Johnny knew Cook Strait like no other, so piloted the early Cook Strait swimmers.
He was also the Cook Strait rescue service before the Coastgaurd, and a capable police launch.
I was witness to one of his rescues in Cook Strait, in 1968, as an 18 year old when on the legendary 1912 yacht Nanette we we lost both forestays with our bowsprit in an unforecast severe northerly off Sinclair Head. By waving a tablecloth we attracted Ika passing by and as she took us in tow, we noticed the crew of Hugh Barton’s, of Barton Marine, Shiralee waving for assistance, being overpowered by the conditions and not being able to make progress upwind. So Ika manoeuvred Nanette into a position that we were able to pass a second tow line and proceeded into Island Bay directly under the seagulls feeding off the remains of impressive Groper.
I remember Ika being moored just upstream of the Mana bridge with a much more substantial cabin around the 1980’s