Clive and Annette live aboard SV "Kalimna". Look for the pirate flag flying from the rig of the Colvin designed schooner. Annette was off and running when I stopped by. She has developed a very prosperous business of boat care and cleaning around the Mackay marina. If she had any spare time I would get an ad from her…..

 Clive is a professional seaman that I was lucky enough to catch in port. When he isn't helping Annette scrubbing bottoms he has a little time to chat. Clive and Annette are big fans of Percy Island. Upon seeing the disrepair that the island had fallen into a couple years ago they had a discussion with a few others of like mind and the group came up with idea of "PISSY." This stands for…Percy Island Social Sailing Yachties. The idea was to get a group together to help rehabilitate the structures on the island and to haul off rubbish. To qualify for "membership" you had to work on the island and pay $20 for a T-shirt. The cash from the "shirt fund" would go to Warren Hill who owns a Barge/landing craft to help cover the cost of picking up rubbish from the island. The idea didn't go very far unfortunately. Clive explained that there was growing concern over the intentions of the owner, Mick Cotter. Nonetheless, Clive was friendly with the care takers, Ron, Nick, Adrian and Loz. While visiting he noted that there was a refrigeration Box that was of a size that would be useful to the mob on the island but there was no fridge compressor to go with it. Clive volunteered the use of one he had as long as it be put to use while Ron & company were there. Clive also gave spare building materials such as metal and timber to Ron to use and Ron transported the goods to the island on his vessel "Windego." Not long ago Clive heard that Adrian was forced to leave the island by order of Mick and that Ron felt he couldn't stay if his mate had to go. Also, the compressor was still waiting installation. Clive wanted at least his compressor returned but Mick wasn't going to allow it. Clive did get his compressor but it wasn't easy and he is informed that he is now banned from the island as a result.


 Terry spent several years building his "Snell Easy" design cat that he named "San-e-t" and now moves along the coast enjoying himself. The joke about Terry is that if he ever lost his boat he could be rescued by following the trail of the bottles that he uses for making his home brew. Well, he is not the only one anymore.

Terry was another supporter of Percy Island and well known there. When asked by Mick Cotter if he would like to have the job of caretaker, he declined but put Mick on to George Mayer. George accepted the position and Terry transported him to the island.
George's account follows this and I will leave many details there but the relevant facts as told to me by Terry are that he was called a week after George was on the island and asked to help as he was starving! There was little provision there and George had no information on how to manage or acquire the foods available from the islands resources. Terry said he made the trip out from Mackay and gave George his boats Stores and provided fuel. He did this on several occasions. As Terry was provisioning the islands caretaker he asked Mick to compensate him for the stores used. Terry said he didn't care about the transport time and cost of various bits and pieces given to George to help get things going, but only asked the minimum replacement cost of the food and fuel which came to a few hundred dollars. Terry reports that on more than one occasion he would ask Mick and Mick would agree to pay him. Mick would ask for his bank details so he could deposit the money into his account. The money never showed. Terry stated the he believes it would take approximately $100,000 in materials alone to restore the islands structures to reasonable condition and voiced his doubt that Mick Cotter could manage it.


 George Mayer has his 30 foot Piver tri "Eve'O" at Hill's boat yard up the creek in Mackay. George had been around a bit, starting with the Cock-a-too dockyard in Sydney where he says he helped build ships like the "Empress of Australia." Injuries forced a change in life style so he eventually migrated north. He and a partner owned Bowen Backpackers, he says. They ran the operation for a couple years and grew the business well but a split in relationship made for a change in location. From there George said he worked for awhile at Monte's Resort near Bowen where he bought the tri he still owns. After sailing to Mackay he had an oohpsy in the river that damaged the part of the tri that he had just completed repairing for rot. "Such is life," sighed George. The tri is still on the hard and I didn't ask when he thought it might be launched. There are some things you just don't ask….

George reckons it was about two years ago that the word came to him (through Terry of "SAN-E-T") that Mick wanted a caretaker for the island. George said that the deal he and Cotter made was that George receive $250 per week in wages and the island would provide provisions.

George confirmed Terry's account of the arrangement and the trip over. When they arrived on the island Terry stayed for a day to help George organise. George had heard that the previous caretaker, Tex, had a shooting accident and lost a part of a finger. When he was flown out for medical help the place was left as was. Terry Had helped get the three wheeler running and left fuel for it along with a few other things George said, but otherwise the only thing there that was working was the New Land Rover, Defender model.

