Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

February 23rd 2010
Something is different at Horseshoe Bay

The new lagoon opening at Horseshoe Bay According to one recording, 210mm of rain fell over last Thursday at Horseshoe Bay. That's quite a lot of rain, even by Magnetic Island wet season standards, but something else happened at Horseshoe Bay that may leave its mark for years to come.

As locals and visitors who have tried to access the eastern end of Horseshoe have found, there is brand new lagoon mouth where a sand dune used to be.

It seems that some time during last Thursday night just too much water was building up in the lagoon which had suffered a major rearrangement with sand being shoved into it from last month's storm-driven king tides. At a point where a large boulder protrudes in the middle of the usually placid mangrove lined waterway, the torrents from the Horseshoe catchment couldn't contain themselves any longer and, brimming up, they overtopped the dune and tore a gap down to the bay that is now about 30 metres wide and over 2 metres deep.

The rock which may have caused the lagoon into its new course

While the natural relocation has become something of a must-see for locals, the new arrangements looked precarious for a time for the residents of the far end of the beach whose properties were accessed via a drive down the dune. Their cars were left stranded on the wrong side of the dune. Fortunately for them they were able to drive out during a recent low tide but access to their properties now involves a longer walk and, in the case of Mya and Brian Couchman, a little chug down the lagoon in their dinghy.

Cars were stranded until a low tide

“We're not sure what's going to happen. We can use the dinghy to get up the creek but we can't do anything else until the rainy season and high tides stop,” said Mya Couchman.

Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) have, until further notice, closed the Balding Bay walking track as the sand under the new cutting may be dangerous. DERM Ranger in Charge on Magnetic Island, Patrick Centurino said, “It (the sand underwater in the new cutting) is still disturbed and there may be things there we are not aware of. There is a lot of air and water in the sand and it is like quicksand,” he said. Readers should also note that wading without leg protection could lead to stings from Irukandji and box jellyfish.

One local who is taking the whole matter in his stride however is Logan Connolly who also lives at the far eastern end. “I think it's marvellous! The beach here was getting too much traffic,” he said. “We are happy to leave our car near the toilet block (about 700 metres from his home). We always had to cross the creek. Now it's just in a different place.”

Story & photos: George Hirst

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

Something is different at Horseshoe Bay
Barbara Gibbs
February 23rd 2010
And that is one reason why you don't build in mangrove areas, or so close to an estuary...they are not only sensitive areas, but have the ability to change at any point in time.
Dr Andy Lewis
February 23rd 2010
Readers may be interested to note that the creek in Nelly Bay near the old helipad has also cut a new entrance some 50m closer to the south (X-base) end of the beach, undermining several casurina trees and exposing and old rock and concrete septic tank.
Mrs. B. Burford
February 27th 2010
CRIKEY, King tides damage at Horseshoe Bay, Brian should use a tub of superglue to hold the other boulders in place. What a tale Mya will tell us when we return this May. My late father said Maggie was a little piece of heaven. We love it! Cheers, from a cold, soggy place in the UK.
Mr. Keith Burford
February 27th 2010
My father-in-law sadly passed away 21 days before we set foot on Maggie 1986. He walked Nelly Bay beach every day & would be devastated to see how the new Harbour has been constructed & badly decimated the area. From the Ferry it appears we are approaching a prison. Plant some trees!Give Maggie some TLC.

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