Bounty Boat & a MAYDAY!!!

Friday 11th…..Met up with a 42ft Cat called “Bounty” German owners, started chatting..they wanted to dive but had no gear so I organized for Greg and Uwey to take them out with our gear in their boat on Wednesday…they had plenty of excitement and a fun day…Jane and I kept working…

Thursday 12th it was average weather and late in the day some BIG thunderstorms came in. Forecast was for some 25/30kt winds that night…we were down below watching a movie at about 2100hrs when I went on deck…it was blowing 30kts plus straight into the harbor…we have our anchor out and two lines astern…there is a rock wall just 8 mtrs behind the boat…now the anchor chain was bar tight..the wind increased so I started the engine and put it in gear to take load off the anchor…it blew up to 50 kts and if not tied to the wall ICE would have been doing 6kts with the engine revs I had set…

Then about 2230hrs I received a “Mayday” call on the VHF radio…a 13 mtr 16 tonne Cat “My Mews” had gone up on a reef 9 miles away..8 people onboard…blowing 55kts in …it was not good…I advised we could not move in the blinding rain, wind and restricted harbor ..our anchor was on the other side of a channel in the harbor..in this wind we simply could not get out. If we tried we would end up on the rocks…we reported everything to the police then kept up a radio sched every 30 minutes checking with them…they were not in immediate danger of life, with all still on the boat and when I asked if he had set off his EPIRB he said NO…about 45 minutes later they had passed/crashed right over the reef into deep water on the other side, lost one engine and rudder, headsail blown out but not taking water..drifting about 1.5kts…we still could not move…but we made a plan and started preparing ICE to go to sea…we needed the wind to drop to about 30kts..If I thought they risked immediate and mortal danger we would have tried to get out but the captain had not set off his Epirb. To get out our plan was to put our dingy on a mooring next to us and then swim back to ICE..then we would drop the stern lines and try to recover our anchor, then head out of the harbor and through the reefs and out to sea…the police could do nothing, which we knew, so we were the only boat available to help…another two boats responded to my “Mayday relay” but they too were struggling in the conditions and could do nothing. About an hour later they reported that they had one engine and some steering and were making for an island about 34 miles away..I suggested he may like to down grade his mayday to a PAN PAN and he agreed…this took the pressure of us to make for sea..

They finally anchored about 0230hrs..at that point, the wind had dropped to about 25kts so all was well…in the middle of all that, we had to go rescue the local dive boat in the harbor which had broken its mooring..we reported that to police too, as we could not raise the owner by phone..they went to wake him up..we put a line with an anchor out from his boat, now high and dry on the wall and then pulled him back into the water…and onto his anchor….we were all happy to get to bed about 0345..!! WE took off the 4 miles in the dingy at 0930 to check if “My Mews” needed any help..they were very grateful for our help last night just being on the radio for them..it was three adults and five kids onboard plus a dog!…he has a hole in the keel and a bent rudder but was very lucky..in Vavau north of us, a local man out in a small boat was lost in the storm..they found the boat, but he is missing.

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