This page is not about the fishing. See our Fishing reports page for those. This is other news that may be of interest.
Monday Sept 16: Ah the joys of running a charter boat! Ever heard the saying “Its the stuff under the hood that counts!? Well, it has been taking a bit of our time to make sure we are always able to offer our customers the best, safest and most reliable charter boat on the Sunshine Coast. After the previous weekends charters had finished we noticed a tiny drip coming from the main freshwater pump on the engine. Nothing that would concern you if it was a car, but we believe that when you have the safety and comfort of passengers to consider, every sound, drip and vibration needs to be investigated to its maximum! Turns out that the main water seal was beginning to wear and in-turn allow the odd drop of coolant to slip through. Doesn’t sound too bad right? Well the fact that in the cavity behind this seal is the main bearing that drives this pump, and the fact that coolant is highly corrosive in the wrong environment this wasn’t something we felt could be ignored. Sounded and seemed simple enough. Change the seal, right? Ah well, this is a Marine situation. Special tools, heaps of stuff to take off to get to the seal etc etc. it actually meant we were better off replacing the entire pump with a new pump on instead! It never ceases to amaze me how the marine engine industry is able to get away with this. If this were a car it would be the equivalent of replacing the entire engine head rather than just the spark plugs! I guess the one positive from this type of approach is that you can always be certain that things are at their optimum at all times. We have also replaced the old screen with an even larger one so that everyone aboard can easily see what exactly is under the boat. No doubting the number of fish waiting for you with us! We have also finished putting in a completely new sound system. The new BOSS Marine audio system has every function and feature imaginable. Now the crew want an ipod to be able to really control the music out on the water! It also has a built-in PA system which will make the information sessions for our cruises so much easier and better. So, what next? New speakers have been ordered and we are getting close to being able to line the underside of the deckcover. All this to ensure our customers are able to head out on the highest quality charter boat available anywhere!
Wednesday Aug 7: The next update of reels is now aboard! after months of discussions, Okuma have now agreed to support Fish n Crab Deep Sea Charters and we are extremely proud to be replacing many of our former reels such as the Silstar TF-20 and the USA made Penn 220’s and 309’s with the top of the line OKUMA SOLTERRA SLR series. Have a look at our updated equipment page here to see the new range we are putting aboard. This really is a major change for us as we are not only to a large degree changing the brand and models we have be carrying, but are also moving a lot more towards spin reels as the preferred style of reel aboard! This change has been brought about through feedback from our customers. The modern spin reels (if you get the right ones) are simply amazing. With drag levels as high if not often higher than their overhead counter parts, they are, according to general consensus, easier and more fun to use. The Okuma Salina series of overheads we have brought aboard are high (lever) drag with level-wind models. So true offshore / deep sea fishing reels but still able to be used far more easily by newcomers to the deep sea fishing experience. We are even moving to this range for our trolling! With a mind-blowing 50lbs of drag these bad-boys will be able to cope with pretty well any size monster fish hooked! The new Penn Spinfisher V series is also brand new and aboard. They are a great match up to the new Okuma Salina 3 16000 spin reels we are bringing in slowly. We are setting up the Okuma Salina’s as right hand reels only. They are unfortunately difficult to change to a left hand operation as that requires a different axle on this reel. Both the Okuma Salina and the Penn Spinfisher V series reels have an amazing 50lbs of drag, so it will be interesting to see which our customers prefer using! Come on and book a trip and try us if you haven’t yet, or maybe it’s been a while since you went deep sea fishing from Mooloolaba with us? Either way, you will be glad you did!
Monday July 29: Finally some great weather! I think we were all wondering if the Sunshine Coast needed to be re-named! All of the time spent unable to head out Deep Sea Fishing here in Mooloolaba has certainly allowed us to get a massive amount of work done on Crusader 1! It’s one thing to have the largest fishing charter vessel n the Sunshine Coast, it’s another making sure it stays up there with the most comfortable! Our regular customers are noticing the changes before we even pull up! The entire roof structure support has bee upgraded to allow for much more space on the gunwale. This means even more elbow room for you when you are fishing! And you can now hold onto your rod and more right around the entire deck when you are fighting the huge fish! No more handing the rod over to get around the side supports of the roof. Even our crab cooker has been moved to a spot that has no impact on your fishing. We have also removed the old bait preparation table and replaced it with a fold away unit that is part of the new support structure for the cover. The deck toilet is now just that, a deck toilet only. No more rods being stored in that either. A dedicated (hidden) rod locker gives us so much more room on deck its crazy it wasn’t done years ago! Add in a complete repaint of the inside of the Gunwales as new decking tiles and you are getting a bit of an idea of the improvements we have made to ensure you are on the best charter boat on the Sunshine Coast. Other work includes a complete overhaul of the Muffler stack which has reduced the engine sounds by up to 80% ! We have added multiple layer of soundproofing under-foot as well making it one of the quietest fishing charter vessels you will ever be likely to step aboard!
