The Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMRBI) men and women were certainly kept busy late last week and into the weekend when TC Oma didn’t quite pay us a visit but certainly let us know it was close by. One of the casualties from the wind and choppy conditions in the normally placid Pumicestone Passage was the Tahiti Maz affectionately known as the “Red Pirate Ship”.

Featured Image(above): Very choppy conditions for the Tahiti Maz

According to VMRBI spokesperson John Traill, the VMRBI received a call last Friday from a member of the public (about 20 in fact) advising them that the “Red Pirate Ship” was on the . At 0730am Coxswain Bob Skinner, who was at the base to oversee fitment of new electronic gear to 2, went down to see first-hand the situation from the shore and was joined by Crewman Jon Brice, at 0745am they dispatched Bribie 2 with Coxswain Ian Grimes and crew Trevor Plant and Keith Freeman to try to refloat her on the incoming tide.

Bob and Jon were later assisted on shore by VMRBI Radio Officer John Bodycombe. Bribie 2 threw a tow line to Bob, who then waded out to Tahiti Maz and attached it to the bow, which enabled strain to be kept on the vessel’s bow into the wind and incoming tide to facilitate it’s refloating. The rough conditions, approx. 50-knot winds and 1.5 to 2m seas in the Pumicestone Passage made everything difficult. Needing another rescue vessel, Bob came back to the base and took Jonkers Bribie 3 with Commodore Liz Radajewski as crew to assist Bribie 2 to get the ketch back on its mooring.

It was stressed to the owner that this was only temporary and that he would have to arrange a more permanent fix, as in the treacherous conditions they were only able to get one rope to the top of the mooring. Later in the afternoon, Bob skippering Jonkers Bribie 3 with crew Don Tate and Jon Brice and a friend of Tahiti Maz’s owner went to check on the moored vessel. The conditions had started to fray the temporary mooring rope, thus requiring a more permanent fix.

VMRBI rescue operation in full swing(left, top) and Owner and skipper of the
Tahiti Maz Bob Lowe(right, bottom) (Photo Credit VMRBI Commodore Liz Radajewski)

The friend of the owner dived in to retrieve the original heavier (32mm) mooring rope, which had sunk and was not visible to VMRBI earlier, recovering the original rope it was reattached to the underside of the buoy, securing the vessel. Well, that may have been the end of the story but sadly for owner and skipper of Tahiti Maz, Bob Lowe, his bad luck continued into the early hours of Sunday morning when the boat again came free of its moorings and ended up on the beach.

Sitting on the foreshore next to his pride and joy a forlorn Bob Lowe told magazine that once the boat was refloated later that day he would be heading off to moor it at Russell Island. Bob said that he will still keep his mooring spot on Bribie and will come back when the weather is a lot calmer.

Bob wanted to stress his personal thanks and gratitude to the VMRBI and the fantastic job they did. “I’m a financial member of the VMR and in my opinion, every boat owner should have a paid-up membership. The VMR do vital work to ensure the safety of all of us who venture onto the water. Please support the men and women who support us in our hour of need,” said Bob. Well, Bob your distinctive “Red Pirate Ship” will be missed by all on Bribie.

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