Keeping his head above water
“IF you don’t laugh, you will cry”.
This is the philosophy of Jet Ski Repairs Airlie Beach operator Russell Wilson who not only lost his boat to Cyclone Debbie.
“I lost my home and most of my personal belongings but at the end of the day it’s all material,” he said.
“I’m glad I’ve still got my life and if I stayed on my boat I knew I wouldn’t be alive as it catapulted through the mangroves.”
Mr Wilson moved to the Whitsundays three years ago and has lived on his boat for the last 18 months.
He said it was hard to describe the feeling he felt when he saw the state of his boat after Cyclone Debbie had passed, washed up against the Shute Harbour mangroves. But he is determined to keep going one day at a time.
Mr Wilson was left with just a bag of clothes and his repair business after looters proceeded to steal whatever they could from his destroyed vessel.
While having to deal with a temporary living situation, substantial debt and a $14,000 boat salvage fee, he still holds out hope.
He has a dream to build a floating home along Shute Harbour and is currently in the process of collecting plastic drums and planning how to go about it.
Mr Wilson said he and his father had the experience to make his dream a reality, but his financial position meant it would be a project for the long term.
“I also have to get approval from MSQ, when you get something on the water it has to be legit – even if it’s not moving anywhere,” he said.
This hasn’t stopped him from making a start.
“If people want to donate any plastic drums or timber planks I’m happy to accept it,” he said.
Anyone interested in donating plastic drums can contact Russell on 0481 774 688.
Russell Wilson looks to the future despite losing his home from Cyclone Debbie.