I have always been interested and fascinated by Mangroves since I started studying them as an Unit in a Horticultural Course I attempted at Geraldton TAFE many years ago. I gave up the course when I got bogged in all the Maths required to calculate things I did not understand, and kept the interest in plants that make adaptations for survival, namely Desert Plants and Mangroves.
Recently I went searching for more information because now I am living in the middle of a Mangrove National Park and daily walking to the Point where I admire and photograph the mangroves there. These trees have to be over a 100 years old. They look old and are old and have been here since the water started to take over the land in the process called erosion. I have not been able to find the detailed information I was given at the Course and wish I still had my notes and documents.
The Mangrove survives in a very hostile environment. They have to adapt leaves to extract oxygen from salt water, the roots go in all directions and the tiny saplings that try to start get eaten by fishes and crabs and knocked away by the rocks pounding the tides in and out from the shore. The roots that emerge out of the mud are covered with mud and look quite dead, slimy and unexciting, yet this is what gives the mangrove its existence. It is always searching for survival. The tides move in and out quite fast, and they too are effecting the mangroves
The trunks are gnarled and sometimes with lichen and mostly weathered by the pounding winds and water. A few ants wander the trunks but mostly they are left alone to battle their own way through life, which they successfully do as they have survived so long in this environment.
The shapes and patterns of the Mangroves are intricate and show the weathering of the winds and the water in their anguished twists and turns and directional growths. There is a stillness in the mangroves and the birds hunt silently the small fish and crabs they see scuttling into their holes for cover. The birds in the trees are motionless as they watch any intruder to their world. There are few birds calling out, and the only voice is that of the winds when it blows from over the sea barely moving the glossy leaves of the mangroves.
There is a peace in this silence as if you have wandered into a world where you too have to move quietly to be at peace with the silence. You watch the water and it only moves when the tide is coming in or when the odd dinghy with its occupants hiding their faces weaves its way to search crab pots.
The tide comes in fast and furiously covering the rocks and the shore and any jetties that may be there when the tide is high and the moon is full. Then the mangroves are under water only their glossy leaves visible and there is no land to be seen just the mangroves in the water and silence.
Its always silent here where the mangroves grow, where one can walk at low tide and occasionally see a bird standing motionless waiting for a fish to swim by. The birds are not as many. Long beaked terns march resolutely beside the outgoing tide but when the tidal retreat has cased, the birds go elsewhere and all is still as the heron waiting silently beside the water on a distant shore.