Just on schedule, as soon as our friend Sue arrived on board, the SE came up with a vengeance and we have been hiding ever since, patiently waiting for the wind to ease!
We sheltered in Woodwark Bay, north of Airlie Beach for a while, fishing and beach walks being the main occupation. A few breams and a school shark fed us for days!
We were all keen on a snorkel. A brisk sail to Blue Pearl Bay on Hayman Island blew the cobwebs away and we were rewarded with a very nice snorkel. Although the reef is in poor condition with a lot of storm damage, the fish life is abundant, especially all sorts of parrotfish which are vital for reef recovery. You can hear them munching on the coral, and while they are busy doing this, you can get quite close to them. One was particularly fun to watch as it would stand vertically, letting the cleaner fish do they work on its tail and cheeks! So although not as vibrant as the outer reef, it was still enjoyable.
The underwater images were taken with the Olympus TG5 camera. My TG4 gave up the ghost after a few years of abuse when we came back from the reef. Disaster… I can’t be without an underwater camera! But Mackay Camera House came to the rescue and posted the updated model overnight to Airlie’s post office! We were impressed with the service and are very pleased with the camera. The autofocus works quickly and the camera delivers lively and vibrant shots even in low light. Shooting in raw format rather than jpeg also helps with fine-tuning the images back on board with the Lightroom software.
Back on dry land, we said hello to the four Ospreys on Black Island, spent a night at Stonehaven and are now off to the Cairn, a walk at the northern end of Whitsunday Island. More on that later!
We are keeping our fingers crossed that the wind will abate enough to let us return to the Outer Reef. But in the meantime we are having fun.