10 May 2023

Pensioners left homeless after yacht sinks

| Sarah Martin
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PENSIONERS Rob and Gay McDonald have been left homeless after their home of 23 years, the Dancing Dolphin, began to sink on Friday.

They have since been fishing belongings from the floodwater of the Endeavour River.

A devastated Ms McDonald said she didn’t know what was next, with expensive repairs required to fix the small hole responsible, and the depth of their keel meant the Cooktown slip was not an option.

“All the wiring needs to come out, it’s all full of seawater; the timber I don’t know,” she told Cape York Weekly.

“At this stage we just don’t know. “We don’t know if we have the money, either.”

The Cooktown Coast Guard rescued the couple from their mooring in the harbour, and towed the boat to the shallows near the boat ramp, but the highest tides of the year were making salvage and containment efforts harder.

“On the low (tide) she’s laying right over,” Ms McDonald said.

“The Coast Guard is going to put in containment booms to try to stop things floating away.”

She said in addition to the loss of their home, the couple had lost many of their belongings, including some with great sentimental value.

“I can’t find my cookware set, it cost me $800 in the 1980s, and my knitting needles from my grandma made from actual bone and tortoiseshell are all gone; all our photos are gone,” Ms McDonald said.

Locals have rallied around the couple, with offers of accommodation, homewares, vehicles and even home-cooked meals, but Ms McDonald said it was hard to even plan or think what they needed.

“At the moment getting what we can off the boat has got to be our first priority,” she said.

“My husband is an invalid pensioner and I’m his carer, so we have a pretty limited income; in the near future we would like to get settled somewhere, and we will need some homewares, but we’re still hoping to get some from the boat.”

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