The Tide Is High

When choosing an anchorage to stop for the night, we’ve been picking the ones that have a write up for good fishing and crabbing….. although I think they’re lying a bit, cause we’ve still only caught those two fish the other day – thanks to Charlie.  Lucky we weren’t counting on living off the land/ocean!

crabbing

We arrived at Tabby Tabby Island – a little out of the way spot  apparently with ‘good fishing and crabbing’.  We set our crab pots when the tide was still pretty high – in fact, it could have been at its highest and left them for the night.

Tabby Tabby Island

Then the boys and I used the oars on the dinghy and made our way about 50 meters in through the mangroves, which was a little creepy.

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With the tide going against us, it was  hard going on the row back the houseboat, but the boys did half each and did a great job.  I felt like I was being chauffeured!

houseboat

The next morning we woke to one of the lowest tides we had experienced thus far on this journey of houseboat discovery and realised that we’d possibly set the pots a little close to the mangroves……

   crab pot in mud

Which began the epic recovery mission.

Colin was determined that we were not going to leave a good crab pot behind.  We tried all sorts of methods, and he was not going to be put off, even when we realised that the pot was deeply embedded into the mud, which was a little like quicksand…

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… and had a consistency of thick custard, thus making it impossible to walk on…..

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…believe me, I tried.

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So we stared at it for a while, Col cast a fishing line towards the pot in the hope that the hook would snag and pull it out.  After working our way through quite a few hooks, he shifted up a gear or two and invented the crab pot retrieval system using items found around the boat – it was genius!

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(There is video footage of this, although it is still going through thorough editing and permission licences in order to use it publicly.)

Bit by bit the pot was pulled closer to the dinghy and as the tide got that little bit higher we were able to move closer to the pot.  You can imagine, the hours we spent doing this were quite intense.  A small, crappy dinghy with a  3 horse power outboard, custard like mud that you could neither step on nor hold the boat still with the oar, as it simply submerged all the while battling the wind and the raging tide.

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As the pot was dragged over the last couple of metres, we noticed that there was a sizeable mud crab in the pot.  This poor guy had a hell of a morning!  He’d been trapped in the pot all night, stranded on the mud in the sun all morning, then flipped and dragged…. then eaten!  And get this –  Once the pot to the boat, we could see that the crab was only sitting on the top of the pot and could have walked out at any stage.  We we flipped the pot over trying to dislodge it, the cage flipped open, leaving him just sitting there, but he was probably caked in the mud and therefore stuck to the pot….. Poor bastard!

mud crab

Our morning had been eventful, to say the least, but we clambered back on board – covered in mud and started the day’s journey south.  We passed some beautiful islands and wildlife along the main channel.

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And we learned (again) how the low tides can be potentially disastrous if you’re not in the know.  You’d be spewing if that was your boat on the left!

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I’m not sure the tides had anything to do with this person’s boat as it was sticking out in the middle of the channel, just very unfortunate!  The owner sensibly popped a yellow marker there to make it easier to find his boat again or possibly the marine safety people, but it’s hard to tell in QLD if there is anybody in that role.

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Our final destination for the night was near the south end of South Stradbroke Island.  The wind was starting to blow a little so we tried to nestle in close to the island to get away from it.  Little did we know that this was also the same area where the idiots in those high speed boats that people actually pay money to go on that speed and wiz around.

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Not my idea of fun, but the boats were full all afternoon, so it must be the idea of some people’s!  Anyway, as there are absolutely NO boating rules to speak of here in QLD, the speedy boat came dangerously close to us and other anchored boats, even though we were in a designated anchorage spot, making waves and generally creating havoc!

The youngens hoped aboard our trusty dinghy and headed for the island for some exploring time….

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and walked through to the ocean on the other side. It’s a beautiful walk through there if you ever get a chance.

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We were only at the beach for about 20 minutes before Jodie noticed that the sky towards the south was turning black and the rain was heading our way.  We scooted back down the path and along the beach to get back to the houseboat before she started pissing down.

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But lo and behold, the rain must have seen us below and just passed us by.  We could see rain in the distance, but it never hit – hallelujah!

This was the sky we were left with tonight.  After the day we’ve had I feel exhausted, but grateful. Grateful that we got the crab pot back; grateful we weren’t hit by the idiot speedy boat; grateful that we got to explore beautiful South Straddy, grateful that it didn’t rain on us but mostly grateful for my beautiful family.

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