July 2021


Activation 02/7/2021: Early (very) morning medivac for patient with badly broken arm and other injuries – and the wedding is probably off for a while!

Luckily I had gone to bed a bit earlier than normal as 24/7 phone holder Ray triggered the Help ringtone at 1:10 in the morning. A male had broken his arm and suffered other injuries in a buggy crash on Hamilton Island, and required evacuation. Five minutes later I was on my way in to the boat, and after the crew had prepped the boat for night operation we took Coral Sea Marina VMR1 across to pick up the paramedics who had already brought their stretcher down to the dock, so there was no doubt about the state of the patient.

We left at 0200 on a rising tide and into 13-17 knots of ESE wind. There was rain about, but not where we were. After transiting Unsafe Passage the trip across Whitsunday Passage was a bit choppy, but nothing untoward. By 0255 we were tied up at Hamilton. After waiting a few minutes for the ambulance, the patient (obviously in considerable pain) was carefully transferred to our onboard stretcher using a clever QAS two piece backboard and some careful manoeuvring by the crew and paramedics, and with his fiancée also on board we left Hamilton at 0325.

The return trip was at a somewhat reduced speed of 19-23 knots in deference to the comfort of our patient, but we had him back at Coral Sea Marina at 0425. After helping to transfer him to the paramedics stretcher on the dock we moved to refuel, then back to our own berth for the washdown and paperwork, finishing around 05:00. Thank you crew, nice one.

PS: The patient was due to be married on Sunday, but that may not happen this week. We wish him and his fiancée all the best for the future.

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

Activation 3/7/2021: Jet ski broken down. It pays to be a member.

It was Saturday afternoon around 16:00 when my emergency phone was ringing.
Dave from the radio room was on the line. “We have a jet ski broken down, one POB, Non member.”

Their position was down past Long island out in the channel. “Ok, I am on my way, please organise a crew we will take Coral Sea Marina VMR 1”.
As Michel and I (Ken) arrived at VMR1, Shane was already on board going through the start up procedures. We were soon on our way. The conditions were quite good although a little bumpy.

17:15 Shane called the jet ski for an updated position. He was further down the channel and could see our lights. Within two minutes we had a visual on a bright yellow jet ski. We pulled along side with Michel securing the tow line while Shane commenced the paper work.

Shane asked the operator if he had shut off the water flow to the jet ski. “No”, was the answer. The operator was made aware of the damage that would occur if we towed him at greater than 7 knots. He then placed a vice grip in the engine room and said he was happy for us to proceed at speed. we were then on our way to the Port of Airlie marina.

Conditions were better in this direction. It was now getting dark. Towing this ski with no lights would not be good, so Shane was tasked to keep the ski illuminated. We were soon at our destination.

We then headed for Coral Sea Marina fuel dock and then home to our berth. By the time we washed down completed the paper work it was 19:15.

Thankyou to the crew for being there.

Crew: Michel del Aguila, Shane Newell
Skipper: Ken Bryce

Activation 4/7/2021: Medivac from Hamilton Island.

Ray, the 24 hr Emergency Phone Holder, called me at 23.43. A male had had a fall and needed transport to the mainland. Ray and I (Geoff) met in the car park and headed to Coral Sea Marina VMR1. Ray was giving Shane, who had been out that afternoon, a rest. Grant was already on board and getting us ready for sea. I returned to my car to get my rain jacket, met up with the Paramedic and gave him a hand back to the boat with his gear.

Soon enough we were organised and departed at 00.30 at the bottom of the tide with a 20 knot S’easter, overcast with little sign of the threatening rain, so very dark but clear. We arrived at Hammo after a bit of a bumpy trip and were met by our patient and attendees. A conference between the Paramedics and then a transfer to our Stryker stretcher had the patient secured for the trip home.

A slightly smoother return trip had us alongside at 02.40. We had a slight delay whist another Paramedic arrived to help get our patient to Proserpine. Then off to refuel and back to the pen by 03.30. A quick wash down for VMR1 and the stretcher, then off home for a couple of hours sleep.

