Akuna Bay Cruising Club

Waterworks in more ways than one !

Grass trees © Peter Firminger 2004

Grass trees

Monday 19 January, 2004

It all started out as a quiet break for the Gardner family, to enjoy 6 days of R&R on board MV Viende. The weather in early January was variable and the exceptional heat wave on Wednesday 7 January tested their patience, especially considering that they had just discovered their hot water tank had sprung a leak and all water was lost. Fortunately being rafted next to the Danckerts' on Liquid Asset and the Wolpert's on Moonlighting, they were able to accept water for showering, from melted ice in eskys (with labels floating in same), and bottled water for cooking. Swimming and washing up exploited the salt water scene. Because of the water catastrophe they could not have survived another day. Fortunately PC Frank always carries two solar shower bags.

A pleasant lunch with Rhonda, Ray, Gay and Peter at Cottage Point on Tuesday was the highlight of their short break. Little did they know what was to be in store!

Commodore Keith and 'crew' passed them early morning on Thursday, in Moonshadow on their way for some retail therapy at Mona Vale. By the end of the day they were rather concerned that they had not returned to their mooring. The thought of an empty boat "Yet to be Named" on a mooring,
(with a full tank of fresh water) ran through Frank's head. This was compounded by the fact that radio reports were referring to a fire in the Kuringai National Park at Akuna Bay. From the mooring in Refuge Bay, the smoke could be seen quite visibly.

At 6.30pm Frank & Janet headed back to the marina passing Moonshadow on the way. They were advised that the marina had been evacuated and that they may not be allowed to park their boat. A few telephone calls gave them no more information. Frank decided to investigate their chances. As they approached the marina there were several helicopters dousing the flames on the eastern hillside, adjacent to the marina. After successfully parking the boat they investigated the scene witnessing the flames to the east and the south. In all of their 20 plus years at Akuna Bay this was the first time they had witnessed the sprinklers on the shingle roofs in full action. The influence of National Parks and the Greenies certainly showed their ignorance in 1972. Fancy building a wooden structure in the middle of bush fire country! The building should at least have had a metal roof and there was no sprinkler inside or outside the building. The sprinklers been installed only about 10 years ago Even now the water spraying on the roof and dripping over everything is salt water which of course is slowly rotting everything!

As the park was closed their only alternative was to sleep on board and watch the progress of the flames. The cat, Winten, oblivious to the drama outside, was trying with her paw, to catch the ash falling outside the window and clears. Janet was very concerned as the flames slowly crept down to the boats. PC Frank sat down with a bottle of red in one hand (resplendent in his pyjamas) and the arm fire hose in the other. If the situation deteriorated they would have had to head back to Refuge Bay.

Early the next morning, Tanya, the Security Guard asked them if they wanted any supplies from Cottage Point. They explained their predicament, that they had a guest flying in from Brisbane that evening, to stay at their B&B, so they had to get home to open up the house. She suggested they come up with a better excuse (like a doctor's appointment) when talking to the firemen, or they would not be getting out of the park.

Well, she must have spoken to them later on their behalf, as when Frank spoke to the Fire Chief at 8.30am he offered them 10 minutes to pack and a Highway patrol escort from the park. Needless to say, the Gardners were able to keep their commitment, but kept a weather eye on the TV for any further developments. Many thanks to the Security Officers and the many fire-fighters.

Once again, Akuna Bay marina was saved.