a crew together and we were ready to go at the requested time of 1430 after prestarts helping the paramedic cart his gear to the boat. Conditions were SE gusting up to 25 kts against a rising tide, so it was a bit bouncy but Coral Sea Maria VMR1 was more than up to the task, and we were alongside at Daydream by 1500.

35 minutes later, after the paramedic had assessed the patient, given him some pain relief and had him wheeled down to the boat we were on our way again. A bit less than full cruise mode to make the ride as comfortable as possible and to time our arrival after the Hayman ferry had cleared the berth we usually use for medivacs. We were cleared by the marina to go into the berth so we could help the paramedic stretcher his grateful patient up to the ambulance, and then it was over to the fuel berth.

By 1650 we had refuelled, gone back to our own berth, cleaned and secured the boat and finished the paperwork. Nice work by Ron, Selina and Steve, thanks folks. Our 110th medivac for the year, more than 50% more than 2020.

Crew: Ron McCall, Steven Brooks and Selina Brooks
Skipper: Mal Priday

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Activation 14/12/21: Medivac of a teenage girl from Hamilton Island (suffering a back problem due to a buggy rollover)

Our ever reliable 24/7 Phone holder was Bill Harrison (who made the initial contact at approx. 11.20 am.) Accompanying us today was a QAS Paramedic. The patients father travelled back with us (as her carer)

The activation took about 2 ½ hours (from 11.30 am till 2 pm) in great conditions. Many thanks to my team today for their time, skills and efforts.

Crew: Tony Bell (Comms for the day), Dave Richter (on helm, over and back)
and Debbie Simpson.
Skipper: Fin Forbes

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Activation 16/12/21: Tow 4.5m tinny from south end of North Molle Island.

Fishing trips sometimes don’t work out as we plan. The activation today was to help 2 guys (VMRW members) who left at dawn in their 4.5 m tinny to go fishing and only got to the south end of North Molle Island before their engine stopped making the right noise. Bill Harrison –24/7 Emergency Phone Holder, rang me (Fin) at 8.10am for today’s activation.

We left at 8.40 am and found the target vessel, took them in tow and had them dropped off at the CSM public jetty, and all our shutdown procedures done by 10.10 am.

The towed people were very appreciative of our assistance. Paul took them to collect their vehicle and trailer from Port of Airlie.

Thanks to the crew for a job well done – as always. Good crew make things look easy.

Crew: Shane Newell (Snr Crew), Dave Richter (Crew) and Paul Bloomfield (acting as Comms today)
Skipper: Fin Forbes

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Activation 16/12/21: Medivac from Hamilton Island for baby with a head injury.

This Medivac activation from Hamilton Island involved a lot of young people. The patient, a charming little baby (with a head injury), and the young parents, travelled back with us on Coral Sea Marina VMR1. The combined age of the parents and patient would have been less than mine alone. We also had one Paramedic onboard.

My team, on the boat, had a combined age of less than 100 – I regularly go out where the combined age of just 3 of the crew, is over 200. Tonights team was Michael, Selina, Tim and Laura.

These young team members are an absolute asset to VMRW and also to our community in general. They are prepared to volunteer their time and skills (and a desire to learn more) to help our community at any time of the day and night – even though they have many other commitments. They also were a delight to have on board – They are enthusiastic, skilled and obliging – and it was noticed that they also were capable of anticipating what is needed to be done – before I even asked – not always seen in many people. I would happily have any, or all of them, on any future activation. Thank you each and every one of you. Great news for VMRW and its future. New, young, active members are our future!

Bill Harrison (forever young) as 24/7 Emergency Phone Holder and SARCO, was the organiser of the this activation. Thanks again Bill.

The parents of the infant patient expressed their sincere appreciation for the service that we provided.

The activation took place between 8.30pm and 11.15 pm.

Crew: Michael McQueeney, Selina Brooks (Comms), Tim Pugh and Laura Oates (who was on her first activation).
Skipper: Fin Forbes

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SAR Activation 16/12/21: Late night Search and Rescue for a broken down tinny with one POB, near Pigeon Island.

