Australia, Beach & Coastal Walking, Hiking
Comments 18

Moreton Island, An Alphabetical Adventure: J-P

Zeroing in on my 50th birthday this Monday — too awful to contemplate, but a little gathering here on Sunday night (the one following the Summer Solstice, so daylight shouldn’t be a problem) is motivation to finish some of the dozens of garden jobs that comprise my life lately.

Blogging seldom gets more macho than this: must report I’ve spent the last couple of days digging up and transplanting bulbs — daffodils by the hundreds, dense clumps of jonquils, a few tulips, crocus, hyacinth — which is a garden task I managed to avoid back home in the Subtropics. Oddly satisfying, all these delicate incursions with the shovel, the careful levering of great wedges of sandy loam, the probing of fingers into the soil for the onion-like prize…

The hard work of the reimagined garden layout has been done; repositioning all these Spring colour-bombs for maximum impact should help me deal with the bleak prospect of another cruel Winter. I’ll put some shots up once this series is over…

J is for…

~ Jetty

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The resort jetty awaits tourist boats at Tangalooma, the former whaling station just south of the ferry landing site.

K is for…

~ Kitchen

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I was unprepared for this trip, gear-wise, with my camping stuff in transit, so had to ad-lib. The titanium pot is essentially a largish cup. The stand I fashioned out of a foil baking tray. Heat came via a beer-can stove I finished seconds before jumping in the car to the airport and the flight to Australia. A sloppy job, but it worked fine.

~ Kookaburra

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Perhaps my favourite bird, principal exotic (and anachronistic) soundtrack to many a Tarzan movie. They frequent the campsites on the calmer, sheltered inner coast.

~ Kooringal

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This hamlet on the south-western tip is one of four tiny settlements on the isle. It’s so quiet and lonesome, I always feel like a trespasser and hurry through — soon afterwards, the tricky traverse of the island’s heel begins.

mmm

The “Gutter” is Day’s Gutter, a sheltered channel just offshore, one of those place names I recall from childhood trips on the family boats. Never patronised the Gutter Bar though — perhaps if I had company. On an earlier trip I enjoyed the “WE HAVE TV” sign but managed to resist its promise of unrivalled luxury.

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Day’s Gutter & Crab Island, dusk, Kooringal.

L is for…

~ Life Ring

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The headland at North Point at the entrance to tiny Honeymoon Bay.

~ Light Bulb

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Well, that was a first, even for an incorrigible beachcomber like me.

~ Lighthouse

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Dating from 1857, the only stone lighthouse in Queensland — built with convict labour of local sandstone. The graves of the lighthouse keeper’s wife, who died in 1876, and three of her children, are close by.

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Cape Moreton and the lighthouse.

~ Log

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Dead trees are strewn all over the island: numerous mangroves but many hardwoods also, such as this maze of trunks on the southern tip where a kilometre or more of land has been eaten away by sea and wind in recorded history. Very tricky, but fun, to negotiate on a high tide.

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At Yellow Patch on the inner coast — note the pelican prints.

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Sunset near my final campsite.

M is for…

~ Mangrove

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I grew up playing in mangroves (these are greys, the largest species) and feel at home in mangrove forests. The mosquitos and sandflies that would harass visitors seldom bothered us. Up to the 70s the tree, which provides crucial fisheries habitat, was disparaged and its populations degraded. I love photographing mangroves and one day I’ll get round to doing a mangrove post.

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A dead loner on the soldier crab-riddled flats near the Sandhills. They don’t grow on the surf-lashed outer coast.

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Near Kooringal. I ran out of road and had to plough through mangrove forest — not for the first time. Note the pneumatophores, the aerating roots that allow the tree to breathe in constantly saturated “soil”.

~ Mirapool

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Pre-dawn in an almost deserted Mirapool, the lagoon at the bottom of the island that is a crucial stop for migratory waterbirds.

~ Mt Tempest

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Some 250m high, Mt Tempest is the world’s highest vegetated coastal sand dune, and the highest point on the island. View from the eastern beach.

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Banksias frame Mt Tempest on a foray inland for some water.

N is for…

~ Net

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I had to cheat (I was close to writing “‘N’ is for Nothing”) and use this picture from a trip a few years back. Looking towards the Queensland coast from the north-western beach.

