Tuesday 11 August 2015

Peel Island Reef Platform

From a novice point of view, it seems like the reefs in Moreton Bay are slowly starting to recover.  I am seeing a lot more soft and hard corals make an appearance in what have been fairly dead patches of reef in recent times.

Peel Island sits between Cleveland Point on the mainland and Dunwich on North Stradbroke Island.  It is a comfortable day paddle and a circumnavigation from Cleveland is 20+ kms.  It is a fun paddle back to Cleveland in wind against tide conditions when the wind picks up so novice paddlers should be wary.

Peel Island is surrounded by reef and a low tide paddle can add a few extra kilometers to the journey as the reef platform on the northern and south western sides is exposed at low tide.  Be wary of crossing the reef platforms on an outgoing tide.  The reefs are very shallow and the water can drain off very quickly and we have all left gel coat behind - today was no exception so I need to do some repair work on my boat :-(

There a two camping areas which can be booked through the National Parks website, Platypus Bay and Horseshoe Bay.  Horseshoe Bay can get very busy with the local boating fraternity in summer months when the Northerlies are blowing as the beach faces south and is a great spot for lazying away summer days.  There are some toilets at Horseshoe Bay, but that is the extent of the facilities.

So today was to get back into the zen of kayaking and also some macro photography.  After coming back from North Queensland I hadn't been on the water and was keen to get back out and exploring around our local watery backyard.

There was a bit of southerly breeze about so all the boaties had headed to the north side of the island and had moored in Lazaret Gutter for the night.

We paddled past the wreck of the Platypus (south eastern corner) and headed up to the western end of Horseshoe Bay which has some good campsites and easy access to the exposed reef platform on the south western corner.

The exposed reef platform looks fairly dead at first glance, made up from broken dead coral.  A closer inspection will reveal some of its inhabitants.

I was surprised to find a survey peg on one of the rocky high points of the reef platform.  I'm not sure if there was a structure built here at some point in the past or it was just a visible indicator as to where the survey peg was.

The other side to the island, apart from its history as a leper colony, is the sandstone formations along the base of the cliffs.

I'll be back with my snorkeling gear later in the year to explore the covered reef platform.

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