Tuesday, August 16, 2016

75 Mile Beach

On the eastern side of Fraser Island is very big beach. 75 miles of it...hence the name. It is a beach, a road and a landing strip for small planes. It is place for sunbathing and sightseeing, fishing and flying, but not swimming. Lots of rip tides.

The dunes near the beach are held in place by lots of vegetation and trees.

And there is a large outcrop of colored sand (with a delightful story about their creation from the "dream time" that I cannot do justice) called the Pinnacles.

The most striking thing about the beach other than it's sheer size is the wreck of the SS Maheno. From Wikipedia:

SS Maheno was an ocean liner belonging to the Union Company of New Zealand that operated in the Tasman Sea, crossing between New Zealand and Australia, from 1905 until 1935. She was also used as a hospital shipby the New Zealand Naval Forces during World War I. She was washed ashore on Fraser Island by a cyclone in 1935 where the disintegrating wreck remains as a popular tourist attraction.

Our tour guide/driver told us that there are five decks below the sand.

Sitting between the sand and the waves, it sits in a rusty majesty knowing secrets that we cannot learn. As Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote:

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! 
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay 
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare 
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Some part of it, sits separated from the rest just at the water line at low tide.

Standing firm in the shifting sand and roiling water is this piece of mostly submerged manmade flotsam.

With parts covered with barnacles and all of it covered with rust, it forms a place of silence when the lives and adventures of past times can be considered. There is no sound here but wind and water. There are people about, our fellow tourists, but I have managed to keep them out of the images. Their voices are lost in the wind and surf.

It is place where the constructed seems unnatural and eerie.

It makes you just want to stand and stare in wonder.