This is a painting, by marine artist Jack Woods, of the "Patanela" sailing past Heard Island.
The Patanela was a 19 metre steel schooner, famous for her Antarctic voyages and circumnavigations of the globe. She was constructed of steel with four watertight bulkheads and carried the latest safety and navigational equipment, sailing for 30 years on the roughest of seas.
She disappeared on a calm November night in 1988 within sight of Botany Bay with no mayday call, no distress flares, no debris and no bodies. The only trace of her was a barnacle-encrusted lifebuoy found floating off Terrigal seven months later. That is until now. A bottle was found on a beach near Eucla on the southern coast of Western Australia on New Year's Eve.
Inside was a note written by John Blissett, 23, ofTaree, NSW. He was one of the three men and one woman sailing the Patanela from Fremantle across the great Australian Bight on October 26, 1988.
The note, in faded blue handwriting inside a Bacardi bottle, offered the finder a free holiday in the WhitSunday Islands, giving phone numbers to call to claim the prize. It also gave the schooner's position as 34 degrees, 26minutes, 20 seconds south, 129 degrees, 18 minutes, 54 seconds east in the Great Australian Bight.
An inquest in 1992 concluded that Patanela foundered in the early hours of November 8, 1988 some time after a final radio contact with Sydney Harbour. The coroner concluded the most likely explanation for such a sudden disappearance was that Patanela was run over by a large commercial vessel but there was a complete absence of any floating wreckage.
There were numerous conspiracy theories from piracy to drug running. Paul Whittaker and Robert Reid spent three years investigating Patanela's disappearance and wrote a book "The Patanela is Missing". I haven't read the book so I can't comment on their conclusions. If anyone has read it, please leave a comment.