The Great Barrier Reef and an area of its far reaching coral structure, plus two of its adjacent ports, sets the scene that sees two would-be mariners lounging about a Queensland harbour, and contemplating a sea voyage.
One part sailor, the other sometime mechanic, and their tired old craft The Beryl. Both men of totally differing statures. Bolmer, the boat owner, is a hefty ambling bear of a man and dour of nature, whilst Lumb the mechanic is a nippy greyhound, below deck much of the time and marinated in engine oil.
Lack of finance and temperance sees them going from boat to bar and back again. Eventually finance comes and The Beryl is made almost seaworthy. On a voyage to Bowen, she barely escapes colliding with the Reef, as The Beryl converges uncontrollably in the Reef's unpredictable waters.
But The Beryl eventually makes Bowen Boat Harbour.
At Bowen the two outcasts settle briefly in the town, where they become notorious, particularly at a local drinking place called The Bar None, where another voyage is planned, much to the perplexity of some other habitual Bar None customers.
Two nuns come on the scene, one eventually giving up her calling to join them. So The Beryl once more sets out with its most basic of crew, for the Great Barrier Reef, and its deep dark blue treacherous waters.