It was just another fishing trip off the Wide Bay Bar with 10-15 knots of ENE wind blowing and reasonably calm seas. After getting into some nice fish on close in grounds the good conditions got the better of us and we headed wide to go look at an area that I have had some interest in. I was approximately 60km from the Bar and sounding around looking for new ground when an object in the distance caught my eye. I changed my course and headed towards the floating object realizing it was pretty large in size and looked like an upturned vessel. It was a relief to see that no one was clinging for their life when we got to it and clearly obvious by the amount of growth that it was covered in that it had been at sea for a lengthy period of time.
The amount of fish life surrounding the boat was also impressive with most being small unidentifiable fish but there was also lots of Trigger fish, a small Shark and a few very large Bull Dolphin fish. We quickly threw a bait out for the Dolphin fish but the large amount of small fish instantly hammered the bait before the Dolphin fish had a chance to get close so we towed a few lures around in hope of enticing one but we still had no success.
I then tried to radio through the information to the Coastguard but unfortunately I could not get a clear transmission through on the VHF or 27meg and had to later pass the information on which they told me would be given to the Hervey Bay Police. After drifting with the vessel for about 10-15 minutes the Chart Plotter showed that we were drifting in a due Southerly direction which showed that there was a strong southerly current running because the wind was coming from the ENE about 13 knots and the boat direction was not effected by wind in anyway. Less then a 100mtrs to east of the boat was a clearly visible current line, which we later found was very strong and un-fishable. This showed that the boat was drifting just outside the very strong current line when we found it and not long after must have managed to completely find itself free of the current causing it to then become effected by the wind direction sending it onto the coastline. We drove away from the upturned vessel thinking that would be the last time we would here or see anything of it as it more then likely belong to someone from the east coast of Australia or even another country so we assumed it would continue it’s journey in the currents like it had been doing for quite sometime but how wrong we were.
When I got back from the trip I put a picture and a quick story of what we found onto the chat boards of www.ausfish.com.au for the interest of the viewers. Five days later after we originally had seen the upturned Cat I got a call Craig Tomkinson who said that the cat we had saw just washed up onto the beach near Noosa and was on the local news up there.
I thought what are the chances of that and from what the media initially reported it could not be identified and was called the “ghost ship”. The story then got more bizarre when less then an hour after finding out it had been washed up I received a message on Ausfish from a guy to write the following –
The cat you saw was my dad’s boat, which we lost in September 2005 in the big storm whilst anchored at Days Gutter, Moreton Island. No one was on the boat. This was during the big storm we had around then with 100k/h winds and massive swells. The wave indicator off Point Lookout was saying about 4m swells and Powercat told us the boat wouldn’t sink unless the hull was damaged, and they were obviously right. It would have only sunk if it hit rocks or was hit by a ship. We had also heard of another boat a few years before doing the same thing from days gutter and washing up 6 months later on the north coast of NSW. It’s great to see someone found it and I was hoping to get a copy of the original photo to show my father, as we’ve all been waiting for it to turn up but we had all forgotten about it. Regards Mark Barrett
I was totally blown away and couldn’t believe the chances of this happening and was unsure how they could identify if this was actually their boat. It turned out that an employee from PowerCat had seen my post showing the picture of the upturned vessel on Ausfish and knew that it was one of their boats. Since they had only had one of these boats ever go missing they contacted the owner to inform them of what they found on Ausfish, which soon had the owners join the site and contact me. I realized at that point they had no idea that their missing boat had washed up that afternoon so I messaged the guy to say I can send him the pics that I took whilst out on the water but maybe they can now get their own pics because the Cat just washed up on the beach near Noosa. They contacted authorities early the next morning to confirm that the boat was theirs and soon the story was in the papers, on the News and Radio.
I was amazed with the amount of incorrect information that was written and told about the story and while one channel had the story pretty spot on with the info another channel told how some fisherman (us) spotted the vessel in Hervey Bay a week ago and then showed a map with a dotted line explaining that the vessel had gone down between Hervey Bay and Fraser Island where it then ventured out through the Wide Bay Bar and down to where the boat washed up near Noosa. How wrong they were and it amazes me how they came up with that when we reported it being 60km east of the Wide Bay Bar on the edge of the current line. Sure makes you wonder what bull crap our lives our filled with from the media’s story’s but I think we all knew that anyway. Speaking with the owner of the boat he was just blown away from the ordeal and said it was good to get some closure of their 26 foot 120 thousand dollar boat that went missing 18 months ago. He also said that when the boat washed up on the beach that it still contained most of the gear like Epirb, life jackets, ropes and a stubbie cooler. It turned out to be an amazing story and I had never expected an outcome to our chance boat sighting.