Author Topic: Cyclone Tracy - Darwin.  (Read 2904 times)

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Cyclone Tracy - Darwin.
« on: September 05, 2010, 08:36:56 »
I have an interesting story to relate from 1974. At the time I was employed as a satellite navigation technician on the “Western Endeavour”, an oil survey ship working in the Timor Sea off Darwin, Northern Australia. I have attached the only photo I can find of the vessel. I have no idea if she is still around but at the time was actually very new and well equipped for the task at hand.
We received a cyclone warning and attempted to run back to port. Unfortunately we had to first pull in the three mile survey cable which we were towing a task that took at least twenty four hours. By then we were in the thick of it and took a hiding of note. The wind was so strong it tore the paint of the superstructure. Unfortunately I no longer have any of the pictures I took as they were subsequently destroyed in a flood – quite ironic.
When we finally reached Darwin the cyclone had ripped through the town on Christmas Eve and it was a scene of utter devastation. The harbor was totally destroyed and quite a significant number of vessels had actually sunk or beached. We rendered what help we could and supplied meals and aid to the townsfolk for some days after. I can say I hope to never see seas like that again or get caught in a cyclone.
The numerous mast on the top of the superstructure carried loran navigation equipment which was a back up to the satellite and inertia system we used for accurate navigation, mostly for positioning oil rigs and survey work. This was one of the first vessels to use satellite navigation outside of the military. The davits on the side of the Endeavour, four in total carried gas fired guns which were lowered into the water to generate shock waves.

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Regards Allan

All comes to those that wait - does it have to be so long!!