Tak­ing refuge in man­grove creeks

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

IAN Wil­lett is no stranger to ex­treme weather. Since liv­ing in the Whit­sun­days, he has ex­pe­ri­enced a num­ber of cy­clones and there’s one tac­tic he fol­lows to make sure his home – a 46-foot mo­tor cruiser called Blue Pearl – stays safe.

“Up­per creek is one of the safest places to be (if on a boat),” he said.

“You have such big man­groves around you and it’s like you have a big wall be­side you. If the tide comes up and down, our ropes come up and down.”

Mr Wil­lett and roughly six other boat­ies have been tak­ing refuge in a man­grove creek at Can­non­vale, some­thing he has done plenty of times be­fore.

Mr Wil­lett said the tac­tic had worked suc­cess­fully in pre­vi­ous cy­clones but did ad­mit he was con­cerned how it would cope dur­ing se­vere Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Deb­bie.

At the re­gion’s two mari­nas, other boat own­ers have not been so lucky.

The rel­a­tive calm in the eye of the cy­clone re­vealed shredded sails and a boat on the rock wall at Abell Point, with car­nage among the sail­ing club berths at Port of Air­lie.

There, yachts had been dis­masted and docks over­turned.

Mr Wil­lett said he’d be sure to lend a hand to those who needed it.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

LEFT: Ian Wil­lett on board his boat, which he is pro­tect­ing from the cy­clone by us­ing man­groves for cover.

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