Tuesday, November 30, 2010

recollections of Port Macquarie: rescue on the bar

* 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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One early morning, I got a call that a boat was overturned on the bar (Port Macquarie) in big seas and I raced down to the boat shed, but the boat wouldn't start.  George Leighton was trying to start it.  I raced to the Post Office and rang our boat mechanic and then went to the headland and saw an overturned boat in these huge waves on the bar, with a bloke clinging to the motor.  I ran down the beach and started to swim out.  Another bloke from the Surf Club, John Dingle came out after me on a ski - about 500-600 metres out, we got to the boat but the bloke was gone.  The boat was stuck where it was, as the anchor had fallen out and anchored it right on the worst part of the bar.  I was freezing and buggered.  Anyhow, I kept diving and looking for the bloke, but he was gone.  After a while the jet Rescue boat came and picked me up.  turned out 2 blokes from Sydney and a dog got drowned and another little dog drifted up the river on a life jacket and was saved.  It was very traumatic.  I was a member of the Surf Club and they had a meeting at which John Dingle and I were nominated for a framed citation.  I eventually got a Letter of Commendation from the Royal Humane Society as did John Dingle, who also received a framed citation from the Surf Association.

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