As the first leg on our series of visiting beautiful kayak spots in Queensland, we decided to start off with one of the better short trips one can take in the Brisbane area: Kayaking Moreton Bay.
KAYAKING MORETON BAY DAY 1 – REDLAND BAY TO PEEL ISLAND
With the kayaks on the roof we headed off, driving through Brisbane at the crack of dawn, trying to get to our launching point before the city madness would take over the streets.
We launched from a small park with boat ramp in Redland Bay and with a gentle breeze in our back, it was a smooth glide on our first day kayaking Moreton Bay to our first stop: Peel Island. In little over an hour of paddling and with minimal effort, we landed on the beach of the Horseshoe Bay Campground. Since we still had a full day ahead, it was time for a little exploring.
Once a Leper Colony and Quarantine Station for the city of Brisbane, Peel Island has a pretty colorful past and parts of its history are still evident in sites around the island. What really grabbed our attention though was the shipwrecks and looking out for the marine life that frequents Peel’s waters.
The start of kayaking adventure was shaping up to be less than eventful, just a nice relaxing start to a journey that without a doubt will throw plenty at us. For now, we could only hope the weather would stay within our favor for a while longer. But with rain and pesky winds polluting the forecast for the end of the week we knew that tomorrow’s sunny day would have to be put to good use.
KAYAKING MORETON BAY DAY 2 – PEEL ISLAND TO MORETON ISLAND
After a slightly too relaxed start in the morning (guilt written on our faces) we left Peel Island behind us mid morning and headed for the South West banks of Moreton Island.
The run started off somewhat boring (as a lot of sea kayaking can be at times) and I was starting to wander off in my mind, not noticing we were reaching the shallow waters Moreton is known for. I was abruptly awoken from my daydream when a dark shadow swooshed underneath my kayak. I watched it make way towards the deeper waters north when quickly it turned around and headed back for my hull. Now that it was getting closer and I could see more clearly what it was , I couldn’t control my scream of excitement at Sam:
After which Sam assured me that there were plenty more nearby his kayak which would make their way to me soon enough.
The one thing I was looking forward to the most when we made the move back up north after a couple of years in Tasmania was to see turtles again and Moreton Bay certainly did not disappoint. Turtles were speeding underneath my kayaks hull left, right and center, becoming calmer and more visible the closer we got to land. When a herd of dugongs shyly danced around us, it pretty much made the day.
Sadly, super sonic turtles and notoriously shy dugongs don’t make very good photographing subjects… But I guess at least the starfish weren’t camera shy.
By the time we approach our campsite for the night, low tide had taken over. We were stranded in ankle deep water filled with soldier crabs ready to clean the sand, which made it kind of hard to walk without stepping on one and we still had a long way to go before reaching our destination.
The water wasn’t nearly deep enough to paddle through, but it was deep enough to keep our kayaks afloat, so we decided to tow them in. Strapping a rope between the two, we took turns hauling the kayaks, slowly but surely reaching the high tide line. By that time we had a beautiful sunset as our backdrop with glowing sand dunes to match, making the walk actually really nice.
As beautifully calm the bay was that day, it was the polar opposite the next. Winds were howling straight onto the beach which made us flee away to pitch our tent tucked away further into the woods and wait for calmer weather.
KAYAKING MORETON BAY DAY 4 – TANGALOOMA
With a break in the weather, we made a break for a more picturesque campground 14km around the corner: Tangalooma.
Not too much further down the road from Tangalooma Resort (which by the way used to be a whaling station not too long ago responsible for processing over 6000 whales… Thank god they put a stop to that!), tucked away behind the trees was our third campsite and stop whilst kayaking Moreton Bay. It sits right in front of the famed Tangalooma Wrecks which I’ve been wanting to snorkel for a while now.
By the time we got there however I was pretty beat, keen to jump straight into my tent and call it a day. Neither of us checked the weather for the coming days, which came and bit us in the butt the coming 2 days with winds and rain.
After 2 days of boredom and hiding inside our tent, we had to get out and get going. We decided to just suck it up and jump in the water, even though the winds had turned it into something closely resembling an ocean smoothie. Tomorrow would be another break in the weather, which we had to utilize for a monstrous leg all the way up Pumicestone Passage. It was a peek in slushie mush now or nothing at all.
The visibility was terrible, but yay for the one turtle that decided to show up.
We’ll just have to come back to this beautiful place one day in our yacht with more time to kill and some better weather on the horizon.
KAYAKING MORETON BAY DAY 7 – TANGALOOMA TO PUMICESTONE PASSAGE
With 10 to 15 knots of breeze straight up our backs on the forecast, we left Tangalooma behind us at the crack of dawn. A long paddle was ahead of us and we could use all the daylight we could get!
Very quickly into the paddle, we discovered that the winds were going to pick up well above what the weather report indicated. With choppy swell sloshing us around the bay and breaking waves rushing atop sandbanks, day 7 really put the adventure in our trip. A few near-capsize-scares and thick heavy layer of caked on salt later, I was happy to see some calmer waters again.
To both our surprises we made it to Bribie Island well before lunch and decided to see how much more we could put ourselves through in one day. By sunset, we managed to get ourselves all the way to Coochin Creek (over 50 km away from where we started). Not a bad run (if I do say so myself)!