Thanks to a great crew for a safe trip and willingly giving their time to help others.

Crew: Ray Lewis (comms, SARCO, Emergency Phone Holder) and Grant Ford,
Skipper: Geoff Smith.

Activation 5/7/2021: Medivac From Hayman Island

Bill (the emergency phone holder) called at 09.18 with a medivac trip to Hayman. When I arrived, everyone was sitting expectantly, with the engines running, so we departed promptly at 09.53. The tide was well into the ebb, and it was gusting mid 20’s from the SSE setting up a nice, lumpy, beam sea.

We got to Hayman at 10.50 and were able to set off for the return at 11.02. Our patient was up front, sitting in the suspension seat and looking comfy. As you can imagine, the trip home was a little bumpier so limited our speed a little, but we still docked at CSM at 11.55.

There was a wait for a fuel berth as (reputedly) Clive Palmers boat was taking a little space whilst re-fuelling. We eventually got on the inside of pump 7 at 12.15. Back to the pen for a good wash down and off home for lunch at 12.45. Thanks crew, and medic Chris, for a good safe trip.

Crew: Michel DelAguila Snr, Terry Clarke Comms, Stewart Scarborough,
Skipper : Geoff Smith.

Activation 5/7/2021: Hamilton Island Medivac

Bill (as 24/7 Emergency Phone Holder and SARCO) phoned at 5.10pm. He had organised VMRW to assist QAS with a Medivac from Hamilton Island. My thanks to Bill for doing this vital time consuming job.

We left CSM on Coral Sea Marina VMR1 at 5.40pm with 2 Paramedics on board and on arrival in Hamilton Island Marina, had the patient transferred to VMR1 and immediately began our return to CSM.

Once arriving back at CSM, we unloaded the patient and Ambos and then completed all necessary procedures before leaving the boat in its berth at 8.10pm.

My thanks to the crew on a job well done.

Crew: Ron Roberts, Grant Ford
Skipper: Fin Forbes

Activation 6/7/2021: Drifting Jetski towing an inflatable ring, 4 pob.

One of our long-suffering Emergency Phone Holders, Bill, called at 16.42. A Jetski towing an inflatable ring had managed to get his towrope sucked into the Jetski jet intake. So, everything stopped, and they started drifting and were about a mile from Whisper Bay ramp.

I (Geoff) got to Whalesong VMR2 at 17.00 with Shane a minute in front of me. Luckily, Shane knows VMR2 better than I, so we got the checks done and were on our way. 10 mins later we were alongside our target. Very little wind or tide meant they had stayed roughly in position, and we were able to transfer mum and one of the children onto VMR2. As the conditions were almost perfect, we started towards the ramp with the Jetski alongside whilst Shane went through the paperwork with Dad.

We dropped the Jetski, inflatable toy and a grateful Mum, Dad and 2 boys off on the ramp finger and returned to CSM. Shane finished the paperwork whilst I tried to remember how to put the boat to bed and we got away at 18.00. Thanks Shane, you did all the work.

Crew: Shane Newell
Skipper: Geoff Smith

Activation 7/7/2021: Medivac from Hamilton Island – suspected marine stinger involvement.

Clear skies, cool and windy, and I (Ron) get to do a daylight run To Hamilton Island for a medivac. A young lad with suspected marine stinger involvement, lots of pain.

Ray phoned at 11.00 and Coral Sea Marina VMR 1 with crew and paramedic aboard departed Coral Sea Marina at 11.40. A lumpy sea with 20 plus knots of headwind against a big tide slowing us down a little. Then the wait in line at the entrance to Hamilton Island Marina, they are almost at peak capacity this time of year.

Once inside, a waving paramedic on the dock alerted us to our changed berthing position, and our patient. With the boarding of the young lad and his mother, we were asked for a smooth ride back to base, okay so the long way home through Unsafe Passage, no problem. Bill H drove most of the way, and did a sterling job.

