Published on: 14/02/19

DAINTREECAM Art. Living and loving our 10 natural beaches

Life’s a beach here in the Daintree. Actually, we have ten (yes 10!) beaches between the Daintree and Bloomfield Rivers, but who’s counting? In fact, there are so many beaches, that you’ll be lucky to see another soul as you set out to explore them. It’s a matter of choice. Your choice!

Driftwood at Coopers Creek , Daintree area
Mouth of Coopers Creek, via Thorntons Beach
Cape Kimberley beach
Cape Kimberley, first beach north of the Daintree River. Dense growth over shore.

There are beaches, then there are tropical beaches. Then there are tropical beaches that have escaped development. They’re quite rare and quite distinctive, especially on the continental mainland. That’s exactly what you get here in the Daintree. Undeveloped tropical beaches.

 

Dense tropical Daintree rainforest hangs out over the sand, reaching out for the easiest sunlight; The high tide borders between rainforest and sea become a refuge for bleached driftwood, flotsam, seeds and pumice. The ebb (or low) tide starts to expose different natural phenomena such as crabs, worms, and birds. Only north of the Daintree River, you’ll start to see the special fringing coral reef, kissing the mainland.

While they’re distinctive, just don’t expect the Daintree beaches to be the same.
You see, each beach has quite unique qualities, begging to be explored. The mountains, ridges, creeks, meandering coastline and that fringing reef all encourage individual differences. And they all have their own individual names, of course.

The complexity of the Daintree tropical beaches means that they collect and create myriads of organic shapes, as well as amazing textures and kaleidoscopes of colours, from subtle to crazy. And that’s without exaggerating (much)!

Millions of years of powerful natural forces such as tectonic continental rift and drift, volcanic eruption, erosion, and constant Ice Ages have created this landscape.

And powerful forces such as these can’t just sit there passively. They make a strong impression and they demand visual expression.

And that’s why it’s here, along these Daintree coast beaches, that an exciting new art movement has emerged. It started slowly and secretively. But now the secret’s starting to come out and it’s sweeping around the world as we speak.

So, forget your Impressionistic, Ottonian, Abstract, Japanese, or Cubist Art Movements!! No way. They’re all so Yesterday, maybe even yestercentury!!

This new movement is called the Daintree Ecological Coastal Art Movement. That’s a mouthful, so we call it (DAINTREECAM) for short – and it’s really hot right now. Certainly more roundist than cubist and totally inspired by nature. A hint of Gaudi’s  Catalina Modernista style, or a touch of Brett Whitely on a good day.

Crab artwork-sand bubblers
Crab artwork–bubbler crabs

Let’s start off with the Willy Wonkers of the beach. Zillions of tiny little Sand bubbler crabs creating special and unique art. Twice a day, every day around the low tides – Scraping, picking up a little “blob ” -ful of sand, sifting out (not swallowing!) all the juicy rubbish and detritus, and in the process re-cycling organic flotsam. True ecological heroes.

But that’s just the start of it. Then they re-position the “sanitized” pellets into random little artistic bubbles. As individual as snowflakes. It’s art, naturally. Sand alone is their food, their canvas, and their medium. Functionalism. All part of the DAINTREECAM.

So, check out DAINTREECAM here in the Daintree. Slowly, naturally. Bring your CAMera, and go Instagram.

A harmless Medusae style jelly blubber,
Harmless but stranded and melting Moon jelly blubber

How about this marooned blubber of jelly, quivering like a bloated belly. It has short, stumpy tentacles and is certainly not dangerous. Imagine an island melting in the sun. With 98% water, it melts quickly. Or it could be an ancient eroding Volcanic crater. Not a jelly belly, not really a fish, but a jelly blubber.

Near the water, hundreds of extruded sea worm castings, maybe piled up tidily like corded sandy turrets, or collapsed and plopping randomly in crooked coils like the work of a tipsy cake decorator.

 

You could discover ripples of wave-blown sand on the flatter beach of the region, casting shadows in the early or late sunlight.

Armies of Soldier crabs foraging at Cowie Beach
Massed soldier crabs feeding, trying to keep UK shape together. Support from Australia??.

Here’s an army invasion. Hordes of soldier crabs, Marching and Munching ravenously along the sand.

Eco-warrior soldier crabs breaking down organic matter, creating their own patterns and colours as they forage along. Art on the move. Unlike other crabs, these guys move forwards, not sideways and certainly not backwards. They should join our emu and kangaroo on the Australian Coat of Arms. We don’t need a plebiscite!

 

 

Driftwood stone washed
Sea-washed and weather-beaten trees adorn the high tide mark

Driftwood – weathered and floating, stone-washed and sanitized by salt and stripped to grey or bone-coloured bare essentials. Long distance travel might add a few barnacles for a special effect.

Sinuous driftwood sculpture by nature
Sinuous driftwood sculptures Noahs beach

Tree trunks can grow naturally twisted and sculpted lovingly into sinuous, sensual human shapes. A torso, not a bust, but busty enough, nonetheless. A shapely piece of work.

An underwater volcano has erupted half way to Chile. Discharged gases and water combine to form chunks of soft, grey aerated pumice. Tumbled and tossed in the Pacific Ocean washing machine, a year or so later finding refuge in the peace and shelter of the Coral Sea and enriching our part of the earth. By the way, it’s the perfect callous remover! They cost about 6 Quid in Boots Pharmacies in the UK, apparently!

 

Cold water heavy rain mini-geysers
Mini-geysers exposed after heavy rain. Ephemeral art, naturally

Cold-water mini-geysers? Almost, but not quite. In big rain events, water can go underground, and then Magically, Secretly, some of the water bubbles up through the sand, creating eddies, whirlpools and temporary sand ridges. Only here in the Daintree.

 

 

 

 

Stream through coloured sands
Now it’s here. Tomorrow, it may be gone

Heavy rain also makes innumerable coloured little channels, fanning out over the sand like river deltas through the desert. The angle of the light, composition of the sand, reflections and the background all make for happy snapping.

 

 

Many local shops have a little $2 booklet “Walks of the Daintree” where you’ll find all of the Daintree and more beach walks explained.

And the really really good news is that Entry to our Daintree beaches is totally free.
Local volunteer caretakers, and World Heritage recognition means that you can visit and explore without having to break the bank.
Just bring along your imagination, and your camera. Be a part of DAINTREECAM, and Instagram

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