Kayak fishing, or any kind of water sport, can be a daunting adventure around Northern Queensland’s tropical reefs. Stingers, or better known as Box Jellyfish, prevail in the summer months, being washed out of creek and river systems by tropical downpours. They may frequent in winter months as well, just not as prolific. They are the most venomous living organism in the world and that is definitely worth considering before taking to the waters. Furthermore, the worlds largest and most aggressive reptile dinosaur thrive along Cape York’s coastline. The chance of surviving a crocodile attack is very slim, not many many people did. Sharks patrol the reefs in large schools as well, but they don’t really bother me too much. Like a ‘Kinder surprise egg’, three in one. That still didn’t deter me to take my rubber duck on to the waters. I just had to be very selective in my launching spots. No pain, no gain, right?
The only thing that kept me of the ‘Great Barrier Reef’ most times were the prevailing gusty southerly trade winds, which were relentless at times.
I found a good launching area, far away enough from creeks or rivers, at Palm Cove, north of Cairns. This top-end tourist resort town didn’t have much else for me to offer.
Only a few kilometres of the beach lies Double Island. At high tide, they appear to be two separate islands. At low tide, some of the surrounding reef structures are exposed to the air in very shallow waters.
Early mornings, just before the first light glows over the horizon, is my preferred time to set out on my kayak. It feels like I am paddling into the slowly rising sun, often shining behind far away clouds.
These reflect the sun rays in a spectacular colour spectrum. Just like this morning. Two different cloud formations were separated by a band of clear sky. The further away clouds were glowing from bright yellow to burning orange.
The clouds above me had a pink touch and appeared to be a ‘Genie’ coming out of his lamp behind the south-eastern horizon. Shame my Go-Pro doesn’t capture these colours as well as my OM-D. But my mind did. Imagine paddling into this natural phenomenon in darkness, with not a sound around. I love my life.
I made the most out of an unusual, extremely calm day. I was out on the water before first light again and reached the northwestern corner of Double island, which are sheltered from the easterly swell.
These are preferred anchor spots by any sailor. A coffee on deck of any yacht would be a perfect option right now.
The sun had just risen behind Double Island, shimmering brightly on calm waters. It looked like the sun had a bed of clouds to rest in. These then reflected perfectly on mirror clear and calm waters. Just spectacular.
Paddling on to the seaside of the island, large boulders lined the shoreline. Swell and rushing tides polished these almost perfectly round.
Whilst enjoying the scenery, my deep diving hard body lure got hit hard. The speed and force almost pulled my rod out of the kayak. Only for a few seconds though, then nothing. Annoyingly, I discovered that whatever big fish I hooked, bent my split rings between hook and lure. The hook was ripped off the lure. This was an almighty fish and I was slightly frustrated that it got away. But it could have been a shark too. Guess I will never find out.
I took to the waters once more around lunchtime, as calm days like these don’t happen often around here. This time, I took my OM-D camera with me.
It was low tide and some reef between Double Island had been exposed to air already. On a clear coral sea day, I was intrigued about the reef system.
The clear waters show just how colourful these reef structures are.
Corals in all shapes and sizes offer shelter for smaller fish and crustaceans.
The reef system expands further south along the tropical coast.
A swell and current sheltered area looked like a coral graveyard.
Meters of dead coral were piled up at this bay around the southern headland of Double Island.
Fish eagles had built a nest over the steep cliffs of this island, a safe haven to raise future generations.
One of them even posed for me for a while sitting on exposed rocks.
There didn’t seem to be too many fish around today, as he flew back to his nest.
My good friend ‘Nurse Jackie’ came for a visit after work that very same day. Water and wind conditions were still ideal for a sunset cruise towards Double Island.
A soft plastic lure was trolled behind whilst sipping on some cider. Alcohol and water don’t mix, but there was little risk for series incidents.
The sunlight slowly faded behind the Great Dividing Range, first stars appeared above us.
A small rock cod was caught as well as this impressive Red Emporer.
This is a highly prized table fish by most fishos. This one made his way back to the water after a quick photoshoot.
We had fish and chips under the stars afterwards. What a way to end this cruising day over the Great Barrier Reef.