I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane. I love bushwalking, kayaking, wildlife, history and travel.
Published December 19th 2016
Paddling near Brisbane
I was excited about our planned paddle at Victoria Point. Jodie had been paddling there previously on her Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Board and had seen some dugongs so I was hoping we would see some on this trip.
Originally we planned to paddle across to Coochimudlo Island. I had done it a few years ago with a friend. My friend and I kayaked across on that trip. This time I was the only one in a kayak. Jodie and Monique had their Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUPs).
When we arrived, we checked the water but it was very choppy and windy at the boat ramp jetty, so we decided to go around to a more sheltered spot Jodie knew around the other side.
We paddled out and around the mangroves between yachts. It was a beautiful paddle with lovely island views. On the way in for a short rest, I saw something bobbing in the water. It looked too big to be a buoy. When I got closer I saw it was a large basketball (similar to 'Wilson' in Tom Hank's movie "Cast Away"). I scooped it up on my kayak and then heard a lot of yelling and screaming. It was a group of children on shore and they were very pleased I had rescued their ball. They thanked me profusely when I gave it to them. It was a long way out, so if we hadn't come along would probably have ended up way out to sea.
After a short rest, we paddled back to our starting point and this time paddled closer to shore. I was on the lookout for dugongs. I saw a large dark shadow under the water and thought it was a dugong. I paddled close and imagined it was moving slowly along the bottom in the shallows eating sea grass. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a large rock.
I once had the opportunity to see a baby dugong in the Cairns Oceanarium. Dolly had been accidentally caught in a barramundi net. Vic Oke, the manager of the Aquarium fed Dolly with milk from a bottle and sea grasses. He became very attached to her. Scientists from James Cook University in Townsville travelled to Cairns to study her.
I got to pat her and was surprised that instead of being smooth as I imagined, she was very bristly to touch, as though she was covered with beard stubble. Even her head was covered with large bristles and smaller stiff hairs. I wrote about my visit to Dolly in "Wildlife in Australia" magazine way back in 1979.
Everyone was devastated when Dolly died. Her body was transported down to Townsville for a post mortem and the vets discovered she died from a Salmonella infection.
Victoria Point is a beautiful seaside suburb located approximately 33 kilometres south-east of Brisbane, in the Redland City local government area. It is mostly a residential area, but also contains other public complexes and a ferry service to Coochiemudlo Island.
The headland has two boat ramps for boat entry to Moreton Bay and a Volunteer Marine Rescue unit. Thompson's Beach is a small child safe beach that has a very shallow slope.