Monday, August 25, 2014

Abbot Point

Abbot Point

Yesterday we passed Abbot Point. The long pier, that allows ships to collect coal, extends 1.5 miles off shore. Abbot Point is a large coal port that contributes significantly to the huge amount off coal getting shipped out off Australia each year. However, one pier is clearly not enough. Why have only one, when you could have two? Or three? So that’s what they’re doing. They’re going to dredge off Abbot Point so that the water will be deep enough for two more piers. The dredge spoil will be dumped on or near coastal coral reefs or sea grass beds. However they’re not really taking into account the fact that dredge spoil spreads. It doesn’t just sink immediately; it spreads and can smother and kill many marine habitats. Also, areas like the sea grass beds are a large source of food for animals like dugongs and turtles.
Gladstone is also undergoing a building boom
 Now, for my opinion. I think that the people who are justifying all this as okay, are either seriously misinformed, crazy, or just don’t care. I’ve spent more than half my life at sea, watching hundreds of animals play near our boat. When we first arrived, we didn’t snorkel on any reefs. And then we were in Brisbane for two and a half years and none of us really wanted to swim in the Brisbane River. But now we’ve snorkeled on a few reefs in Australia and I know that the level of sea life we’re seeing isn’t healthy. Because I’ve snorkeled on lots of reefs outside of Australia and while I don’t have data and notes, I think I can tell a little bit about whether reefs are healthy. We have seen no sharks. No large fish. None of the signs of a healthy, well balanced reef. And it makes me want to cry.

We’re seeing a reasonable amount of turtles and whales when at sea and in anchorages, but no signs of life on the reefs. We’re heading more into the Great Barrier Reef area, so I’m hoping that there’s life. The largest coral reef in the world is starting to die. And unless we do something, we’re going to see it end.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Ceilydh: Trapped in the . . . Well, Just Stuck

We arrived in Refuge Bay just over a week ago, planning to spend a few days in the anchorage, deciding where to haul out the boat. We're. Still. Here. We didn't stay because it was pretty or we met nice people. We stayed because the wind is blowing roughly 30 knots and we didn't like the look of the waves. It's funny though, we're refuges from the wind in Refuge Bay. The beaches here are strewn with coral, the forest is dense and inaccessible, and, we are, the only boat here. We went for a quick swim on the reef yesterday, and while it was healthy and beautiful, it was also stinking cold. We're going snorkelling on it again today. Why? Because there's not much else to do. But, I must admit the view from the boat is lovely and it was wonderful to see such a healthy, colourful reef. There's also lots of sea life. There's Yrtle the Turtle, Helvetica the Lobster and Melanie the Soft Shell crabby snaily shell-like-thing. And of course we mustn't forget Daisy, the sleazy, villainous dolphin responsible for all the muggings and robberies in the area. And for those of you that are no doubt wondering, no, being stuck in an isolated, windy anchorage has not made me lose my mind. It's just done something strange to my creative streak.

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