Exciting times: we are now at the mouth of the Burnett River, near Bundaberg, our launching pad for the Great Barrier Reef. In the next few day, as soon as the weather smiles on us, we will start our Coral Sea Cruise!
We spent a bit of time at Fraser Island, enjoying the beautiful surroundings, catching up with cruising friends.
We had planned to leave for the Reef from the norhern end of Fraser Island, but a forecast northwest then southwest change to 30 knots saw us too exposed to stay there. We might have been okay in the lagoon at Wathumba Creek, which dries out at low tide, but the good spots were already taken. So we decided to go to the Burnett River and Bundaberg to wait for the right conditions. It was a long and boring motor sail across Hervey Bay but we did catch a yellowfin tuna on the trawling line!
From here, we will alternate between the Queensland coast and the reef, depending on the weather. Once the wind blows at over 20 knots, the cays and lagoons do not provide shelter and you have to go and hide in a protected bay.
It has been a long journey to get to this point. We can now slow down, and enjoy the first of hopefully many winters in these tropical waters. The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands. These stretch for more than 2,300 kilometres over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres. Because this is such a vast area, it will take multiple seasons to explore it. Our intention for this winter is to zig zag our way between the coast and the coral cays in the southern most sector, which also happens to be the least damaged by coral bleaching.
On the itinerary are Lady Elliott Island, Lady Mulgrave Island, Fitzroy Reef, North West Island, then the Keppels Group and the Swain Reefs. Here are aerial images of the first few cays and lagoons we will visit.
While out on the reef, we will have no internet, but when we come back to civilisation for re-provisioning, or to shelter from strong winds, we will be in contact again, posting on our website what we hope will be stunning images of our adventures, and reconnecting with friends and family. So don’t despair if you don’t hear from us for a while. Just know that we are having fun. And do send us comments, as it is really nice to know you enjoy our posts and always good to get your reactions.