MV James Cook still going strong
TWENTY-five years on she’s still the pride of the fleet out of Seventeen Seventy.
Aptly named the MV James Cook, Des Mergard’s pride and joy celebrated a quarter of a century of service this month.
The James Cook is still taking tourists, fishermen and women, and surfers out to the reef after 25 years of solid service — and she’s got another 25 in her according to Des.
“The beauty of a steel hull is you can see where any trouble (rust marks) starts and fix ’em quick,” Des said.
“You keep the grease and paint up to it and she’s fine. The engine never works too hard and she just keeps going.”
And Des should know. He built the MV James Cook all those years ago in his back yard in Mundubbera, from the ground up.
“They used to call me Mr Noah (after the bloke with the ark) in Mundubbera,” he said.
“We had a boat to go fishing out to the reef, but I wanted something a bit less rough, more stable and a bit more comfortable.
“I saw this boat up in Gladstone Harbour and got the plans from Sydney. We trucked the steel up from Brisbane to Mundubbera and it took about four years to build.”
Des took the MV James Cook by road to Burnett Heads and put her in the water on June 22, 1985 and steamed north to Seventeen Seventy where he built the original marina.
Since then the MV James Cook has been taking groups out fishing, snorkelling and sightseeing and more lately surfing, as son Neil had a vested interest.
The MV James Cook often takes parties out for several days on fishing expeditions and is a regular at the Boyne-Tannum HookUp.
Des and wife Betty have virtually retired, but he still keeps an eye on the James Cook and gives Neil a hand when he can.
The Mergard family, Des and Betty have three sons and a daughter, is also planning a revamp and redevelopment of the 1770 Marina in the near future — so Des and Betty can’t totally retire just yet.