We got up early the morning of our last day on Fraser Island hoping to drive up the beach to the barge landing area and catch the first barge to the mainland. We knew the tide was going to be high but we didn’t know it was going to be an extreme king tide. Combine the king tide with stormy conditions are large swell and we had ourselves a recipe for a 4WD burial.
We got to a point on the beach which was not passable due to high tide. With memories of my old Suzuki Sierra still fresh, I decided to tackle the shoulder of the beach at the base of the dunes, which was clear of water but rather narrow and sloping down towards a large drop off into the surf of the beach below. It was a stupid thing to do even without the extreme tide. The rear end of the car slid down towards the drop off, posing an immediate rollover hazard. I stopped, lowered tyre pressure, put the maxtrax under the rear tyres and tried to proceed further up the shoulder of the beach and away from danger. No good – the beach was sloping too steeply and the rear end of the car slid further down. The left rear wheel was about 30cm from the drop off. The waves were crashing over the top of the drop off and eroding it away. This was a dangerous situation. Even just leaving the vehicle in position would have likely caused it to roll onto its side and into the surf as the drop off was eroded by the high tide and large swell. We had to get it a safe distance from the edge and we had to do it quickly.
Three hours later and after a lot of sweat and effort, we had hand winched the car to safety.
The photo of the bogging was when I first stopped. After attempting to drive out the car was considerably closer to the drop off. We didn’t take any more photos because we were too busy trying to clench our sphincter muscles and recover the car.
After the near catastrophe we decided to wait for the tide to recede. We found a coconut washed up on the beach and split it open, hoping to find a tasty treat. Not to be – it was rotten. The bad luck didn’t continue all day. A few hours later the tide was low enough to drive safely on the beach and soon after we were on the barge. Only 6 hours behind schedule.