With patient and carers ashore, paperwork and washdown complete, we were in the carpark and heading back to our respective jobs by 14.00. Thank you to the crew of Bill H. Tony B. And Lance R. For another job well done.
Until next time, your

Crew: Bill Hopton, Tony Bell and Lance Robins
Skipper: Ron Roberts

Activation 9/7/2021: Broken down 6.5 metre Quintrex.

I (Ken) had just arrived home from VMR maintenance when my emergency phone was ringing. Ray, one of our 24 hour emergency phone holders was on the line. “We have a 6.5 metre Quintrex 5 POB broken down near Firth Rock, can you assist?” Ok, organise the crew and ask Paul to pick me up.

When we arrived at Coral Sea Marina VMR1, Ray was there with the engines warming. Terry and Paul cast off the lines and we were soon underway. With Ray on the helm and the crew plotting the approximate position of our target we were soon up to speed.

At 15:25 Ray spotted the target vessel. We were along side moments later. The target vessel had spun the propeller and was able to make very slow progress under their own power. We took the crew (family) except skipper on board VMR1. With the paperwork completed we were off to Coral Sea Marina.

By 16:55 we had transferred our passengers back to their vessel and left them secured to the dock. Terry took one family member to Whisper bay to retrieve their trailer. The tide was extremely low, so VMR 1 could not go there. Thankyou to the crew,a nice professional activation.

Crew: Paul Martin, Terry Clarke and Ray Lewis
Skipper: Ken Bryce

Activation 11/7/2021: Medivac from Hamilton Island, early evening for a change

24/7 phone holder Ray called just after 1815 for a medivac from Hamilton Island. Half an hour later Coral Sea Marina VMR1 had the paramedic on board and with all prestarts completed we set off for what the paramedic said needed to be a quicker trip than usual for a patient that had apparently experienced aneurisms. With the tide coming in against a south-easterly of around 20 knots, it made for a jiggly ride across the Passage, but we were able to maintain 26 knots for most of the way.

There was a vessel parked in our usual pick up spot, so at 1945 we tied up at the fuel dock and waited a few minutes for our patient, starting the return trip at 2010 at a more sedate pace with her comfort in mind.

By 2110 we had disembarked our passengers, and by the time we refuelled and put VMR1 to bed it was 2145 before we headed home. Thanks to the crew for the usual job well done.

Crew: Michel del Aguila, Dave Richter, Grant Ford
Skipper: Mal Priday

Activation 13/7/2021: Medivac from Hamilton Island for a guest that had suffered a fall, with head injuries.

24/7 Phone holder Ray called at 2225, just after I had hit the sack. “Okay, on my way”. The crew had Coral Sea Marina VMR1 nearly ready to go when I got there, and after the final prep was done we moved to L arm to pick up the paramedic. By 2300 we were on our way, SE wind of 13-17 knots and a tide approaching its top. A very dark and chilly night (well, for the tropics anyway!) and after a quick trip across the Passage we tied up at the fuel dock – there was a vessel on our usual pickup arm again – just before midnight.

By 0005 we were on our way back to Airlie and an hour later had discharged our patient and his companion and the paramedic before moving to the fuel dock. By 0130 VMR1 was refuelled, was back in her temporary berth, and had been washed down and cleaned, ready for the next job. Thanks to the crew as usual, but I did not know that I would be on the next job 24 hours later!

Crew: Ray Lewis, Grant Ford, David Spiteri
Skipper: Mal Priday


Activation 14/7/2021: Medivac from Hamilton Island for a guest that had suffered a fall down a set of stairs, with head injuries that were of concern – but wait, there is another patient as well!

I (Mal) managed about 3 hours sleep after the previous night’s medivac, before the Help ringtone went off at 0108 for another medivac from Hamilton. This time for a female guest that had tumbled down a set of stairs. Head injuries can be very serious. We had loaded our two paramedics and were on our way by 0145. No wind at Hamilton according to BOM, but a bit of a northerly in Pioneer Bay and until we moved down the Molle Channel. We had been advised by the paramedics that a quicker trip that usual would be good, so Coral Sea Marina VMR1 was in fast cruise mode and 27 knots at 3000 rpm all the way to Hamilton for a 50 minute trip (usually near an hour) in near perfect conditions, apart from being pitch black with patches of misty rain.