I had gone to bed early as the cricket was finished. I was woken by my emergency phone ringing. It was Bill one of our emergency phone holders.
I thought it was morning, it was only 23:15. We have a search and rescue near Pigeon island. A lone frightened female in a broken down tinny.
Okay, this is a job for Whale Song VMR2. A fast response crew was required. Bill organised the crew while I headed to VMR2 to get her ready. I met Bill H. at the marina gate. Perfect timing we would perform the start up procedures together. David our final crew member was on the scene moments later.

23:45 we were underway towards Pigeon island. We stopped there to talk to the Police re the latest position of our target. Apparently, she could see Cannonvale Beach. Well, there was nothing that we could see in that area. Bill then contacted our target via SMS (her phone battery was nearly flat).
“Can you see our Yellow flashing light?” “Yes, however it was a long way off.” Do you have any lights and are they on?” “Yes, I have a white light.”

So we scanned the area. There in the distance, North of ‘Northerlies’ was a faint white light. I told Bill to tell her to turn off her light and then back on. Bingo! We have our target in sight.

Moments later we were along side the tinny which had shipped considerable water. I did not have to ask twice if the young lady would like to board VMR2. She scrambled aboard and donned a life jacket provided by David. Interesting that there was a life jacket in the bottom of her vessel. She was so frightened and yet had not put on her life jacket. 00:20 we had the vessel in tow, heading to the public dock near the Water Police. When we were slowing to enter CSM our guest said this is not where I want to go! Wrong marina and wrong Police station. So back to the dock near the VMR base. Foreign languages are not our specialty.

However it all ended well, with the young lady being most appreciative.
The vessel was purchased the prior day and was expected that everything would run perfectly. 01:30 VMR2 was refuelled and we were ready for bed.
A nice out come on what could have ended badly.

Thankyou to the ever vigilant crew

Crew: Bill Hopton and David Richter
Skipper: Ken Bryce

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Activation 17/12/21: Medivac from Hamilton Island

As fortune would have it Chloe was sleeping at my feet, having been fed just an hour before, her slumber cruelly vanished as the alert tone on my phone shrilled… Bill, our phone holder, asked if I would take a Medivac from Hamilton Island. I have yet to refuse a request for an activation, so off I go. Chloe glanced with mild distain as I donned my clobber, she returned to her bed and commenced snoring.

Arriving at Coral Sea Marina I was met by Paul, then in quick succession Tony and Debbie. To my surprise the Paramedics arrived within minutes. Off we go for another adventure on the not so high seas. Our transit was not assisted in any way by the wind, blowing 10 – 20 knots on a falling tide, seas were choppy, but we maintained a decent 22 knots for the run. Tony and I discussed the Covid Standing Operation Procedure as we neared Hamilton Island, alerted by the fact that our paramedics were wearing masks and gloves. (I checked with the paramedics regarding the patient’s vaccination status, all was ok. QAS have mandated masks and gloves for all personnel working with patients). We were issued masks. I ensured that none of the crew were to be within 2m of the patients, thus the ships log and activation folders were moved to the fly bridge, to remove the need for crew to be in the saloon section of VMR1.

The paramedics ascertained the vaccination status of our patients; the paramedics and patients were to remain in the saloon, as detailed in our passenger briefing, done by Debbie.

Once lines were released all crew were restricted to the fly bridge. My duty as skipper is to ensure the health and safety of the crew and safe transport of both paramedics and patients. The tide was now rising, the wind at our backs gave us a pleasant ride and an extra 2 knots of speed. We arrived back at Coral sea marina, the paramedics had another crew greet us at the dock. One patient was placed on a stretcher, the other lad was ambulatory, all made their way safely to the waiting ambulances. One of the patients wanted to say thanks to the “sailors”. Unsurprisingly she thought us “sailors”, as we were more like ghosts, appearing briefly to secure the vessel against the dock, then to scamper away, out of sight as the patients were alighting.

We completed the refuelling, paperwork and wash down with ease, all was good.

Many thanks to the crew. Once again the crew saved the day when docking as no matter where we went the wind was attempting to blow us off our intended mooring spot.

Crew: Senior crew-Tony Bell, who did an outstanding job organising the deck crew from the fly bridge and passing on my wishes to the crew, Comms-shared by Paul Bloomfield and Debbie Simpson. All communications were deftly handled.
Skipper: Paul M

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Activation 17/12/21: Police Search And Rescue activation to assist a vessel reported to be sinking between Hayman Island and Bait Reef, on the edge of the shipping channel.

