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Today: Dead Man's Beach

Dugongs
Kicked north of town on the Kickbike. Pass the paddock where there's always a  small mob of kangaroos lying about, squizin at the passing traffic. They come in from the scrub to lounge around and know that no one can get through the fence between them and the road.
 (Further north -- 15 km -- along the coast at Toorbul on Pumice Stone Passage the kangaroos have literally 'taken over' the town and will jump about in folks front and back yards while the traffic and dog regulations are synced to roo friendly).
It's almost an Australian caricature. Hell: it is a caricature!

Headed another 6 km along the coast road and passed, what I call, Black Swan Lake because it is full of black swans. Tidal with a fresh water spring feeding it, in its ringed by mangroves and runs parallel to the shore 50 metres away. The road used to be rough going because of potholes and I had given up traversing it -- but since the big flood in January inundated the lot, repairs have now delivered a nice piece of asphalt.

I dismounted at the end of the bitumen and locked my bike to a Tea Tree/ Paperbark and went down the track through the dense scrub to the beach. The tide was on the way out --already 500 metres from high tide shore line when I got there -- so I walked another few kilometres north to Godwin Beach where the sea grass beds come close into shore and the sand gives way to mud flats.
Godwin used to be called Dead Man's Beach because the corpses of drowned flood victims from the Brisbane River Valley used to habitually wash up there.
Off shore the sea grass beds extend in a wide underwater Prairie and reports suggest that despite the silting that has occurred because of the recent massive amount of floodwater coming down the rivers, the seagrass beds in Moreton Bay have faired quite well and the Dugong population has not been denied vegetative sustenance through silting. 

Dugongs -- or Sea Cows -- are marine mammals like porpoises and wales which can grow to 9 feet in length.

 I hope to sail the sea grass beds soon as I build up my kayaking strength in the hope of seeing these creatures that are now under threat. The Bay population is supposedly around 600-800  with herds of 100 animals. Most dugongs, however, are to be found further out on the Moreton and Amity Banks.  Once upon a time they were like buffalo or wildebeests  upon a great underwater grassland in both Hervey and Moreton Bays but today their numbers have crashed through exploitation and urbanisation.
"Early accounts indicate that dugong numbers pre-commercial harvest were substantial. As an example: “One of the fishermen of Wide Bay told the writer…he had seen a mob which appeared to fill the water with their bodies. He computed this school ... to be half a mile wide and from three to four miles long…The writer’s boat once anchored in Hervey’s bay, in one of those channels through which the tide passes when running off the flats. For between three and four hours there was a continuous stream of dugong passing while the tide went out, which those in the boat could only liken to the rush of cattle out of a stockyard after a general muster ... some thousands must have gone out with the tide.” Thorne, E. (1876). Queen of the Colonies.
En route back wading the shallows, juvenile Shovel Nose Rays (similar to Banjo or Fiddler Rays of the Americas) played at my feet. They actually do swim around your tootsies when the local Estuary Stingrays will flounce off  in haste. 

Back on the scooter for the homewood push...Dived upon by two Butcher Birds -- in the middle of Winter! What gives? So when I get home I attached a couple of cable/zippy ties to my bike helmet and that always keeps the diving birds -- magpies especially -- at a distance during nesting season (which should not be happening until much later in the year).

Zippy tie-ing for bird strike protection: It's one of the very few advantages of compulsory helmet wearing...

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