Seaweed Causes Outrage in Port Douglas QLD

Port Douglas has a problem. It isn't the outrageous prices, terrible service, shocking roads or rampant greed ...

Nope, the cause of the anguish is seaweed.

Yes, seaweed - that alien thing, you know like the star fish you used to find in rock pools and loved to play with as a child.

Seaweed. Essences of photography

Of course seaweed isn't a weed at all. The name is a catch all phrase for plants that grow in the sea and from time to time become uprooted or are designed by nature to be wrenched from the sea bed by seasonal tides and deposited on shorelines the world over. This bounty from the ocean is used, by nature, to harbour the next generation of small insects and Crustacea that use it as a nursery. These small animals are in turn fed upon by larger animals which in turn ... oh come on, you've seen the odd Attenborough doco ... do I really have to explain this?.

... complaining about seaweed on beaches is a bit like whining about the leaves of autumn falling eh?.

The original plaintiffs in this Judge Judyesque drama are apparently owners of a 'Resort' that is somewhere within laughing distance of a beach in Port Douglas, euphemistically, known as 'four mile beach' - and yes, that's right - seaweed on the beach is now an issue for them - it smells don't you know? - we want the ocean but not the smell of the ocean being, well oceany ...

Four mile beach. Essences of photography

Instead of extolling the virtues of the wilderness, it seems the owners of this 'Resort' feel we need to sanitise it. We must clean it up, nature is out of step with the times!!!. The smell of the sea is now the smell of decay - breeding grounds for wildlife are interrupting the BBQ. People are being inconvenienced and something must be done!.

The answer [according to the plaintiffs], is to get some tractors in to 'rake' the beach. Yep, rake the beach - just like the gold coast, a well known wildlife spotting destination [that way the people who come to visit will leave with the idea that nature is all under control ... 'nature is playing the game goddammit!']. Unless you want some thrills and spills?!.

Oh you do? ... WELL!

We also have dangerous crocs and sharks and one of the 'worlds' deadliest snakes and spiders and cyclones and bats that kill horses ... ah yes, we'll package nature in whichever way that you desire - obviously sans any hint of an olfactory offence or threat to your person, [just so long as you swim within the nets, [don't ask],wear sensible shoes, obey the instructions of your slightly hung-over dive-master and lather yourself in DEET. Errr but we're not liable should you do all these things and still get stung, bitten, eaten or drowned ...] Did we mention happy hour? ...

At some point we need to learn that nature [the good and the less good] is the selling point of North QLD, not over-priced bloody T shirts or appalling drinks with umbrellas in them [I've never understood that - why are we trying to keep liquid dry?] ...

The same people complaining about mother natures slovenliness also no doubt have a stand in their reception positively brimming with brochures on what wildlife goodies await should you care to spend the cash. Tourists who complain about nature - and it seems there are many, could be gently reminded that without it there would be no fish to snorkel with - no butterflies to admire and no birds to photograph.

Destroying habitats, whether micro or macro, has been done. Almost always for short term financial gain, no sane person could argue that's the way forward ... Instead we might consider placing a few more signs, and not those beware of the sharp edges ones either, no - signs that explain what nature is doing - how to view it and what it means. I firmly believe that most people respond positively when they get the right info ... I'd go so far as to say that some who complain about seaweed on the beach would be happy to support the WWF or Greenpeace. What makes a whale more important than a butterfly or a bird or a lizard? ... I'll tell you what, ... marketing.

So let's market nature here in FNQ and not the glossy, pretentious, unsustainable nature you see in the pamphlets, but the real - interesting, life giving panorama that sustains us all even when it's out of our comfort zone or inconvenient. The world and it's tastes are changing, the visitor who has been coming to Port Douglas for 'the last 20 years' is not the future of Port Douglas or it's surrounds.

Future visitors will be wanting to see what they can no longer see in their own home towns and cities - nature, the rawer the better ... let's face it, we can continue to polish coconuts for the 'tourists' or we can sit back, throw the umbrella out of our drinks and let nature enthral a whole new generation of visitors.

I know what I'd rather do ...


  1. Wait. People are concerned about seaweed on the beach? Not about the rather more worrying ecological issue of algae smothering the coral on inshore reefs, but of a bit of greenery lying about, soaking up the sun, obviously not buying drinks but nonetheless nicking all the complimentary peanuts?

    Blimey. Priorities, people. There's a lot of beach and it's the edge of two wonderful, wildlife-filled worlds --- sea and land.

    Still, it's about time someone did something about those soldier crabs. Digging holes, leaving untidy little balls of sand everywhere. Tripping hazard, that's what they are.

  2. LMAO! great comment - cheers.

  3. Great post. Beachcombing, I get. Beachraking is just plain absurd. How can people not appreciate a stunning seaweed ensemble.

  4. I'm with you Holly - how can they not? - thanks hugely for the comment


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