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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Isn't the world a small place?

Elaine and Neil (who doesn't like his photo taken)


By way of another late birthday celebration, we just had a seafood lunch with our good neighbours Elaine and Neil at the Innes Boatshed in the Bay when I saw a big burly chap and his mate feeding the seagulls at an adjoining table.

The back of his t-shirt was emblazoned with the words "Torres Strait", so I leant across and asked, "Are you two from Thursday Island?"

"No, not exactly, but we know it well", was the reply. The small guy turned out to be Captain Bruce 'Wildcard' Davey of Wildcard Luxury Cruises, and the big chap his mate Grant. They'd just come into port on their 36-foot trawler-rigged boat "Coralie" before heading farther south to Bermagui and Eden.



More about Bruce Davey and Wildcard Luxury Cruises on YouTube


Of course, I told them that I had lived and worked on Thursday Island in 1977, and I told them of my visit in 2005. Had I known 'Bluey' Douglas, the skipper of the MV Melbidir? Not only had I known him but he had been my neighbour on Thursday Island who, when in port, would wake me up every morning with his incessant leatherwork; in fact, he had even pounded out a stubby holder for me inscribed with my name.


"Bluey" Douglas with MV Melbidir in the background, sometime in 1977


Not only had they known 'Bluey' but they also knew Ben Cropp; they knew Gary Duff and Tony Tardent; and skipper Bruce was best friend with the "Millionaire Castaway" Dave Glasheen on Restoration Island.

We could've talked and talked but the fish and chips were getting cold. What an amazing chance encounter! And isn't the world a small place?

Googlemap Riverbend


P.S. Next morning received this email from "Honest Bruce Wildcard":

Delighted to meet you by chance at the Innes family's wonderful fish & chip Boatshed on the Clyde River yesterday 17th September 2020 Peter.

Fancy meeting another who has had the good fortune of spending their formulative years living remotely on another of life's tempestuous adventures on Thursday Island in the beautiful Torres Straits.

We enjoyed our overnight stay in Batemans Bay in full appreciation of Neil and Ben Innes looking after us and making us feel welcome in your beautiful wee seaside village.

The Innes lads and the shop ladies cooked us up a huge free feed of local Albacore tuna, chips and salad, washed down with brewed coffees for dinner last night. Delicious, got me a lil stiffy!

Afterwards a fishermen's chinwag of our epic ocean adventures on the 36' steely fishing boat Coralie to date since leaving Newcastle a week ago, stopping and overnighting at Nelsons Bay, Pittwater on the Hawksbury River, Sydney, Wollongong, Kiama, Greenwell Point, and last night at the welcoming Batemans Bay.

It was quite rolly and rough tied up to the Starfish wharf last night after that stiff 20 knot Sou-Easter popped up just after our arrival at midday. We were banging hard against the wharf pylons through the night on the tide change, necessitating us to get up from our cosy and warm but small bed bunks to loosen off and double and triple up our mooring lines in the drizzling rain!

Grant and I were up early this morning at 5.30am checking Coralie's bilges, topped up the 8V 71 Detroit GM main engine and gearbox oils etc. Cleaned up around the boat a bit, throwing off the mooring ropes at 6am and departing Batemans Bay on our way 50 nautical miles to Bermagui today on far calmer seas expecting to arrive tonight.

Today's weather forecast is glorious for steaming 8 knots south to Bermagui, 1-2 knots all day and small swells though turning nasty Saturday and Sunday 20-25 knots crappy Nor-Easterly on a 1-2 metre slop.

Thank you sending me your emails and your blog. The Somerset Maugham story on German Harry is a classic story of isolation and adventures so hard for today's young generation to find and experience as we have in our long past youth!

I've had an incredible exciting life of adventure as a 3rd-generation professional fisherman, growing up in Greenwell Point near Nowra, leaving Newington College Stanmore boarding school at 16 years old and heading straight to the Gulf of Carpentaria prawning where my wife Juanita and I owned two large prawn trawlers till the late 90s.

We had our four young children onboard doing Cairns School of the Air, their own school teacher for nine years before heading off to Peace Lutheran boarding school in Cairns.

All came back to the Wildcard family's fishing business after school as 4th-generation fishermen and now my two oldest boys Tiger and Tom run the fishing business in the Gulf of Carpentaria catching Spanish Mackerel with five wee 5.50-metre dories from Queensland's Cape York to the WA Kimberleys each fishing season July to Christmas.

Based from Nhulunbuy January to April we operate Wildcard Luxury Cruises and Fishing Seafaris offering 8 or 12-day private cruising through Arnhem Land, Arnhem and Buckingham Bay barramundi fishing, cruising through the stunning Wessel Islands and back to Gove.

Thanks putting up the link to WLC website, Peter.

Some links below to several film crews that have come out and filmed us Spanish Mackerel fishing for you to watch.

I'm back in Batemans Bay in a week or so staying with Ben Innes. It would be great to catch up again for another chin way and more yarns of adventures.

Bruce Wildcard xo
M: 0428114413
E: fvwildcard1@bigpond.com

Fishing the Wild Season 2 Episode 9. Jumping sharks of Cape Carnage.
Watch: youtu.be/GGNMEBd8cSY

Andrew Ettinghausen Seafood Escape Season 2 Episode 1 onboard FV Wildcard Spanish Mackerel fishing.

A Marine Parks documentary I filmed in 2012 Drawing the Line DTL Trailer:

DTL promo video links:

Full DTL Documentary watch: