February 23rd 2010
Something is different 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
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