Our third coral cay on this trip, Masthead Island, offers a different seascape again. A long strip of Pisonia forest with a thin beach of crushed coral all around and reef exposed at low tide, you can only access the island with ease at high tide. At low tide the fringing reef makes it impossible to land the dinghy.
We anchored close to the reef. The first night was a little rowdy, but as the wind and sea abated, it all became much more comfortable. Here you have to time your activities with the tides. We were lucky low tide was early afternoon, so we got ashore in the morning, were able to do a long walk right around the island, enjoy the birdlife and collect shells, then head back to Take It Easy.
By noon it was time for a snorkel – not a lot of colour in the coral, but interesting shapes: flat leaves, rounded balls… Without the protection of a lagoon, different species of coral and fish have to struggle against the attacks of waves and wind. You can see the effect of storms too, with dead coral torn away.
The birds were not as varied and plentiful as we expected. This cay is supposed to be renowned for its rich birdlife, but we are probably here in the wrong season. We did see lots of reef egrets, terns, oyster catchers and seagulls, several sea eagles and a kingfisher, so we can’t complain too much!
But what was really special was to have this deserted island to ourselves. The aqua colour of the water contrasting with the white sand was stunning. The tree trunks and roots which the predominant winds and sea had pushed over on the exposed end of the island made for interesting photos. This was another great reef experience.
Here is a selection of our favourite photos.