Jumpinpin Bar – does it have a future?
Jumpinpin Bar has always been notoriously dangerous, but it’s got a lot worse, sand build up over the past 12 months has made it almost un-passable in all but the calmest of conditions.
Many now wonder if it will ever recover or if it will revert to its original state – non existent.
During Australia’s early settlement years in the late 1800s, North and South Stradbroke Islands did not exist, Stradbroke was one sand island that stretched from South Passage Bar to the Gold Coast Broadwater.
There is however, ecological evidence to suggest the Jumpinpin Bar may have formed and silted up many times over the past million years.
The most recent breakthrough is attributed to a combination of nature and human intervention.
On the September 3, 1894, the 75m, 1534 tonnes steel barque Cambus Wallace hit big seas and ran aground at what was then the narrowest stretch of the Island known as Tuleen.
The majority of the crew onboard managed to swim to shore, except for six men that drowned.
The ship never left that spot, she broke up over the next few months, her cargo, which included dynamite, was washed up on the beach.
The explosives were piled up and deliberately detonated, leaving large craters on the ocean side of the island.
The explosions weakened the sand dunes, further narrowing the fragile strip of sand and while not breaking through to create Jumpinpin Bar, there was reportedly a large basin on the ocean beach.
A few years later in 1896 a severe cyclone drove big seas onto the beach and sand dunes, eventually making a small passage into Swan Bay.
Initially the narrow opening was reported as 20 feet wide, however strong tides and further big seas continued to erode the sand increasing the newly created channel, within a few years it was more than a mile across.
The change in tidal currents altered the ecosystem, eroding farm land on the Logan River foreshores and destroying an emerging oyster farming industry.
Strong tidal flows, as the Jumpinpin Bar drains Moreton Bay have continue to erode the area, even in recent years we’ve seen the disappearance of several islands including Rat, Squire and the slow but continual erosion of the Mud Clumps on the eastern face of Crusoe Island.
Like many locals, I’ve fished Jumpinpin for more than 30 years and have never seen the Bar shallower, more dangerous and difficult to cross.
Even once you make it over the Bar, the ensuing white water shallows stretch as far as you can see, sometimes forcing you to travel kilometres south, running down the beach of South Stradbroke until you get clear of the currents and waves associated with the Bar.
In my book, Jumpinpin Bar is now one of the most dangerous on the east coast of Australia, only for the experienced in all but the best of conditions.