We tied up at the fuel dock and waited for our patient to arrive and be stretchered down to the boat. We helped her down and onto our QAS stretcher and the paramedics got to work stabilising her and making her comfortable.

We were just about ready to leave when another patient popped up – the security guard had apparently fallen down the steps as he was helping to move the patient to the ambulance and had possibly fractured his wrist! Another delay while he was assessed and fitted with a temporary splint and plugged in for medication, then we were finally under way again with Shane on the helm.

0433 saw us at L arm to discharge the patients after retrieving the ambo’s stretcher, then to the fuel dock, before returning to our berth for the washdown and paperwork. Finally stepping off at 0520 before heading home for some shuteye. A long activation, well done to the crew. Like me, Grant was backing up from the previous night.

Crew: Shane Newell, Dave Richter, Grant Ford
Skipper: Mal Priday


Activation 15/7/2021: Start of a busy afternoon – first a breakdown at Apostle Bay with 7 POB.

It was around 12.15pm on Thursday, I (Ken) was in the Proserpine Hospital at the Fracture Clinic having an X-Ray when the VMR Rescue phone was ringing. It was Roger, our overworked Secretary and 24 hour phone holder. “We have a vessel in Apostle Bay with total electrical failure. Can you assist?”

“Yes, I will be approximately 45 mins as I was waiting for the Doctors Report. Please, gather a crew, I will be as quick as I can.”

With that I asked if it was possible to see the Doctor immediately as I had an emergency call-out. Two minutes later the Doctor was viewing the results of my X-Ray and sent me on my way. I made calls to the scheduled crew, to advise of my anticipated time of arrival, so everything on Coral Sea Marina VMR1 would be ready for our departure.

We departed Coral Sea Marina at 13.30 en-route to Apostle Bay on Whitsunday Island. The crew plotted the position. Minutes later we had an updated position of our target vessel. Now they are apparently In Saba Bay on Hook Island. These positions are approximately 7 n-miles apart. Will we actually find the target in Saba Bay?

We go through Hook Passage and turn north. At 14.30 we had the target vessel, deep in Saba Bay with 7 POB. I pulled alongside and the crew set about the paper work.

Soon after we had the vessel in tow. We were towing at 9 knots. I had Paul (our Senior Crew) calculate our ETA at Coral Sea Marina. This was important as it was a VMR Training Night and we had a number of crew awaiting the 16.30 commencement.

I called Shane at CSM, to explain we would be late and could he take charge of the awaiting crew. Meanwhile we pressed on with our tow. Conditions were very good. Going through Hook Passage we had the current against us and the speed dropped to 7 knots. I immediately applied more throttle and VMR 1 responded and we were back on our target 9 knots.

17.20 saw us placing our target vessel stern first in their pen. It was a very tight manoeuvre as there was a catamaran sharing the pen. Slowly, slowly is the name of the game.

All done. Many thanks from our target vessel. A big thankyou to my crew. All tasks and there were many, well done.

VMR 1 was off to collect our training crew waiting at the dock.

Crew: Paul Martin (Senior Crew), Terry Clarke (Comms) & Tony Bell
Skipper: Ken Bryce


Activation 15/7/2021: “Hang on a minute!” Another activation.

“Hang on a minute!” My emergency phone was ringing. Yes! Another activation. This time to Whitsunday Passage, a break-down, 2 POB.

After swapping some of our crew, we headed off again in Coral Sea Marina VMR1 at 17.25.

As it was “Pumps Training” I decided to have the crew get all of our pumping equipment ready for the rescue as the target vessel was taking on water. (This was actually a little white lie). However, it had the desired effect. The crew shot into action and everything was in place ready to save the sinking vessel.

