Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

WHILE cy­clones were bear­ing down south, Far North Queens­land had to con­tend with sunny skies and king tides, giv­ing an in­sight into how wet the Trop­ics can be even without mon­soonal weather.

The Gazette trav­elled the coast of the re­gion and cap­tured im­ages from Oak Beach, Mow­bray, Four Mile Beach, Wharf St and sur­rounds, Cooya Beach and Newell Beach.

Up in the Dain­tree, Mike D’Arcy vis­ited Thorn­ton and Noah’s beaches around the Cow Bay, Cape Tribu­la­tion area. These are two beaches that are fairly ex­posed to the open sea and reg­u­lar south-east­er­lies, and most parts have no fring­ing coral reef, so they are es­pe­cially prone to dam­age. At any time, they are full of in­ter­est­ing ex­posed and fallen trees – usu­ally she-oaks, pan­danus, co­conuts, sea let­tuce trees and oc­ca­sional melaleu­cas.

But with a com­bi­na­tion of high seas and king tides, the dam­age has been more ob­vi­ous. ‘‘The beach sands have been churned up, and most of the float­ing pumice that has gath­ered over re­cent months has been gath­ered and hurled up high be­yond the nor­mal high wa­ter mark,’’ Mr D’Arcy said. Roots of many plants are ex­posed and have be­come raw red and yel­lowed coloured.

‘‘Oddly, many swamp lilies, a lit­tle un­com­fort­able right on the shore­line, but en­thu­si­as­tic prop­a­ga­tors, have been felled or stripped of their outer skins, and look like giant leeks at the sandy fringes. A Welsh­man’s par­adise.

‘‘The leek is one of their na­tional sym­bols, of course, sig­ni­fy­ing their bat­tle against the Sax­ons, ex­e­cuted on a leek field.

‘‘I guess that we saw a sim­i­lar bat­tle last week – na­ture against na­ture. The sea against the land. It’s been go­ing on for years. But has it been a fair strug­gle or has it had hu­man in­ter­ven­tion? It’s one of the big ques­tions.’’


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