Monday July 22: The following information is the majority of an article we wrote for the “Rescue Sunshine Coast” magazine due out in September of this year. As I have not updated this blog for a while I thought this would be a great way to give everyone that does not get the magazine a great catch up of what has happened this year so far. I have removed some (boring) bits that mainly covered stuff already discussed in earlier posts. I hope you enjoy the read!With spring in the air, whales offshore and hopefully the cold, wet days behind us, organising a day out with a fishing charter like no other on the Sunshine Coast is certainly worth considering. The unseasonal and extremely inconsistent weather that has been around since having purchased the company almost two years ago, has proved a trial. Tourist numbers, and subsequently customer numbers, dramatically dropped as a result. In February 2013 alone, the weather was so poor that only five charters were able to head offshore in the entire month. In excess of 15 other trips had to be cancelled due to poor weather conditions.All of this directly followed a major incident in December of 2012. December was proving to be a fantastic month for Mooloolaba. The weather was finally cooperating and people were flocking to the coast in large numbers again. Fish n Crab Deep Sea charters were booked solidly every day, with 2 trips a day the norm rather than the exception. Towards the end of a five hour trip on the afternoon of 29th December, a 40 tonne steel yacht rammed into the side of Crusader 1 while she was anchored with customers fishing. Positioned about 3 nautical miles offshore, the owner and sole occupant of the yacht was below decks, using his GPS and auto pilot to re-plot his route. Using both of these, he changed course, without visually checking his proximity to other vessels. There was no one else on deck to keep watch either. This put the yacht on a direct collision course with Crusader 1, only about 150 metres away. His actions left no time for evasive manoeuvres. Crew on board Crusader 1 attempted calling and blasting horns, but the yacht owner was oblivious to the damage he was about to inflict. Luckily, the crew had just enough time to get life jackets to the passengers and muster them away from the point of impact. The yacht speared into the side of Crusader 1, piercing well into the forward compartment. The impact ripped both manual and electrical cables, which in turn set off the engine fire suppression system, creating a dense cloud of smoke billowing out of the engine room. Luckily, the hole was above the water line and there was no actual fire. The Coast Guard was immediately contacted and they dispatched a vessel to assist. In the time it took for them to arrive, the crew on Crusader 1 had determined the extent of the damage, covered the hole in the hull to avoid further water seepage, and determined that Crusader 1 was still able to return to Mooloolaba under its own power. The Coastguard escorted the damaged vessel back to the Wharf Marina. According to all involved, their presence was comforting to both passengers and crew alike. Further inspections determined that the impact had damaged parts of the on-board electronic equipment; in particular the Electronic Compass and GPS components. This, combined with the damage to the hull and the state of the engine room due to the activation of the fire suppression system meant it was a far bigger job than originally anticipated. All in all, Crusader 1 was out of action, and the water, for almost a month. According to Paddy it was ‘right in the middle of the Christmas holidays and biggest tourist season we had experienced so far.’ The Mooloolaba business and marine community certainly rallied to the support of Fish n Crab enabling them to get the vessel on dry land and begin repairs in the middle of the traditional Christmas holiday period. Operators such as Laurie’s Marina actually came back from trips already in progress to help! Without the overwhelming support from all involved the owners feel certain it would have been impossible to get Crusader 1 back in operation by the 20th January. While Crusader 1 was out of the water, the owners decided to make major improvements to the appearance and efficiency of the vessel. Apart from cosmetic improvements like new decking and carpet, a new interior finish was completed. The vessel also received a new Genset and new quieter muffler system. The clients were not forgotten, with upmarket fishing equipment and other modern creature comforts added. With such a weather dependent business and a rocky start, it was also decided to make changes to both the business itself and the services on offer. The highly experienced and friendly crew cater for serious anglers, corporate groups and families. As a service, it provides a range of charters, including party cruises, such as bucks and hens parties, anniversaries and retirements, fishing charters with a range of five, seven, nine and even eleven-hour trips. Corporate functions are available for team building and bonding, and group events can cater for such occasions as birthdays and other celebrations.A new arm to the operation has also just been released called “Coastline Cruises’ which will operate along the coastline between Coolum and Caloundra, and particularly focus around the bay of Mooloolaba. For any tourist or local looking for a different perspective of the area, it offers amazing sunsets and scenery as well as information on the local geography and history of the region. Sitting back on comfortable lounges with drinks and finger food in hand certainly sounds like a great way to spend the afternoon.For more information on exploring the Coastline, call 0412 155814 , (07) 5452 6697 or hop online at www.coastlinecruises.com.au