When I put myself down for night roster skipper I thought we might get another medivac, not a potentially life-threatening activation to respond to an EPIRB 32 miles from Airlie Beach. The Water Police called a bit after 8:00 pm, just as I was about to serve dinner. A 30 ft power vessel had hit something and was sinking, 3 pob. A vessel from Hayman Island had gone to assist, but could we get ready to go asap. Oh, by the way, the location was potentially within a 5 mile radius of the location being picked up by the Rescue Centre in Canberra! While I made my way to the boat, phone holder Bill chased up the rest of the crew. After checking with the Water Police that we were still required, Coral Sea Marina VMR1 was under way at 2050 for what looked like a 32 mile trip to the waypoint.

On the way we were discussing the possibility of looking for 3 people in the water at night within 5 miles of the last reported position – not a nice prospect. In fast mode and in 20-25 knots of SE wind we listened to Whitsunday VTS talking to the target boat and the Hayman boat, and it sounded like the boat was still afloat and slowly getting closer to Hayman either under its own power or alongside the other boat, albeit at much reduced speed to minimise the inflow of water. By this time the AMSA jet from Cairns was nearing the scene as well. We came up on the target at 2135 just on the other side of the Narrows between Hayman and Hook Islands, and it was making its own way back with buckets of water going over the side at regular intervals. After a quick radio call they said that they were okay to keep going and did not want to stop to allow us to transfer our portable pump, so we escorted them safely in to the marina at Hayman and the trailer waiting for them on the boat ramp, at 2200. On the way the jet asked us to have them turn off their EPIRB and that was done in between bucketing, and the jet was stood down and returned to Cairns.

A quick inspection of the boat showed an impact on the starboard side on the chine that had sprung and a crack in the bottom of the hull nearby – no, it was not coral, no scrapes, just an impact with something in the water. Even with the boat sitting on the trailer the bilge pump was still pumping big jets of water out the port side, and that continued for quite a few minutes.

After getting some details for the Water Police and confirming that there was no debris or pollution to worry about, we hopped back on VMR1 for the return trip to Airlie (a fair bit slower than the trip out due to pretty rolly conditions) to refuel, go back to our own berth, clean and secure the boat and finish the paperwork, finally stepping off at 2355 for a return home and some well-earned rest.

A better outcome than we had feared, and the usual great job by the crew.

Crew: Ron McCall, Bill Hopton, Selina Brooks
Skipper: Mal Priday

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Activation 23/12/21: Medivac to Hamilton Island.

We live in Paradise. Today is ‘Whitsunday Perfect’ in every way, to do anything – Even the water is like a millpond – so why not go out with a few of the ‘boys’ and do a Medivac from Hamilton Island for QAS to bring a female patient back to the mainland for treatment.

The team chosen today by Bill Harrison (our Emergency Phone Holder and SARCO) were Ron McCall (Snr Crew and helmsman going over), Ray Lewis (Comms for the day), and Terry Clarke (crewman and helmsman coming back) – All skilled and obliging to boot – Thanks heaps fellas.

All Covid requirements were adhered to – including all crew with ‘the tick’, establishing the Covid status of the patient, maintaining distancing (all crew remained on the flybridge while the patient was aboard) and all relevant areas were wiped down with the appropriate chemicals as part of the shutdown procedures.

The task took 2 ½ hours to safely complete (from 7.40 am till 10.10 am)

Crew: Ron McCall, Ray Lewis, Terry Clarke.
Skipper: Fin Forbes

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Activation 23/12/21: 16’ plate boat out of fuel 12.6 miles North of Double Cone.

Our 24 hr Emergency Phone Holder, Bill, called at 16.20 for a member tow from north of the Cones. The member had been out to the reef and, despite carrying extra fuel, and doing the trip before, had run out of fuel.

The conditions were perfect as we left CSM at 16.45 and we found our target where he said he was at 17.26. Paperwork done and off to Muddy Bay ramp arriving at 18.27. Then back to CSM to refuel then to the pen for a tidy and wash down.

