Fire-fight Off Ozzy Coast. - Ships Nostalgia
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Fire-fight Off Ozzy Coast.

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Old 17th April 2016, 12:39
Cpt Dick Brooks Cpt Dick Brooks is offline  
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Fire-fight Off Ozzy Coast.

After the last cyclone, John and Vince decided to haul out their boats at the Cruising Yacht Squadron in Cairns for the rest of the cyclone season... it being much safer for them and their families on land than in Trinity Inlet. Once Patricia and Amulet had been lifted out by the Travel-lift, they threw a party for all those who'd helped them to celebrate the event.
It was at this party that Mariana and I first met Robbie and Jenny Penn. He was a couple of years older than me, having emigrated from the East End of London 17 years before. He had been brought before the magistrate in Romford, north of London, yet again, and was told to leave the country or face five years in prison. Jenny was a native Australian from Adelaide, and they had a boy and a girl between them.
They took us to their old, colonial-style, wooden clapboard bungalow at Aeroglen, out near Cairns International Airport. We became good friends with them, and started regularly meeting at Rustie's Bar in the vegetable market on a Saturday morning. There was a live tribute band playing Pink Floyd rock music to the crowd gathered around the pub and in the outside gardens.

While we were still out at sea on Début before reaching Australia, we heard over the radio of the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour by the French military. As she was a sister-ship of Début, being also an ex-Grimsby trawler, I wrote to Greenpeace in England once we arrived in Cairns, offering them the use of my ship.
At the same time as my letter was in transit, Tiger Tibbs of the brigantine, Eye of the Wind, wrote to Lloyd Phillips of Phillips-Woodhouse Productions, suggesting that they use Début in their new feature film, 'The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior.'
Lloyd Phillips sat in his office in Auckland after reading Tiger's letter, wondering where Début could be in the South Seas, and how he could contact me about the job for my ship. The next letter in his pile of mail was from the office of Greenpeace in London, informing him about my ship in Cairns, and suggested her being used in their movie. He wrote to me at once, requesting that I telephone him collect in New Zealand. It was with a feeling of great excitement that I showed Mariana the letter, then went with her to one of the telephone booths at the main Post Office in town to make the call.
Lloyd Phillips put to me the proposal of using Début as her sister ship, Rainbow Warrior, in the movie he wanted to make, and I immediately accepted his deal. It wasn't long before the press got hold of the story, and splashed it about the country. Before long, Début was making front page news throughout Australia.