 O is for…

~ Orange

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I believe this was the site of the sandstone quarrying performed in the lighthouse construction.

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Casuarinas sprout among eerie, crumbly, not-quite-sandstone outcrops, Cape Moreton.

~ Oystercatcher

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Usually found in pairs, the pied oystercatcher, an Australian species, prowls the beaches in search of molluscs (seldom oysters). They’re cute in a goofy way, and are great entertainment as you walk the coast.

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Nearing the Cape, this couple kept a safe distance but seldom flew off.

P is for…

~ Pandanus

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With their prop roots and ability to withstand drought, wind and salt, these are common on both Moreton’s western coast…

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..and the eastern…

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..where they thrive in the harsh conditions.

~ Pigface

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Carpobrotus is the genus; Australia has six species. Dune stabilisers, particularly prevalent on the ocean side.

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With spinifex grass, ocean side.

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Near Yellow Patch on the inner coast.

~ And that’s all the Goat wrote

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18 Comments

  1. Barb says

    And there I was scrolling with bated breath waiting to get to Q!
    All good anyway.

    • I hope you’re not disappointed with my “Q” entry in the next post. A few of those letters really taxed me!

  2. Darius Russell says

    GEEZER ALERT!!!! TAKE COVER, EVERYONE!!!

    The Goat (We can’t use all caps for your name–we don’t want you to get The Big Head!) turns 50 on Monday!!!

    OH! MY! GOD!

    –Damn, that’s old!!!

    (Never mind that I turned 50 myself this year–I’m like a Fine Wine, so that’s beside the point!)

    Kate is rightfully stocking up on a gross of Depends diapers and getting the walker ready for when Goat wants to “Old Man” putter about the garden.

    Happy Birthday, Goat!!

    Darius
    ** “Turned” the ripe old age of 50 last August. Quite painless, actually!

    • The other day I imagined myself falling off a ladder while pruning a tree — imagined a nice insurance pay-out allowing us to install wheelchair-friendly paths around the garden so Kate could push me around as I did my chores…

      Thanks for the birthday wishes! Sort of looking forward to it (tomorrow). Congratulations on your own demi-centenarian milestone!

    • 50 tomorrow! It feels very strange — I don’t feel that old, except after a stint digging out boulders or transplanting trees!

      Great 50 years for the most part. Stay tuned for Part 2!

  3. Looking at your photos is almost like being at the coast today. From here it’s at least a 6-hour drive to the open ocean. When we look out on the Salish Sea from here, we see islands rather than an ocean horizon.

    Good to hear about the progress with the garden.

    So you were born in 1964. The year Johnny Cash was Walking the Line and the Beatles were having a Hard Day’s Night and Bob Dylan could hear the Chimes of Freedom. My life has been much better after 50. Happy 50th Birthday!

    • Thanks Am! I’m looking forward to a certain quasi-stability post-50 but an ongoing adventure of course.

      The Beatles played the first of four concerts in Brisbane five days after I was born. As I recall, I nagged my mother to attend but the venue was sold out — it’s possible this memory has become a little distorted over the ensuing half-century!

  4. Craig says

    Some great photos, ahh those Sandhills , climbed the odd one over the years, have a great 50 th

  5. Re the awfulness of 50. I’m 56. The consolation is that as you go through your 50s -barring bad luck- it gradually dawns on you that they don’t seem so different to your 40s.

    Also lucky for us, judging by old photos and childhood memories, people so often seem to have aged more quickly a generation or two back (probably because they smoked more).

    You’ve probably noticed I’m catching up on your blog -sorry I haven’t visited for a while- scrolling back through your A to Z. Can’t say I’ve ever come across a light bulb either!

    • Hey, Dominic. I can barely find time to read other blogs, let alone keep up with my own. Not for the first time, I’ve been flirting with abandoning it until I can give it the attention it needs. Even editing the garden photos I take most days is two or more weeks ahead of me. My latest idea is just to do more frequent but short, simple posts built around a single image or two. we’ll see…

      I agree about the ageing of older generations. I do recommend a shave for a burst of “I don’t look so ancient after all!” And as you know, you have to have a passion or two. A life of TV and passivity will wilt a human as much as any dreary job!

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