We’re Going To Need A Bigger Sand Bucket! 1


I thought people might be interested in this picture. It is the sand pumping ship working off Palm Beach. The spray (or “rainbow”) is the sand and water being sprayed towards the beach. Gold Coast Council are replacing the sand that was eroded off the beach in a series of storms over the last few years. This year’s Beach Nourishing Project is costing the Gold Coast Council $13.9 million. The 111m long dredge Balder R, is working along parts of the Gold Coast for 16 weeks. It is a 24 hour 7 day a week operation. The dredge picks up the sand off Currumbin Beach, then either dumps it near the shore or sprays the sand and water slurry towards the beach.

Sand Pumping Dredge Spraying Sand at Palm Beach Gold Coast.

Sand Pumping Dredge Spraying Sand at Palm Beach Gold Coast.

The erosion at Palm Beach, particularly near Currumbin Creek training walls, has been so bad that there was almost a breach through to the lagoon behind the beach. The sand on the Gold Coast normally moves in a northerly direction, so sand is taken at the southern end of Palm Beach and moves to the northern end. This is why the beach is very wide on the south side of the Tallebudgera Creek training wall.

Barge, Boat, Ship or Dredge?

The media is referring to the Balder R as a barge. Given its size and I believe it sailed here from Denmark under its own power, I would have thought that makes it a boat or ship. Does anyone know?

About the Picture

I took this picture from about 3km away, with a 429mm equivalent 35mm lens. I have tried to photograph it from the actual beach, but it had finished and left in the time it took to drive to the beach. You can click on the above image to see the compressed and cropped image in a higher resolution.

More Coverage in the Media


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One thought on “We’re Going To Need A Bigger Sand Bucket!

  • JQ

    hey there!

    most of the marine data sites refer to the Balder R as a ship, and if you’re interested in trying to get more photos you can follow its movements with the “track on map” option from this page: https://www.vesselfinder.com/?imo=9578232

    (they seem to spend about an hour to an hour and a half out dredging up sand, and then about the same amount of time close to shore when rainbowing. a dump takes about 20-30mins and certainly isn’t as spectacular…)

    there don’t seem to be too many videos floating about but there is a short one from the Gold Coast here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4BizuwIHlfE
    and a longer time-lapse of when they were working in Tauranga, NZ, here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=o-40Vw25KDs

    the Balder will be here until sometime in October, so you have a while to try to get up close and personal (from the beach), good luck!