We were soon alongside the target vessel. The crew immediately asking the target skipper where the water was coming in.

He said “I am broken down, not sinking”. Lucky I was up on the bridge as they realised I had put them through the training exercise with them believing it was real. They all agreed, after putting my “parentage in question” it was the best exercise they had done.

Now to the paperwork, gentlemen.

By 18.15 we were on our way to Port of Airlie at 20 knots. When we arrived, it was a very precarious approach to the public ramp as it was extremely shallow, (the bottom of the tide).

Using a sling shot method, our target was cast off towards the dock and VMR 1 going for deeper water, next to “Sea Flight”.

We were soon back at the fuel dock and by 20.00 were all cleaned up and ready for home. A big thank you to all the crew

Crew: Paul Martin, Shane Newell, Michel Del Aguila , James Roberts, David Spiteri & Grant Ford
Skipper: Ken Bryce


Activation 19/7/2021: Breakdown and tow from near Double Cone for Non Member

It was 07:20 when I (Ken) was just getting ready for a morning training session on Coral Sea Marina VMR 1. The emergency phone was ringing.
It was Roger, secretary/ 24 hour phone holder/ fund raiser/ etc…
We have an activation near Double Cone. Do you have time to fit this in, before training. “Ok, Shane is helping me at training. Would you ask him to meet me at VMR 2. I will advise the trainees to stand by at VMR1 for our return.”

We departed Coral Sea Marina and the sea conditions were fabulous. Whale Song VMR 2 was dashing across the water in search of our target vessel. Roger with a birds eye view from land, was on the phone to Shane, giving directions. This was a great help spotting the 6m grey vessel from our low position.

By 08:00 we were along side to commence the paperwork for this Non member. The owner asked how do I become a member? Go online, http://www.vmrwhitsundays.com.au
However you are too late for this tow.

Shane hooked up the tow and we were off to Coral Sea Marina boat ramp. Whale Song VMR 2 did a great job. We had the towed vessel at 20 knots in these relatively flat conditions arriving at 08:40. We then headed to our floating dock and then we joined the waiting trainees. A great rather fresh start to the day . Thankyou Shane, good job as usual.

Crew: Shane Newell
Skipper: Ken Bryce


Activation 19/7/2021: Hamilton Island Medivac – not just one but a second patient as well.

Roger (as 24/7 Phone Holder) rang me (Fin) to set up a crew for a medivac (possible broken back) from Hamilton Island for QAS. He rang again at 3.56 to confirm it was on.

Paul (Snr Crewman), Grant (acting as Comms officer for this activation), Debbie Simpson (as crew), a Paramedic and myself left CSM on Coral Sea Marina VMR1, arriving at the normal G-arm berth in Hamilton Marina at 5.10 pm.

Our patient (and one carer) was loaded aboard – but as we were preparing to depart for CSM, the Paramedic based on Hamilton Island informed us that a new case had been reported, and could we wait and take that patient too. No problems.

When that patient arrived and was loaded, we left Hamilton Marina for our return trip to CSM. We had our patients, carer and Paramedic unloaded, the paper work done, and refuelled and washed down by 7.35 pm – and proceeded home for a feed.

Thanks to all involved – Crew for their valuable time and skills – and making it look easy, Phone holder(s), Paramedics etc – The system works brilliantly and efficiently.

Crew: Paul Martin, Grant Ford & Debbie Simpson
Skipper: Fin Forbes

Editor’s note: We had a pleasant surprise the next morning when we opened our books to find a generous donation of $500 from David McAllister. Thankyou David, with our current activity rate, you can imagine how our operating costs have soared with our work rate doubling over the last year. David’s daughter was one of the patients that we carried from Hamilton island last night.

VMR Whitsunday is a registered charity and all donations are tax deductible.


Activation 20/7/2021: We have been busy and repeat business….

