Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Hell Trip from East Timor; {ldquo}All the Way from East Timor to Australia, We Just Got Smashed. It Was a Hell Trip{rdquo} {Ndash} Tin Can Bay Fisherman Kevin Lee Is Glad to Be Home. Arthur Gorrie Writes

Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Hell Trip from East Timor; {ldquo}All the Way from East Timor to Australia, We Just Got Smashed. It Was a Hell Trip{rdquo} {Ndash} Tin Can Bay Fisherman Kevin Lee Is Glad to Be Home. Arthur Gorrie Writes

Article excerpt

TIN Can Bay fisherman Kevin Lee knew there was a big wave out there somewhere as his fishing boat Faysea G pushed its way through atrocious weather and almost total darkness near East Timor.

Kevin knew he had found that big wave when a huge breaker, riding up on the back of another big swell, smashed in the wheelhouse windows, six or seven metres above the waterline on the boat's third level.

In a second, the vessel's upper deck was flooded, the electrics shorted out, fires started inside one wall and circuit breakers cut out the lights and instruments.

"It took out all the electrics. All we had left was the GPS and auto pilot," Kevin said this week.

Mysteriously, it had the opposite effect on his mobile phone, which had been malfunctioning but which suddenly started working again in the chaos of the wheelhouse.

"The boys thought it was raining downstairs. Water was just pouring down from the top to the bottom deck.

"We lost the 24v and the 240v circuits but we had to get some things back on just to keep going.

"We had to bolt to the engine room and get the generator out."

Meanwhile, back in Tin Can Bay, Kevin's brother Peter, who was tracking the vessel via satellite, knew something was wrong.

"He knew we were in trouble by the way we'd turned around to go with the sea while we boarded up the smashed windows," Kevin said.

"We had to get the broken glass out, sealastic a board across the windows, then bolt those to another board inside and tighten it up. Then more sealastic," he said.

After a season of prawning in Indonesia and a refit, the return trip had been uneventful, except for Kevin's failed attempts to hold down food after picking up a stomach bug in Djakarta.

"From Djakarta to Bundaberg 25 days later, I couldn't eat. I lost about nine or 10kg and ended up in hospital for a couple of weeks. …

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