For those of you who don’t know, last weekend ABT ran the Bribie Island Bream Qualifier in QLD. The Arena encompasses Moreton Bay, and the Pumicestone Passage that separates Bribie Island from the Mainland.
What appears to be a simple waterway when studying it from Google Earth and maps, “The Passage” as it’s known, is also fraught with dangerously shallow sand banks, confusing channel markers and some extremely shallow channels in sections.
Having never navigated the Passage before, Steve Morgan advised Chis and I to get ourselves a copy of the Beacon to Beacon Directory 9th Edition, published and distributed by Maritime Safety Queensland. We took his advice, and purchased ours from BCF, but on the prefish day I still managed to find myself run aground on a sand bank, with the tide dropping fast.
To cut a long story short, I incorrectly thought I was at a set of beacons further north than where I actually was. These markers change directions in the river as they head up a creek off the main channel, and running the wrong side of a marker, I quickly ran out of water.
In vain we tried to push the boat off the sandbank as the tide dropped out quickly, and consequently I had to wait a couple of hours for the incoming tide to float the boat again.
Lesson learnt, and with my pride dented somewhat, I spent the rest of the weekend paranoid and ever conscious of the markers.
My advice to the interstate anglers that are heading to Bribie for the BREAM Grand Final, get a copy of the Beacon to Beacon, and pay close attention when navigating the channel. There were numerous other stories of boats hitting sandbanks, and damaging props (Tracey…) and by all accounts, the markers are not necessarily an accurate indication of where the channel lies, as the banks have shifted over the years, but the beacons have not updated accordingly.