We were getting low on firewood for our cooking stove out on deck, so we ran in with the launch to the beach at Sandy Bay to cut up some of the dead trees that had fallen onto the shore from being brought down by the last cyclone. It was there that we met the young couple who were staying in the Stone House by the beach.
Nick and Steff were bikers from Perth, and had come upon the abandoned house only a few days before while looking for an out-of-the-way place to camp. They'd liked what they saw and set up home for a while, before continuing on with their journey. After coming off their motor bike on a patch of oil on the road, they wanted to lick their wounds before continuing on their exploration of Australia.
Since I'd taken a case of home-brew with me to quench my thirst as I worked with my chainsaw, I offered them a beer as well. Steff declined my offer and made a cup of tea for herself and Mariana, while Nick got into the beer with me. We made a habit after that of going to the beach two or three times a week.
The house and surrounding 650 acres of mountainous terrain once belonged to Larry Horowitz... Elvis Presley's bodyguard and personal trainer for martial arts. After the 'King's' untimely death from constipation, he was given the bum's rush by Priscilla and set himself up manufacturing arms for the Vietnam War in California. There were rumours of him cashing in on both sides of the conflict, so he did a runner out to the South Seas on his luxury yacht, Onza, before the authorities could catch up with him... once owned by Errol Flynn as the Buccaneer.
Larry had set himself up as a loan shark, until he got wind of a plot by the Australian authorities to arrest him and confiscate all his assets. He once more set sail out into the Pacific with fourteen million Australian dollars in cash on board his yacht. Two of his followers, who had helped him load the sacks of booty onto Onza, still lived at False Cape.
Wayne-the-Pain lived up on the headland at the fire-control bunker with his gang of hippies. It had been built during The Second World War to direct the fall of shot for the two gun emplacements beneath it, but had never been used in action. Larry had converted the bunker into a luxury penthouse overlooking Sandy Bay, and Green Island beyond.
Chris lived with his girlfriend, Robyn, on his yacht, Reggae Rose, with their daughters from their own separate marriages. Chris's Jackie was ten years old, while Robyn's Jesse was six. They lived an idyllic hippy life-style, and we all partied on the beach most days of the week. If we were lucky with their fish-traps and crab-pots, we had a feast to go with their home-grown marijuana and my home-brewed beer.
One Sunday, when Mariana wanted to stay with Mark in his caravan at Woree caravan park, I was drinking and reading a book in the mess-room of Debut. Chris and Robyn came out to see me in their small dinghy, with their young daughters in tow, and I hurriedly tied on a lava-lava before going out on deck to greet them.
Jackie and Jesse went out on deck to fish, and the rest of us got into the beer. After several bottles had been consumed, plus a number of joints and half a tin of Copenhagen chewing tobacco, we were feeling no pain. It was hot and sticky at this time of the year, so I suggested we all remove our clothes to be more comfortable. They were also nudists on board their own yacht and used to being naked.
With Robyn sitting between me and Chris, we both put our arms around her, and she took us in hand. As she gently stroked us, Chris said it was a pity that Mariana wasn't there, so we could have a foursome together. Robyn said that was all he ever talked about... doing it with Mariana. I suggested they came back during the week and change partners with us... but how about a threesome for now? Robyn smiled at me, agreeing with my suggestion.
While Chris was thinking about having Mariana he was full of himself, saying how much he wanted her, but the sight of Robyn's blond hair bobbing in my lap made him see red. He started yelling and shouting and calling her a *****, while throwing empty beer bottles about the cabin.
They were in the middle of a heated argument, after Robyn said she was going to spend the night with me on my ship, when a fishing-boat came alongside on the port side of Début. Chris broke off his row with Robyn, and we both went out on deck to take their mooring lines. The two young men on board wanted to dive for batfish under Début, so I told them to go for it. When we went back into the cabin, Robyn had gone ashore in their small dinghy, taking the two girls with her.
Chris was in a right temper, for her having left without him, but I seated him down for a while with a promise to run him ashore in my launch once I'd had another beer. While I was in the locker getting out another case, I heard the engine of the fishing-boat start up and motor off.
On returning to the mess-room, I found Chris gone and the two young divers shouting in the water alongside my ship. Realizing what had happened, I helped them on board and sat them down with a beer and a promise to run them ashore once Chris had simmered down some.
As we approached the beach in my Rabalo, Chris stepped out from behind their beached fishing-boat with a 12-bore shotgun and fired at us. I hit the bottom of my launch and spun the engine around, then headed back out towards Début. Before I'd got 200 yards out to sea, the barrel of the shotgun came over the bulwarks, and Chris told me to head for the shore.
Once I'd beached the launch, Chris had us sit in a line, with our hands on our heads. He shouted and screamed, while waving the shotgun about, threatening to kill anyone who moved. Every second I had my eyes on his trigger-finger, knowing I'd have only a split second to kick the barrel away if he pulled the trigger. He was bombed right out of his brains on the lethal cocktail of drugs and alcohol he'd consumed.
For some unknown reason Chris decided to let me go, and I made it to my launch in record time... then headed out to Début. As I drove the Rabalo back to my ship, I watched Chris march the two boys at gunpoint down the beach to the Stone House, with their hands held behind their heads. It was like watching a scene from 'Apocalypse Now', as I lay scrunched up on the bottom of my launch.
I had no working radio on board Début at this time, but was able to flag down a passing yacht on its way out to Fitzroy Island, then have them relay a message to the Harbour Mater's Office in Cairns. Little did I know at the time that Robyn had already run over two miles to the nearest house along the beach with the girls to call the police.
It was just after dark when I heard the engine of the fishing-boat approaching. I thought Chris had done in the two young guys and was now coming after me. I knew he had a semi-automatic rifle in the Stone House, as well as the shotgun... and even a handgun or two.
There was no way I was going to let him come near my ship, while I was alone on board at night! After a burst of semi-automatic fire from my Ruger Mini 14, that raked his wheelhouse, and a direct hit from my rocket-launcher, the boat headed off towards Trinity Inlet, belching black smoke from her wheel-house windows.
It was only later that I learned that Chris had tied up the two guys in the Stone House, and had gone in search of Robyn and the two girls. He'd been arrested by the police while trying to break down the front door of the house with the butt of the shotgun. The two young guys had worked their bonds free, then come out to my ship in their refloated boat to collect their diving equipment.
It cost me Aus $130 for my share of the damage done to their fishing-boat by gunfire, and I gave evidence as a hostile witness for the prosecution. Chris got six months in jail for kidnap and firearms offences, but the prosecution service appealed against sentence. When he went for his second hearing at the Supreme Court in Cairns, his sentence was extended to two years.
Years later, Chris was living on his yacht with his daughter, Jackie. People who didn't know them well thought they were a couple. All the best, Cpt Dick Brooks.
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Old 2nd September 2019, 09:07
EmillyReefCooktown EmillyReefCooktown is offline
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If you’re up on the bridge and looking to the south on a dark night with your dimly lit Tilly kero lamp and a candle in hand you would see the fisherman’s dory SeaPeace. You were to then go ashore and explain that the British are coming, the British are coming, the British are coming. With a wink and a ....... whilst at Sunny Bay the Sandy beach and under the lee at the False Cape Headland. Northern Australia ... latitude 16°
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