We have been in Cairns for a week, attending to land and boat things while the wind was blowing too much to be at the Outer Reef. We were anchored in the river, the furthest out, to be out of everybody’s way as the area in front of the Cairns Marina is known as the skating rink – boats drag anchor and slip-slide into each other. Where we were, the holding was good and we did not have to fret over other boats careering into us.
It is quite a milestone for us to get this far north. I used to come to Cairns to do consulting work a couple of times a year and often dreamt of getting here on our boat. And now we have done it! It is such a scenic place with the high hills of the Great Dividing Range covered in rainforest coming right down to the ocean.
We have had a nice time and have been on a bit of a shopping spree: bits and pieces to continue updating gear and to add extra colour to our homeware.
The AIS (Automatic Identification System) on Anui had been playing up for a while and needed replacing. For those who don’t know, AIS equipment is used to display information about your boat and other vessels such as their unique identification, position, course and speed. We find it an extremely useful safety and monitoring device. We ordered a Vesper, an updated model of what we had on Take It Easy and had it sent to the Cairns Post Office. As usual, it was a bugger to install and connect to our Time Zero navigation software, but it is now all sorted. We can spot other vessels, and they can see us!
Wade has resealed a couple of deck hatches and hopefully fixed a stubborn leak on one of our large starboard windows.
And apart from boat gear, the next most important thing on board Anui is photographic equipment. I was lucky to be spoilt for my birthday. I will just say: Digital Diver! But just to be sure you get the picture: Wade bought me a new Ikelite underwater housing, dome lens and tray for my Olympus.
And notice our new watermark for underwater photography – I could not have my albatross drowning every time we showed underwater images! It took a bit of time to work out how to do it but it looks pretty good, don’t you think?
The camera housing set up is all looking very professional and promising not only for dives beyond 15m, but especially for those amazing over-under-shots which I would like to learn to take. Split-shots as they are also called allow us to see topside subjects like boats or islands while also seeing underwater subjects like the coral reef, fish or snorkelers. Ideally you want both over and under views to be in focus.
When it comes to photography, as a friend puts it, I have now got things fully covered: the Canon 7DII for over the surface, the Olympus TG5 for underwater, and the Mavic Air DJI Drone for aerial shots!
While on the subject of camera equipment, my Canon 7DII is off for repair at the moment, as it has suddenly decided not to fire up. We suspect that the salty environment is not doing it much good! We’ll see. One suggestion from Digital Diver was to buy a plastic container, put a few Silica Gel Desiccant pouches in and store the cameras in that when not in use… a good suggestion for those of us who have the photographic bug and live aboard! While the 7D is at the doctors, I have reverted to using my Canon 60D, which I fortunately kept as a spare. It is not doing too bad a job, even in low light, when we enjoy beautiful sunsets as you can see from these images.
Provisioning done, bits and pieces collected, we are ready to go again. We are keen to stay in the area though, since Cairns is the gateway to the Outer Reef: so close and so attractive! Lots to explore in the right conditions, as you can see from the map below.
Today as we post this we have been at Milln Reef since Saturday morning. It is a little bit stronger than ideal, but we are on the public mooring so quite comfortable and the snorkeling has been great with big fish about!