THE STRAND IN TOWNSVILLE, North Queensland, is home to several outrigger canoe clubs, whose boats live permanently on the sands, but last Friday on our daily walk, we noticed some new arrivals.
Realizing we had stumbled upon the beginnings of some sort of event, we returned the following morning. A quick Google search had revealed that Townsville was hosting a Coral Seal Outrigger Canoe Regatta.
The silver coconuts in the above photograph, are a permanent art installation, just the right size for little people to sit on, or for errant shoelaces to be tied upon.
The land in the background of the racing photo is Cape Cleveland. The beacons that look like sticks in the distance, actually mark the channel into the port and flash red and green at night. Quite pretty when combined with the multi-coloured lights of Jupiter’s Casino and the port at night.
After a Race.
The photo below, taken from beside the Race H.Q. tent, shows contestants and spectators, then stinger enclosure No. 1 and behind it, the wall of the rock pool and the Arcadian Surf Lifesaver’s Club. You can see most of the contestants are wearing stinger suits or leggings.
Race H.Q. was set up on the Landsborough Street Headland, a slightly raised headland with a good view of the water, from where judges could scan proceedings through binoculars.
Tantalisingly close to Juliette’s Gelateria in my opinion.
The large net below was used by lifesavers to drag for box jelly fish first thing in the morning and on the change of tide. Box Jellies are the most common marine stinger on Townsville beaches. Growing to 3 metres in length they are easily netted and excluded from stinger enclosures.
Not so easy to exclude is the tiny Irukandji. See the comparison HERE. Luckily Irukandji are rare in Townsville, but a young girl WAS STUNG inside stinger enclosure. Winter is the best time to swim in the ocean in North Queensland as the water is still warm and there are few, if any, marine stingers. Stinger enclosures are removed during the winter months. For more information on ocean swimming and the Strand visit the CITY COUNCIL’S WEBSITE.
I feel it is important to know about swimming safely in the ocean before arriving in our little piece of paradise!
Our car was parked in the newly constructed car park behind the Rockpool, so as we left we took the opportunity to visit the rock wall for views back toward the Regatta.
The pool is a popular venue with families as there are no waves, fresh sea water is pumped in continuously and there is a sloping concrete floor into the pool. Emptied and cleaned every Wednesday, it is suitable for wheelchair use, while the raised grassy surrounds provide a good vantage point for parents watching children in the water. Can you see the flying fox in the foreground of the photograph?
Fresh seafood and salads are available at the family friendly Rockpool Seafood Restaurant located in the poolside blue building. Eat on the deck, in the restaurant, or have a picnic on the grass.
As we were leaving I noticed a lifesaver hanging stinger suits out to dry. Stinger suits are worn by all lifesavers (incl. nippers) and the pink high viz vests are worn in competitions. As we own a boat and enjoy snorkeling, our whole family own stinger suits.
The Picnic Bay SLSC have a club house on the Strand as well, located at Stinger Enclosure (No. 2) which borders on Strand Park.
An air of excitement hung over the Regatta. Participants were obviously enjoying the day with boats from as far away as Mission Beach and Cairns in the line-up. We do not follow the Outriggers ourselves, apart from watching them practice, but it was a colourful and interesting way to spend the morning.
What regattas or events have you stumbled upon?
Read more fun things to do in Townsville and Magnetic Island here.