Salty Sea Dogs of Carnarvon

Salty Sea Dogs of Carnarvon

For last few months Ray Smith has spent most days out on the dredger in Carnarvon

For last few months Ray Smith has spent most days out on the dredger in Carnarvon

Two years ago, and quite suddenly, a sandbar formed across the recreational boat harbour in Carnarvon, leaving the moored boats landlocked, and those out at sea unable to return. Not only did this affect local yachties, it had an impact on the community’s economy without the visiting sailors tying up to restock on provisions, and spending money in town before heading back out to sea.

With neither the State Government nor the Shire in a position to assist, the locals took it on themselves to solve the problem. Lifetime Carnarvon Yacht Club member, Ray Smith happened to have a wealth of experience (and a love) of dredgers. He found a dredger for sale in Busselton, 1100km to the south, and went down to check it out. The dredger had been sitting in a paddock for years but Ray thought he could resurrect it. It took five semi-trailers to get all the pieces up to Carnarvon, where a small group of locals, supported with donations of cash and food by the wider community, then spent thousands of hours and more than a year restoring the dredger which they name “Community Spirit”.

For the last year, weather-beaten Ray, with fellow boaties Irish and Macca as his support crew, has single-handedly been carving a channel through the silt.

I met up with Ray and Macca at the Yacht Club for the Sunday Session, and they decided I need to meet Irish too. “He looks like a leprechaun” they told me. Yes, he really does!

Carnarvon artist Sue Helmot

Carnarvon artist Sue Helmot