As SARCO and 24/7 Emergency Phone Holder (the most important ‘job’ in VMR), Bill Harrison rang me (Fin) at 9 am advising he was organising VMRW to assist a 5.8m vessel with 2 POB, East of North Molle Island. They had needed a tow yesterday, had their motor ‘repaired’ after being towed back to CSM, but it had broken down again this morning. They had joined VMRW last night but they were not entitled to a free tow because Membership will normally take effect 24 hours from the close of business following the time of application and payment in full of membership fees (whichever is later).

With my ‘A’ crew of Michel (Snr Crewman) and Dave (acting as Comms Officer for this activation) on Coral Sea Marina VMR1, we left CSM and found the target vessel at 9.55 am anchored as close as possible to the Island – they could have stepped off. We needed to first tow them to deeper water – where we did the necessary paper work – then towed them back to the public jetty at CSM. We proceeded then to our own berth where we carried out all the necessary shut down procedures. Job safely completed by 11.00am.

The crew again made this a pleasant non-eventful ‘job’ – my sincere thanks guys.

Crew: Michel del Aguila and Dave Richter
Skipper: Fin Forbes


Activation 20/7/2021: Late night Medivac from Hayman Island.

It was around 21:10 when I (Ken) heard my emergency phone ringing. It was Bill one of our dedicated 24 hour phone holders. He said it is a medivac from Hayman island! Well now, that is something different.

David R picked me up on the way to Coral Sea Marina VMR 1. We were first there. Pre start was well in hand when the paramedic and crew arrived.
We set off for Hayman. Our patient was apparently suffering chest pains. 22:33 saw VMR 1 at the dock in Hayman island.

The patient arrived and the paramedic took charge. I realised this was becoming very urgent when the paramedic was requesting assistance. Wasting no time we set off for Coral Sea Marina. The seas were flat and it was a very clear chilly night. We were met at the dock by another paramedic. David S assisted with the patient while we headed for the fuel dock, it was now mid night. After refuelling we returned to our pen for paperwork completion and clean up. 20 minutes later we were all ready for home.

Thankyou to the crew.

Crew: Michel del Aguila, David Richter, David Spiteri
Skipper: Ken Bryce


Activation 22/7/2021: Moonlight Medivac from Hamilton Island

With a flat sea, an almost full moon and an efficient, competent crew (who are also great company), this 2 ¼ hr duration Medivac trip to Hamilton Island and back was uneventful and even pleasant- despite the time of night (12.20am till 2.35 am). Meeting up again with a resident Hamilton Island paramedic, (who had been one of VMRW’s active members in the past), also made it a pleasant occasion. There was a Paramedic on Coral Sea Marina VMR1 both ways and a patient (with a suspected aneurism) and a carer also on board on our return to CSM.

Many thanks to the crew, Michel (Snr Crewman), and Grant (acting as Comms officer and helmsman on this activation) – superb. Thanks also Bill – for being there 24/7 to take the emergency phone calls.

Crew: Michel del Aguila, Grant Ford,
Skipper: Fin Forbes


Activation 23/7/2021: The first of two medivacs within 18 hours for same crew.

I had literally just put the last of my dinner into my mouth on Friday night when 24/7 phone holder Bill triggered the help ringtone. A young lady on Hamilton Island was experiencing severe abdominal pains and QAS had requested our assistance. Bill organised the crew while I made my way in to VMR1. It was blowing 15-20 knots from the north-west, so it looked like a bouncy return trip was on the cards – the Whitsundays are not designed for northerlies!

With Paul on the helm and the paramedic on board, Coral Sea Marina VMR1 departed at 1900, and after a bit of a rolly passage to Pioneer Point we were able to bear away and pick up speed with the wind and swell behind us, tying up at Hamilton at 2000. 20 minutes later Paul had us on our way back to Coral Sea Marina at a cruise speed a bit slower than usual due to the northerly, but once again VMR1 handled the conditions very well. By the time we had discharged our paramedic and her patient and her carer, refuelled and secured and cleaned VMR1 for the night in its berth, it was 2215 before we headed home.