George said the first week was spent chopping timber, fixing things he could use, cleaning out the solar powered fridge that was only running during the day as the batteries were stuffed and in general finding his way around. "It was back to Robinson Caruso days."

The second week Terry arrived again with needed provisions and more fuel. Yachties were showing up and through them, George
was learning some of the history of the island. Prior to that George said that he knew little of the island and had never heard of Andrew Martin.

The third week George reports that things were getting a little better. He was still short of everything but he made a friend and that helped pass the time. A Cock-a-too moved into the house with him and was very friendly he said, "...but the bugger chewed up the floor board covers." He would chastise the bird who would complain loudly but then the bird would return and rub his head against Georges arm as if to apologise. Water was a problem as the dam was dry and the only tank that George could find with water was the one by the lagoon shed. All the others being in disrepair. George said he had to tell a yachty to not waste water once and told all to only take water if they were in real need for drinking, but over all it was beginning to be enjoyable to visit with the passing yachts. George said that was when he started killing goats for BBQs at the A- frame.

The forth week Terry had a hard time getting out to the island with more provisions as the weather was rough but it was OK for the delay as George reported that he was getting more of a grip on the islands resources. There were goats, fruit, fish and advice from passing yachties to help out. When Terry finally showed up, George said he and Terry had a good little piss up to celebrate and George took a tumble that left him with sore ribs. Terry had left more fuel and George was curious about the islands shore line. A couple days later His ribs were still sore so he drafted a passing crew to take along in a tinny with a 40 horse motor that Mick had on the island. "I couldn't pull the start rope, my ribs were so sore." The island is quite large and by the time they were getting close to circumnavigating Georges crew was not too happy about there plight. The motor quit, probably from contaminated fuel as they were low, and it took a lot of pulling on the rope to persuade the thing to limp home. George said he never used the boat again, "never had fuel."

Toward the end of the week a remarkable thing happened. George said he was down by the A-frame when he saw a helicopter buzzing around the island. He made his way to the area used for such things and there was an old man being helped from the chopper. The old fellow introduced himself, "I'm Andrew Martin."

 George with Andy at the homestead during Andy's last visit to his old island home. He died not long after.


George assisted Andy up to the homestead and set him up in the main bedroom and looked after him. In the following days Andy had a look around as far as he could. He required a walker. George said that Andy was very angry with what he saw and blamed the condition of the island on Mick Cotter. George quoted Andy as saying; "He's paid me nothing…. I'll take this place over again." I asked if he was certain of the quote and George stated that he was.

I asked George if Andy had mentioned the Hicklings. George replied that he had asked Andy about them. He said that Andy wasn't happy with them either. Andy wouldn't give him a clear reason and George said he wasn't angry so much as dismissive about them. George talked to Andy about many things and George was left with an impression that maybe Andy's feelings about the Hicklings came about from a sense of "jealousy." He speculated that the Hicklings may have succeeded to well.

Andy's remaining time on the island was spent looking about then retiring to the veranda where he would study his bible until George cooked tea. They would then share a little wine, have tea and talk, then Andy would retire to bed.

During his stay on the island, Andy was supposed to be taking medication that had been supervised on land by Cathryn Radcliff. A radio contact from Maria of the VMR came through to the island to request George to make sure Andy took the pills. George said that he tried but Andy's response was "I'll take them if I need them."

About a week had gone by and it was time to arrange a trip back to the mainland for Andy. George said that there were some boats in the bay that were up to the homestead and after one of the parties came to realise who was involved, Andy was given a ride to Mackay on a motor vessel. A few months later Andy was gone……………………………………………… (See Tribute to Andy Martin, issue #4 TCP)
Not long after Andy's visit, another interesting group visited the island. George said that he received a visit from two people identified to him as from 'Parks and wildlife.' He invited them to the homestead for a cuppa. While there they talked of the islands future and were very critical of the islands management. They inspected the island and said that if the island wasn't cleaned up of infestations like the 'rope vines' they would take the island over and tear down everything including the coconut palms in west bay as they were not indigenous. George reports that they were clear in their intention to see the island made into a park.

George said his only contact with Mick Cotter was earlier in his stay when he was asked to provide a report to Mick on the situation at the island. George said that he did advise on how to get various systems running, like the refrigeration solar system which needed new batteries and regulators but that his advice was not acted upon and he just didn't see any future in staying on the island and no hope of collecting the promised wages. An opportunity came up to get a ride back to the mainland on SV "Chance" and he took it after about six weeks all up.

 The homestead....