'Extremely grateful': Trawler tribute brings wave of emotion
A LOVE for the ocean and an "unfathomable" tragedy has brought a group of people together as they remember six young fishermen lost at sea.
A "paddle out" to pay tribute to the men who were on board fishing trawler Dianne when it tragically flipped and sunk near Middle Island almost two weeks ago was held at Seventeen Seventy this morning.
Family members and friends of some of the crewmen watched from the shoreline as a group of people paddled out, formed a circle and held hands - as a moving tribute to the one survivor, the the two men who were found and the four still lost at sea.
Organiser Arty Robertson-Cipak said he was "extremely grateful" for the community's response.
Mr Robertson-Cipak and his wife Kathy said they had spent days searching for answers for the families.
Since October 16, Mr Robertson-Cipak said he had grown close with some family members of the crewmen.
"It's been wonderful to get an insight into what the boys are really like," he said.
"These boys had such an eventful life in such a short time ... they've travelled the world, they were mountain climbers, they lived life to the fullest."
Wiping away tears after thanking the crowd, Mr Robertson-Cipak said there was no way the community could replace what the families had lost.
"But we can show them we do really deep down care, this is our little way of celebrating the boys' lives," he said.
"I'm a father as well, these boys were someone's brother, son and fiance, it's hard not be impacted by that."
Cipak family friend Kelly Turnbull said the family's commitment to finding answers for the mourning loved ones was indescribable.
"They don't get enough credit for what they do, they are absolutely amazing," she said.
"They do all of this, without expecting anything in return.
"They have put everything in their lives on hold for this."
Tears welled in Mrs Robertson-Cipak's eyes when she tried to describe what the paddle out meant for her and the community.
"It was absolutely beautiful, people have come from as far as Coffs Harbour for this," she said.
"It was about the community coming together and showing their support."
Seven folders, one for each crewman, are filled with messages of love and hope from Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy residents.
Mrs Robertson-Cipak will be making a book for each of the six families.