Crew: Paul Martin, David Spiteri.
Skipper: Mal Priday


Activation 24/7/2021: The second of the two medivacs, first one by night, this one in daylight.

On Saturday Adam in the radio room called me at just under 12 hours later, we had been tasked by QAS for another medivac from Hamilton. The previous night’s crew had all logged on our web based roster to say they were available again, and with the additional crewmember of Debbie Simpson joining us we left with the paramedic at 1210 – the initial paramedics called for the job had been diverted to another emergency, so we had to wait a while for the next available paramedic to join us. With Paul on the controls again, we made our way into what we thought was going to be a rougher trip there and back based on reported conditions at Hamilton, but were pleasantly surprised to find conditions a bit better than the previous night.

Coral Sea Marina VMR1 was alongside at Hamilton at 1310 to collect our patient, and we also learned that the paramedic based on the island had just finished another medivac using the RACQ CQ Rescue chopper – a busy time for her. Paul had us under way again five minutes later, and by 1415 we had discharged our passengers before refuelling and putting VMR1 back in her berth for the cleanup before we stepped off at 1500.

Medivac tracks for VMR1 on 23rd & 24th July 2021

Great commitment by the crew, helping VMR Whitsunday provide the marine safety net to the boating and island communities of the Whitsundays. These medivacs brought the total so far this year to 58 in less than seven months, almost the same as the 2020 total of 62.

Crew: Paul Martin, David Spiteri, Debbie Simpson.
Skipper: Mal Priday


Activation 25/7/2021:

Activation 25/7/2021: The Perfect Night

I hadn’t seen the air in Airlie so clear for quite a while, a near cloudless sky and such a bright full moon we didn’t really need the two lit candles on the balcony table, but they were a nice touch. The perfectly cooked crackling on the pork roast had rested just long enough to stop sizzling and the perfectly browned baked vegetables had just come out of the oven.

Deja vu, no it was actually Bill on the 24hr emergency phone asking if I would do a medivac call to Hamilton Island for a young lady with severe stomach pains. “Of course”, so I handed the carving set to my wife, put on my hi-vis and headed for VMR1 at her berth at Coral Sea Marina Resort.

With our predeparture checks done and Paramedic on board, Coral sea Marina VMR1 set off into a 10knot E/S/E breeze and perfect conditions for a 55 minute run to Hamilton Island Harbour and our waiting patient. A smooth transition from dockside to boat stretcher for our return trip and we were swiftly on our way for a comfortable ride home

Trainee Chris did a great job and most of the driving, while Michel and Dave did most of the hard work. You know the team is working well when everything goes so smoothly and looks effortless. Thank you once again gentlemen. All up from just after 19.00 until just after 22.00, and then home for roast pork.

Crew: Michel del Aguila, Dave Richter, Chris Hunter
Skipper: Ron Roberts.


Activation 27/7/2021: Very Busy Tuesday – Part 1 – Medivac Hamilton Island

My (Marti) “Love me tender” ringtone goes off and with Bill (our 24/7 phone holder) on the other end offers me the job for Hammo. 1115 hour departure, Bill explains – as that is when the paramedic will be arriving at the marina. Easy, I had enough time to get all this paint off me before I had to go and I’d just finished a wall which was good timing.

Dockside at Coral Sea Marina as I arrived Michel, Dave and Wade were already there preparing Coral Sea Marina VMR1 for its voyage across the passage. And not long after that we had our paramedic on board.

With a SSE 10-15 we travelled straight through the Molle Channel and after clearing Roma Point turned left and headed for the north end of Dent Island and then onto Hamilton. Conditions were clear with a fresh wind. Arrived Hamilton Island 1220 hours.

We received our patient pretty much straight away after we tied up and were soon on our way home.

Back to Coral Sea Marina with a pleasant following sea we had our patient disembark at Lima 1 (our old berth) by 1330 hours. Wade assisted the paramedic with not only getting the patient into the ambulance but also the ride to the hospital. Thanks Wade.

