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Humpback whale freed from crayfish pot rope in waters off Whangamata - New Zealand Herald

When the mayday call came in about a stricken humpback whale which became entangled with a crayfish pot rope several Whangamatā locals immediately swung into action.

Whangamatā harbourmaster Steve Wise learned of the whale's difficulties about noon on Sunday while he was already out on the water.

Wise said, after checking with the Department of Conservation, he was given the go-ahead to try to help free the stricken whale.

The skipper of private local launch the Carol Ann, who was fishing in the harbour nearby, also jumped in to help look for the whale, he said.

Wise said three other boats had followed the whale, probably an adolescent, for some time but it still took about half an hour to find it.

It was in about 30m deep water about three nautical miles out to sea between Whangamatā and Onemana, he said.

Wise said the rope of a crayfish pot, set off the coast of Opoutere, was wrapped around the whale's tail had been dragged behind it for quite a few miles.

"I knew the skipper of the Carol Ann, so he hopped on board my boat and another man from one of the following trailer boats also came on board to help free the whale."

Armed with a knife, a rope on a winch and with the two other men standing on the bow of his boat giving directions, they cautiously approached the whale.

"We had to very careful because if the whale had become more distressed we didn't know how it might react but I think it was pretty winded and exhausted by that point.

"So as I quietly came up behind the whale, the skipper of the Carol Ann managed to grab the rope with a boat hook and wrapped it around the winch on the bow of my boat."

Wise said with the other skipper guiding him, he turned his boat sideways and managed to unravel the rope from the whale's tail before hauling the crayfish pot on to the winch.

"All of a sudden the whale was free and it swam off beautifully, then it suddenly dived and we never saw it again. It was pretty awesome feeling to see it do that," he said.

Wise said there were lots of high fives and feelings of "jubilation" and all the other boaties nearby came over to rejoice with them.

Ironically, Wise said he rescued a 4kg snapper from the inner harbour at Whangamatā on Friday with his bare hands but unfortunately the fish had a broken back.

"They say things came in threes, so I wonder what will be next," he said.

Some facts about humpback whales:

- Have a small dorsal fin with a distinctive hump at the front, knobbly protuberances on the head, the tip of their lower jaw and leading edge of extremely long flippers

- Their tail flukes are broad with unique black and white colour patterns which allows individuals to be identified

- Generally coloured black with white on the underside and on the flippers, newborns are 4m-5m in length and adults 11.5m-15m

- Migrating thousands of miles to their feeding and breeding grounds, they are well-known for their spectacular breaching and beautiful, complex songs

Source: Department of Conservation


Mars Spirit's intelligent design - The West Australian

The intelligent design of the Mars Spirit 2-Pac camper makes off-road camping a simple experience: it is easy to set up and has plenty of storage and features.

Underneath, the independent suspension has twin gas shocks and springs. Mars has moved the suspension forward a few centimetres, which has lightened the ball weight, making it easier to tow with a coil-sprung SUV.

This move has also created more storage space for an extra battery.

The high ground clearance, tall rear-departure angle, twin-rated, rear recovery points allows it to go anywhere it can be towed.

The aluminium checker-plate covering on leading edges helps keep the weight down and protect the body.

Setting up is typical of a forward-fold camper: unclip and swing over the roof/boat rack (this doesn’t have to be used for a boat, it’s also useful for bikes, a kayak, firewood or just extra camping gear), attach the front winch to the rear of the camper’s hard top and push it over. This can be done by hand but the winch helps in the final part of the descent with an auto-brake.

A rear winch helps with the pack-up.

This forward-folding portion becomes the main bed, while the trailer’s box contains the dinette, which can convert into a second bed.

Then it’s just a matter of winding down the corner stabilisers, connecting the tent poles to set up the main tent and arranging the cushions for the dinette.

The whole affair takes the pair less than five minutes and can be done by one person — but two makes it quicker.

Like most forward-fold campers, the Spirit comes with a full awning set-up.

There’s plenty of poles if you want the camper to look perfect but using the bare minimum poles makes it a quick and easy.

The Spirit’s main bed is a camper queen-size with a foam mattress.

There is a huge, fully lined, external fridge slide to hold a portable fridge.

Two steps away is a large, stainless-steel, slide-out kitchen towards the rear, with a plumbed sink, flexible work light, and three-burner Thetford gas cooktop with a windbreak.

There’s reasonable storage under the sink.

Most of the storage is in the front box. The pull-out pantry is next to the fridge slide with pole storage directly above.

The large vented box on the driver’s side is perfect for a generator or portaloo.

The Mars Spirit is one of the most affordable campers on the market and has everything you need to get off road.

Mars Spirit 2-Pac

Price $18,990

Frame 2mm steel with baked enamel

Warranty 12 months

Suitable for Off-road

Ball weight 160kg

Tare 1350kg

ATM 2000kg

Dealer KB Campers, 54 Rigali Way, Wangara


Boat Smashes Into Truck That Was Towing It -

Here’s something you don’t see every day. For the people inside this Ram 2500 pickup, it’s something we suspect they never, ever want to see again. This is a properly frightening scene; fortunately, there were only minor injuries and according to news reports, everyone was treated at the scene. We aren’t sure if that treatment included a change of underwear, but just looking at the above photo gives us an extreme case of butterflies in the belly.

We’ve not been able to dig up additional information aside from what the Union Hill Fire Department posted online. It doesn’t appear the Ram 2500 towing the big boat hit anything, and there aren’t any other damaged vehicles in the photos. It’s possible the driver was making a hard stop to avoiding running a red light, or perhaps another car forced the Ram to brake hard. In any case, the boat clearly wasn’t as interested in slowing down.

Similarly, we don’t know exactly what all failed on the trailer. It looks like the winch mechanism at the front is still in place, albeit without a hook or strap. The trailer appears to be a standard variety without rollers, meaning the boat is simply floated over the trailer and winched into place up front, then pulled from the water. As such, a large boat like this – we’re guessing easily over 20 feet – would weigh heavy on the carpeted trailer. Even without any straps, it would take quite a lot of effort to shove the boat off its cradle, never mind completely up and over the truck . By the same token, that much mass doesn’t like sudden changes of direction.

We’re just glad there weren’t serious injuries. Judging by the way the boat sliced across the truck, this certainly could’ve been much worse.

Source: WSB-TV , Union Hill FD via Facebook


Directory 3200 LB Boat Winch Trailer Hand Crank Winch ...

After using this for my boat for the summer, approximately 8 times. All the gears stripped as I was taking boat out of water. My boats weight is well below the rating of the winch.

Winch - Wikipedia

A winch is a mechanical device that is used to pull in (wind up) or let out (wind out) or otherwise adjust the tension of a rope or wire rope (also called "cable" or "wire cable"). In its simplest form, it consists of a spool and attached hand crank.In larger forms, winches stand at the heart of machines as diverse as tow trucks, steam shovels and elevators.

Powerwinch Remote Control Winch

We’ve made loading your boat onto the trailer easier than ever! The RC 30 and RC 23 are remote operated. Say goodbye to sore muscles from cranking and pulling your boat onto the trailer.

Boat Trailer |

Accessories to make towing your boat easier and safe. Bow guards, bolsters, dock cleats, and tie-downs. Lowest prices, guaranteed order online at or call 800-298-8924 for expert service.

Boat Trailer Parts & Accessories at Trailer Parts Superstore®

Trailer Parts Superstore offers a huge selection of PWC & boat trailer parts and accessories at discount pricing. From coupler to tail lights, marine trailer equipment is our specialty.