There is an old question of whether stilt mangroves need to have a trunk running down to the ground or can survive held up by stilts alone. On a recent trip up the Blind Barron, near Cairns, Australia, I found my answer. The mangroves in this strange place appear to be walking over the mud until they fall like lemmings into the creek. Some living mangroves are even defying gravity and are hovering over the water, supported entirely by no more than a few skinny stilts.
|Rhizophora (stilt) mangroves hovering over the creek|
Going up the creek was like being in a tunnel with a fallen roof. Stilt roots reached out over the creek from both side for almost 2 metres. It was a case of going in on a very low tide to get under the overhanging stilt roots. It is a creepy place and was famous for having a large crocodile.
|Close to entrance of Blind Barron|
The creek tapers quickly and becomes impassable by boat as the fallen trees block the way through. Normally creeks maintain their width with erosion on one site and regrowth of mangrove on the other. I have never seen encroachment from both sides at once and this probably relates to the origin of this creek.
|As far as boats will go|