The Cheynes II battling conditions in the waters off the treacherous Albany coast. Credit: Albany’s Historic Whaling Station

Date of Event: N/A

Vessel type: Whaling Ship

Location: Albany, Western Australia

Suggested title: Lifeline


‘My head breaks the surface… a heartbeat… before crushing waves push me back under. Struggling upwards, pain sears up my leg with each frantic kick towards the surface, for that lifesaving breath. My ankle shattered… from smacking against the unyielding rock face, just before I was dragged under.

Time passes… cold seeps into my bones… it’s hard to keep my tired body afloat. In the distance I can hear a plane. The sky darkens, time is running out… Over the deafening sounds of the ocean, voices yell and the hulking frame of a whale chaser comes into view. With a muffled splash a man jumps overboard, into the frigid water – he is my lifeline.’

In March 1978, a tourist was plucked from the punishing seas off Albany’s deadly coastline by the crew of the Cheynes II whaling vessel who risked their own lives to answer a call for help.

Interesting anecdote

After recovering from his rescue, the tourist Stephen Mathews, spent a short time working on the Cheynes II whale chaser, alongside the crew that saved his life.

Name of person submitting the story

Katelyn Weinert


AMMC Member Institution

Albany's Historic Whaling Station

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