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