Visit from family and studying North Stradbroke Island
Cousin Cadan, Aunt Katie, & Uncle Grant visited for 2 weeks! It was so nice seeing family. We did not waste anytime showing them around Brisbane and hitting the beaches. We visited Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary where Cadan got to feed Roo's and Mia had her RooFood stolen by an emu. The cousins loved chasing each other around the Bottle Tree in the local park.
While Cadan headed up north to the tropics we headed to North Stradbroke Island for the weekend to study sand island geology and ecology. We took a walk through a mangrove swamp learning about how these plants survive in the harsh environment at the edge of the ocean and then explored the mud flats of Morton Bay where we discovered a rich assortment of marine life (sea cucumbers & swimmer crab are shown)! We topped the day off by sinking ourself in the mud!
North Stradbroke is the second largest sand island in the world (yep, just big piles of pure sand covered by a eucalypt forest). Basically its a series of a about a dozen giant dunes that formed when sea levels dropped during the last three major ice ages. The group photo is from the top of one of the youngest dunes formed about 5 thousand years ago, however there are 500,000 yr old dunes as well. After exploring the dune we hit the beach (lead the way Alice!) where we studied the plants that colonize the newest dunes. Oh did we mention that it warm and sunny Down Under?