Monday 13 January 2014

Mud Island

Not a name that would inspire a visit, but this island has some hidden beauty that is accessible only to kayakers.  Mud Island is situated in Moreton Bay (Quandamooka) just a few kilometers east of the Port of Brisbane.  The island is recovering from an ecological disaster of coral mining which impacts are still being felt today.

Mud Island is surrounded by rock and soft coral reefs which support a variety of fish life.  The island itself is predominately a mangrove island with a patch of rain-forest towards the southern end of the island.  There are a number of coral lagoons to explore, as well as waterways that feed into the center of the island.

The downside to this island is that you need to bring your super tropical strength deet to ward off the hordes of blood sucking mosquitoes that call the interior of this island home.  You are okay on the coral beaches, but step into the forest and you are fair game.

Snorkeling around the island will bring you in contact with your usual smaller species of reef fish, bream, garfish, stingrays, sharks, turtles, and dolphins.  In recent years they have been dumping dead whale carcasses on the island so there may be a few larger predators hanging around, but they don't make their presence felt.

The eastern side of the island is the best area for snorkeling as it is least affected by the flow out of the Brisbane river, and gets the clean ocean water coming through south passage.  On our last trip I was entering the water for a snorkel as a pod of dolphins started creating bow waves as they chased fish out of the deep water onto the reef platform.

There looked to be some good snorkeling around the North-East corner of the island which is where I will head for on our next trip over.

For exploring the interior of the island it would be best from mid to high tide.  There are few options for take off points such as Oyster Point, Whyte Island, Pinkenba, Nudgee Beach or Sandgate to name a few.  This trip we used the tides both ways leaving from Pinkenba.  We cruised out at around 9-10km/hr into a light headwind and came back with 10+ knots of wind pushing us home - around 40+kms and a bit less for me as I put in near Luggage Point.

I had an incident with a large sleeping turtle as I was paddling over the reef on the southern side of the island.  It got surprised by my kayak above it and caused an explosion of water, soaking me and nearly tipping me out of the kayak as it took off at light speed towards North Straddie.  Never a dull moment on the water! 

Looking forward to my next trip to Mud Island as there is plenty more reef to explore.  I'll post some shots of the reef if I get a day with clear visibility - the wind stirred up the water so I only had around 3M visibility on the weekend.

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