Monday, November 29, 2010

Port Macquarie Boat Mishap

* a collection of stories and memories, in no particular order, from the life and times of John Clarke, who served as a policeman in the Australian Police Force, a great practical joker, he also had a great affinity with people and wildlife, was a champion swimmer, snooker player, loved golf, still loves fishing and is also an artist. I hope you enjoy his recollections - cheers, karin (his daughter)

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I was stationed at Port Macquarie as Lockup Keeper 1969-1976 and was transferred as Sergeant to Wellington.

As well as my own boat "Timka Miss" i used to take the Port Police Boat to sea on Patrol and Training and also have a fish.

After going to Wellington, we returned for a holiday to Port Macquarie in 1977.  I took the Police Boat out with Laurie McGrath (stationed at Port) and went north to Point Plommer, where were trolling and catching heaps of big king fish, mackeral, marlin, etc.

There was a lot of blood in the boat and I had the bright idea of taking the bungs out, so that when we stopped the water would come in and when we started again after gaffing the fish, the water would run out the back taking the blood with it.

What I didn't realise was, that every time we did this, water was being trapped in the motor well in the centre of the boat.  The water got deeper and deeper until it reached the wiring which short circuited and burnt the wiring out in a big cloud of smoke!

We were stuck with no motor!

We used the boat fire extinguisher and put out the sparks.

Luckily the boat (aluminium half cabin - Trojan - 21 feet) carried a 6HP outboard motor for emergencies and we got it going after a while and headed home to Port - a long very slow trip.

Finally got to the bar, with big swells almost breaking, but we braved it as it would have been too embarrassing to radio for help and after some anxious minutes we made it in.

Poor old Laurie had to report on the damage - I don't know what he said, but of course I was never on the boat that day - anyhow the boat was repaired without too many questions.

That was my last trip on the Port Police Boat.

This Trojan Boat was later bought by Father Donnelly and was used at Keswick Island, where we had numerous experiences.

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