Our first coral cay: Lady Elliott Island

Aerial of Lady Elliott coral cay on a sunny day!

Aerial of Lady Elliott coral cay on a sunny day! We anchored at the bottom right hand corner of the island.

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, 9 miles out!

Lady Elliott, 9 miles out!

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.

Pod of humpback whales

A pod of humpback whales at Lady Elliott

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.

23 thoughts on “Our first coral cay: Lady Elliott Island

  1. The BEST shots I have seen of Lady Elliott, all the scenery are terrific, I only wish I could be there. What are the charter rates ????? I will start saving now. How long is the holiday lasting,.have a great time ,it is still cold down south . FAIR WEATHER SAILING TERRY

    • Hi Terry, it’s fantastic! We love it. Every day brings a new adventure. We’ve spent a few days at Lady Musgrave and will post about it over the next days. Had a rollicking sail back to Pancake Creek to hide from the weather, but going back to the reef again! Take care. Chris & Wade

  2. Do take the time to spend a couple of weeks cruising the Capricorn Bunker Group. Plenty of good anchorages and great cays to explore both north and south of heron.

    Take the time and do dive the Heron Island bommie.

    Have good cruising.

    John Powell

    • Hi John, thanks for the tip – we are on a limited schedule this time around but will be back in a few months! Lady Musgrave was amazing and we’ll do several posts on this in the next few days. Just for our interest, how did you come across our site?

      • Definitely not the John Powell from Batesman Bay. Am a cane farmer in Mackay looking to retire to a catamaran soon. As a keen sportdiver and scuba instructor and charter boat operator for a while in earlier times i have dived most of the GBR and Coral Sea.

        Spent 4 years in Bundaberg working in the sugar industry diving the Capricorn Bunker Group in my spare time. Great area. Found your site researching sailing catamarans. Cheers

      • Great to hear about your background John and your plans yo retire to a cat – we are 2 years away from doing this ourselves!

  3. I’m dreaming of you you guys and where you are.
    John Powell may correct me; if its the John I know he lives at Batemans Bay and did a magnificent job building a Schionning Cosmos cat to survey.

  4. Oh my gosh, Chris, these are absolutely fantastic photos!! And I have to admit I’m a bit sea-green with envy over your amazing adventures 🙂 Here I’m talking with my hubby about wanting to move to frenetic New York City, and you’re experiencing this unbelievable serenity onboard your boat. I think I must be nuts! Sublime!!

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