BACK ON TRACK
Last week, in the depths of post shoulder operation despair, in my delirious state induced by codeine and opiates, I managed to get an article to print right on the publication deadline. Fortunately, readers will be pleased to know that I am now back on track, with only occasional doses of good old panadol and some sort of reasonable sleep patterns. I mentioned last week how surprising was the number of people I was meeting who had had a similar operation. Well how about this. A local boatie phoned my personal mobile last week requesting sea rescue assistance as he had broken down near Cow Rock. Once I recorded essential information such as people on board, mobile and radio contact details, nature of problem, exact location and confirmed the anchor was down and holding, I assured the boatie that assistance was not far away, hung up and phoned the marine rescue conferlink number. As members started coming on line, I identified myself, summarised the situation and requested members identify who was available to come to Gracetown to skipper and crew the 7.5 metre rescue boat for this tow job. I indicated that unfortunately I was unable to be directly involved due to my shoulder issue. Once a crew was sorted, in this case thanks to Jock Salkeld and Tim Moore, with Geoff Constantine land based communications, before hanging up, I confirmed there was no-one else on standby listening on the call. Then Mark Graham notifies me that he was unable to assist as he was also recovering from a shoulder operation. Then as soon as he hangs up Geoff Uhd is on line advising he has had the shoulder op as well, as it turned out the day before mine. Must have been a special on shoulder ops that week. So we sympathised with each other, shared our insomniac stories and exercise regimes, and looked forward to when we can all get back out on the briny!
On a much sadder note, the WA sailing fraternity was dealt a fatal blow recently when the yacht, Finistere, capsized during the annual Bunbury and Return Ocean Race, with the loss of crew member Paul Owens and owner/skipper Ralph Thomas. As soon as I heard the news, I had a flashback to 2008/9/10, in the Sea Rescue support vessel, tracking this stylish 15 metre iridescent blue sailing vessel in the Annual Geographe Bay Yacht Race. Finistere had also competed in three Sydney to Hobarts. I don’t pretend to have known Ralph Thomas well, but I did meet with him on a several occasions in my role as a Marine Studies Coordinator for high school students. Ralph was always more than prepared to take on students as crew during Geographe Bay Raceweek as part of our Structured Workplacement Program. This unique opportunity provided students with logged workplace hours, interaction with experienced ocean going sailors, essential marine skills and of course lifelong memories. Thanks for being so supportive Ralph and sincere condolescences to the family and friends of both you and Paul.
For local boaties, ACRM Base have advised that their VHF Channel 80 repeater is again experiencing some technical problems, so if you are having difficulty transmitting or receiving on this channel, please try them on VHF Channel 22. Finally, have noticed the birds starting to dive on occasional bait schools and reports of salmon starting to make the capes. That time of year again!