Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Moreton Island 3 day Wintersun bikepack - day 1

I've said it before, Moreton Island is truly the jewel in the crown for Brisbane fatbike adventurers.

When a good mate Neil mentioned he was heading over to Moreton for a beach bikepacking trip  (bikepacking is where you load up your bike with the bare minimum of gear, instead of loading up the 4wd with nearly the entire BCF catalogue) I volunteered as tour guide to share a favourite route of mine. It had the lot. Beautiful beaches, inland tracks, fresh water lagoons and streams, rideable sand blows and plenty of 'type 2 fun' physical challenges.

Neil has a great blog, he writes about a diverse range of topics and will have his story up of this weekend any day now. It is also a treasure trove of trail information on SEQ tracks - highly recommended read!

My day started early, with a ride from home out to the Micat ferry terminal, from which it's a pleasant 70 minute trip over to the island.

There are plenty of places to stuff a fatbike on the Micat.

The beach was firm right up to the high tide mark, with a bit of rain about.

The Alpha lineup, my compadres on this trip were Tony, Paul and Neil. I hoped they were ready for some of my type 2 fun. I was on my Rohloffed Moonlander, Tony was on his titanium Muru Witjira, Paul on the Specialised Fatboy, and Neil on arguably the second most capable bike in the world - the loaner! (second only to the rental) Wayne (another fatbiking mate), the owner of the loaner, was off on a bikepacking trip in Korea, so what happened to the loaner on the trip...stays on the trip ;)

We all kinda got lost in our thoughts, just turning the legs over as the km passed by. Light sprinkles of rain came and went, as we traversed bay after bay, until the final turn around Comboyuro Point. We were often under the watchful eyes of sea eagles, whistling kites, pelicans and pied oyster catchers.

Heath Island is a dynamic region on the North-West of the island - with a lagoon/billabong at the base of Yellow Patch - a giant sand blow. The tidal outflow constantly shapes the beachfront, as a consequence our path meandered randomly according to firm sand and open gaps between tree deadfall.

We rounded North point to overlook Honeymoon Bay and a quick stop for lunch. The rain was slowly setting in - a nice hot cuppa-soup and a Nutella English fruit muffin filled the void and warmed the belly.

A quick push around the point, purely for the drill and a prelude for the trails I had in mind over the next few days.

The views from Cape Moreton are fantastic - off in the distance we spied whales breaching.

...and we thought we had issues with the wind...

...but little did he know he was being pursued by a mother Humpback and her calf!

Our journey took us along the East beach, through 6 or 7 fresh water lagoon outlets, stopping off at Blue Lagoon to top off the water bags, take in the view, enjoy the significant birdlife and ponder the lives of all who have called this region home over the years.

We chose a campsite not far south of Middle Rd, on the East beach. Plenty of room for all - even the snorers :)

Simplicity for me, the tarp for the errant shower and bug net there just in case. For the tech curious: I'm using a Gram Counter silnylon footprint; Klymit X-frame inflatable pad; Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina 32 synthetic bag; Sea-to-Summit 1p bugnet; Integral Designs 2p silnylon tarp. Contrast to all that - the pillow is 2 microfiber towels stitched together to form a drawstring pocket, filled with the sleeping bag drybag, gloves, neck gaiter, hat and Arcteryx synthetic insulated vest.

We cooked dinner, engaged in conversation, some had wine and cheese and we all enjoyed the final light of day fade.

...some did it with more style than others. Paul just needed a matching tweed dinner jacket and pipe - those slippers were a classic!

Speaking of food - a bit more tech: dinner was a cheap, reliable staple of mine - Couscous and foil tuna. Only need a small amount of water to re-hydrate and requires no fussing - so you've got hands free to do other things. My trick is to use unflavoured couscous, then flavour it with a noodle cuppa soup like Italian Minestrone - adds a bit of colour, flavour and floaties that resemble hydrated vegetables. Couscous packs a punch calorie wise too, easy to store, great shelf life. Mix the tuna in whenever you like. I prefer tuna in oil varieties, it lubricates the couscous, adds a few more calories and increases satiety. I used Salmon in foil packs on the Iditarod, less chance of the flesh freezing with a higher oil content. Takes about 250ml of water to hydrate the 1/2 cup dry couscous and soup mixture, and wash up the kit (which is just swish some water around the cup and consume).

I'm using a Kovea ti stove, 600mL alloy pot (canister and stove nest into pot) Sea-to-Summit collapsible cup, MSR folding spoon, 500mL bottle with Hydroflask flip cap.

...and of course dessert. Never go to bed depleted!


  1. I think I might have to move north of the boarder?!

  2. I'm definitely going to try your couscous recipe next time :)