Written by Joscelyn O’Keefe
Photography by Abell Point Marina
31 March 2017
The category 4 cyclone reached the mainland coast at approximately midday on Tuesday 28 March and brought with it destructive winds and heavy rainfall.
The marina crew were onsite as soon as the main event had passed and are working around the clock to assess the damage. Pontoon fingers in the north marina have cracked, as a result of the destructive winds and huge swells at the high tide.
Crews are out throughout the marina further securing vessels and chaining pontoons where possible to prevent further movement until the weather abates. The full extent of the damage is at this moment unknown and it will take some time for the entire marina and all infrastructure to be assessed.
With over 500 vessels berthed in the marina throughout the cyclone, the heavy winds and rainfall continued well into the night and long after the cyclone had crossed land.
The sheer size and force of the system resulted in damage of some marina infrastructure and basic services (power, water, fuel). To further exacerbate the situation, on Wednesday night over 24 hours after the eye of the storm passed, the region experienced over 150mm of rainfall in one hour as the entire region was hit again by electrical storms and flash flooding.
Power has been lost to over 65,000 residents in the Whitsunday region and with road closures prohibiting access for the defence force and other emergency support services. As soon as power and water are restored, additional crews will be brought in to assist with the reconstruction of the marina.
The coming weeks will be a period of consolidation and logistical coordination for the Abell Point team, but General Manager Luke McCaul is confident the team will pull together to ensure full access to marina services, by the start of the cruising season.
“This is the biggest weather event to have ever affected the Whitsunday region. Whilst the marina and community have sustained damage, we have a strong team working towards restoring our services and ensuring as little disruption as possible to normal business.
“We appreciate there will be customers concerned about their vessels and their bookings and we will endeavor to contact all customers over the coming days as we have more information.”
Upon the advice of the regional harbor master the port is now open and vessels are able to move in and out and to be aware of the possibility of marine debris in the water.
As with the rest of the Whitsunday community, Abell Point will work tirelessly to ensure the Whitsundays region remains open for business and show the rest of the country that our resilience and tenacity will once again see us through this very challenging time.
For all customers, management advises the best form of contact at present is via the Abell Point Facebook page.