Fisherman watches sinkhole widen before his eyes
FISHING charter operator Greg Pearce who witnessed a sinkhole carving a 200-300m hole in a section of Inskip Point beach yesterday said despite the national attention, it would be business as usual at the tourist hotspot.
The long-term Rainbow Beach business owner, who was taking a charter out yesterday morning, saw the hole growing at first light.
"As we came around along the front of Inskip there was a larger area of dirty, disturbed water with froth on top," Mr Pearce said.
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Approaching the edge of it, Mr Pearce and his four Double Island Point Fishing Charter customers watched for 15 minutes as the widening hole steadily chomped through the tree-covered beach.
"The bank was eroding at a reasonable pace, you could see trees falling over," Mr Pearce said.
"As we looked across you could see the new bay had formed and was actually getting bigger while we were watching."
Less than 24 hours earlier there had been a beach full of people lapping up the sunshine in the exact same spot, Mr Pearce said.
"It's pretty striking because of the difference from one day to the next - there was a big wide beach there with people all over it and the next day it's water."
But Mr Pearce said the latest slip, that comes three years after one engulfed a caravan, 4WD, camper trailer and tents near the Sarawak campgrounds, is nothing for holidaymakers to panic about.
"They don't happen very quickly - it's not as if everything drops away in a second," he said.
The erosion, estimated at 200-300m wide and 7.5m deep, has not affected any campsites or access to the Fraser Island barge crossing point.
Mr Pearce believes there will be no long terms affects and the beach will return naturally.
"It's maybe even a tourist attraction, once everything settles down it will probably turn into a nice bay for people to swim in and nice fishing spot."
"That's been the case with all the other holes, they've always returned to into a nice natural feature on the beach for people to enjoy.
"It's just part of our normal natural Inkip Point beach movement."
A QPWS said the erosion was most likely caused by the undermining of part of the shoreline by tidal flow, waves and currents.
"When this occurs below the waterline, the shoreline loses support and a section slides seaward leaving a hole, the edges of which retrogress back towards the shore," a QPWS spokesman said.