When you have been at sea for hours, with nothing but ocean as far as the eye can see all around you, arriving at a coral cay is quite an experience. We reached our first coral islet last Thursday. We have been out of internet coverage, so for the next few posts we are playing catch up.
Lady Elliott is the first cay in the chain of reefs comprising the Great Barrier Reef. It has a small tourist resort, a lighthouse and does not really encourage yachties to come ashore. But it is a stopping point offering reasonable shelter in light conditions, even if there is a bit of movement overnight.
All you see at first, about 10 miles out, is a strip of land with dark vegetation. Then as you get close, you notice the colour of the water changes from inky black on a cloudy day to aqua, and a line of breaking waves appears along the fringing reef.
The passage from Fraser to Lady Elliott was eventful, with lots of whales in the distance, and dolphins frolicking at our bows, an absolute delight for all of us. We anchored on the lee side of the islet, just outside the coral reef, the only yacht there, although a few tourist barges were moored. Beautiful birds greeted us – terns, brown boobies, but the most amazing sight was seeing a pod of humpback whales go past, very close to shore though in deep water. There were also a school of reef sharks fishing nearby, even a turtle swam past. Then a brief shower came down and with it a glorious rainbow and sensational sunset. What a start to our reef experience!
Here are a few images of our passage from Fraser Island and our arrival at Lady Elliott. In the next post we will introduce you to another coral cay we have spent a few days at.