Next we refueled and put our vessel to its current berth and gave her a good wash down and finished off the paperwork. It was 1430 hours when we walked off the boat.
Thanks to all, it was a simple job but was executed in an excellent manner. I noted good line throwing.

Crew: Wade Fisher (Trainee), Dave Richter(Comms), Michel Del Aguila (Snr Crew)
Skipper: Marti Davy


Activation 27/7/2021: Very Busy Tuesday – Part 2 – Three Medivacs at once

Coral Sea Marina VMR 1 and her dedicated crew were having a very busy day. 4 Medical emergencies in one day. Marti had returned earlier from a medivac from Hamilton Island.

My emergency phone was ringing 15:15. It was Bill Harrison. ” we have a medivac from Hamilton Island”
“Ok, I (Ken) am on my way, please organise the crew”.
On arrival at VMR 1 the crew were busy preparing her for the passage.
The paramedic arrived and we were off to Hamilton Island with Paul on the helm.

Sea conditions were beautiful and we were making a good speed. Another emergency on the island had just been phoned through. So, now we had two patients to pick up. Twenty minutes later I a receive a call from VTS Whitsunday to say a vessel from Hazelwood island is en-route to rendezvous with us at Hamilton island. They have a casualty on board. Our Paramedic is now starting to wonder how she is going to deal with all three casualties.
17:15 we are docked and the Paramedic is ready to commence the triage of patients.

After some discussion between the paramedics we begin loading our patients slowly and carefully as there is a great deal of pain amongst them.
18:10 VMR 1 sets off for Coral Sea Marina. On our arrival we were are met at the dock by another paramedic with a stretcher and a wheel chair. VMR crew assisted the other patient and equipment and off they go to the waiting ambulances.

With the remaining crew we head to the fuel dock. Now ready to complete all the paper work and head for home. Back in our pen all complete 20:15

All in a great days work. This is why we get the big bucks.
Many thanks to all the Volunteers. Another great job, well done

Crew: Paul Martin (Snr crew), Ron McCall, Bill Hopton, Wade Fisher.
Skipper: Ken Bryce


Activation 28/7/2021: The Dream Team or Oldies but Goodies 😉

The three crew on this activation had a combined age of 210 years 👴👴👴, a wealth of experience, and were all skippers, so it was not surprising that this Medivac activation from Hamo worked like clockwork – no hassles, no dramas. My thanks to them.

Bill (our SARCO and 24/7 Phone holder) organised the activation – thank you. Tony (past VMRW skipper – and helmsman for the entire activation), Ray (acting as Snr Crewman and Comms), a paramedic and myself (Fin) left CSM on Coral Sea Marina VMR1 at 4.15 pm arriving at Hamilton Island at 5.10 pm, immediately loaded our patient (product of a bike accident) and returned to CSM where we unloaded, refuelled, washed down and completed all necessary shut down procedures – leaving the vessel at 6.45 pm.

Crew: Tony Bell, Ray Lewis
Skipper: Fin Forbes


Activation 29/7/2021: On our way to Lindeman…

This one started out a little differently. A medivac, certainly, but this one from Lindeman Island. A young man with some serious back, neck and unexplained head pain.

A flooding tide and light Northerly breeze would give us a tidal boost inside Long Island, so that was our fastest path there, conditions later would determine our return journey.

Coral Sea Marina VMR1, with myself (Ron), 3 other crew and a paramedic had just passed South of Long Island and turned onto course across Cumberland Passage to Lindeman Island when the call came through for us to stand down and return to our berth at Coral Sea Resort Marina.

Our patient had deteriorated and was being air-lifted directly to hospital. 10.30 departure and by 12.30 and we were back at Coral Sea Marina, paramedic going on to their next call and our crew re-fuelling, washing down and finalising the paperwork so that VMR 1 would be ready for the next callout, whether it be for medical, mechanical or any other way we can help save lives. Thanks to our crew.

Crew: Michel De Aguila, Bill Hopton and Grant Ford
Skipper: Ron Roberts