Debbie was comms and Tony and Michel were Snr crew. Thanks to a competent crew we had a very pleasant afternoon on the water.

Crew: Tony Bell, Michel Del Aguila, Debbie Simpson.
Skipper: Geoff Smith.

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Activation 24/12/21: Hamilton Island Medivac.

Bill, our 24 hr Emergency Phone Holder, the man we love to hear from, called at 11.28 with a Hamilton Island Medivac. No rush as the Paramedic didn’t come on duty till 12.00. I arrived and Tony was coaching Laura through the start up checks. Laura was elected comms. Ron turned up shortly afterwards and volunteered to wait in the Car Park for the Paramedic.

We got away at 12.25 in perfect conditions again. We left our Paramedic in the cabin whilst the crew adjourned to the flybridge, so Ron and Tony coached Laura through the comms job as we headed towards Hammo, arriving at 13.25. We cleared Hammo and after checking with Shane at CSM 14.40. We used L1 to drop off, as our patient was quite unsteady and needed the stretcher. Tony helped the Paramedic to the Ambulance whilst we headed to the fuel dock. Then back in the pen for a washdown and paperwork.
Thanks to everyone for another lovely afternoon.

Crew: Ron McCall, Tony Bell, Laura Oats.
Skipper: Geoff Smith.

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Activation 26/12/21: “T’was the night after Christmas and 30 above…” Then…a Medivac from Hamilton Island.

This activation was a routine, night time Medivac for QAS from Hamilton Island involving a female patient, her carer, a Paramedic and our VMRW team on Coral Sea Marina VMR1.

My team consisted of; Bill Harrison (SARCO and 24/7 Emergency Phone Holder – who ‘apologetically’ made contact at 1.15am) 😊, Michel (Snr Crew), Ray(Comms) and Paul B (very capable trainee and tonight’s helmsman over and back).

Thanks heaps fellas – your professionalism and skills engender total confidence – and ensures a relaxed, safe trip for everyone. Can’t get any better than that.

The activation took 2½ hours (from 1.45 am till 4.15 am) from departing CSM, till returning and leaving the boat at its berth, after all necessary shut down procedures were completed.

Crew: Michel del Aguila, Ray Lewis, Paul Bloomfield
Skipper: Fin Forbes

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Activation 27/12/21: Vessel sinking north of Hayman.

Bill, the 24 hr Emergency Phone holder called at 16.00. The police had activated us to attend a vessel several miles North of Hayman which was sinking. A Helicopter and fixed wing were also on the way. All the crew arrived at the same time, and we were underway by 16.25. A great effort by our highly motivated crew.

We were only 15mins out from CSM when we were stood down. The target vessel wasn’t sinking after all. Very fortunately, the Cruise Whitsundays vessel Sea Flight was returning from the reef and had stopped to assist. The target apparently had a leak from their bait box into the main hull which, was interpreted as something catastrophic. The Water Police thought they may have a chat with them on their return to Airlie.

Thanks to a great crew who accepted the stand down with good humour but mostly for the professional way they got us on our way in only 10 mins.

Crew: Michel DelAguila, Tony Bell, Laura Oats.
Skipper: Geoff Smith.

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Activation 29/12/21: Medivac from Hamilton Island

It was a very wet start to the morning, and I will admit that I was still in bed when 24/7 phone Holder Bill rang just after 0700 to advise me that we had been asked to do a medivac from Hamilton Island. He put together a crew while I was on the way in. After prestart checks and boarding the two paramedics, Coral Sea Marina VMR1 was on its way at 0740 in about 10 knots of E/NE wind and a surprising amount of SE swell, with quite restricted visibility in the rain.

By 0840 we were alongside our usual berth, and shortly after we were on our way back to CSM with our patient and her carer. The rain had eased and the wind had shifted a bit to the south, so it was reasonably comfortable for the return journey. We discharged the paramedics and their patient and her carer at 0940 before refuelling, returning to our own berth, and cleaning and securing VMR1 before we stepped off at 1010 and headed home for some breakfast.

Nice work by Ray and Michel, it was a pretty easy activation for our 117th medivac of the year, almost double the 2020 rate.

Crew: Ray Lewis, Michel del Aguila
Skipper: Mal Priday

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