Back to Milln Reef

With Cairns being the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, we were eager to go back to the reef as soon as we had conditions we were comfortable with. We were lucky and returned to stunning Milln Reef, 30 miles offshore, for a few days.

We had fun: great sail from Cairns, and other than a couple of dive boats, no-one around, even on a weekend! It was a good opportunity to try the new camera gear, although not calm enough for split shots.

Ikelite gear at work
Chris with her new toy

What we did find were BIG fish: some colourful and pretty, some only a mother could love. It is as if with the stronger conditions there was more food about which attracted the larger species.

The Green Bumphead Parrotfish was one that won the ugliest face contest: a big hump on the head and teeth like a horse. These are the largest Parrotfish, up to 1.5m long and produces 90 kilos of sand each year.

Bumphead Parrotfish
Bumphead Parrotfish so big I had to back pedal to fit it in the frame!

Another big Parrotfish was the Steephead, also with a bump on the head but very colourful and not as imposing at about 70cm long.

Steephead Parrotfish
Steephead Parrotfish with a Ray I had not noticed!

We were amazed by the schools of Surgeonfish: at least 40 individuals! They went past us as if we were just part of the coral on the side of the gutters.

School of Surgeonfish
Dark Surgeonfish on a mission

And then there were the not so big and really attractive species: Emperor Angelfish, Black & White Snapper, Barrier Reef Anemonefish, Moorish Idol and so many more! Here is a slide show for you.

So despite there being more movement in the water that tossed us about a little, we had a great time and the water was crystal clear for amazing underwater seascapes.


Trips to the Outer Reef are always a bit brief but so rewarding. You take the opportunity when you can, then when the forecast dictates, you head back to the coast. Off to Fitzroy Island next!

16 thoughts on “Back to Milln Reef

  1. Good Morning,
    Great shots
    A couple of questions, what type of laptop do you use for editing your photos and videos ?
    Also what influenced you on the AIS device that you chose, just about to purchase one myself,

    • Hi Rod, I use a Dell XPS 15 9560 and edit all photos with Lightroom and sometimes Photoshop. Videos we don’t do often but I have Adobe Premiere Elements.

      Re the AIS we chose a Vesper Marine Vision 2 because we think it is the best system for us: stand alone, good anchor alarm. We run the navigation software off a laptop. We had an earlier version of the Vesper on our previous boat and were very happy with it. Hope this helps.

  2. Love the ‘depth’ in the seascape with coral on either side and rippled sand on the seabed.

    • Thanks Paul, yes this shot shows the gutters well and the clarity of the water! I think the dome lens really helps too with the depth of field… better than with the bare camera.

    • Hi Amanda, yes, new watermark for the underwater shots…. I could not let our albatross drawn! As for the lens, very happy. I think there is more depth of field in the seascapes, and greater clarity in the shots. Where are you now?

  3. Hello there I think I have just seen every sea photo you have ever taken…….I pressed something and all your trips followed in photo. Such beauty. And even some of Brittany and France. Thank you for sharing.have fun at Milln Reef. With lovefrom us both.

  4. What a thrill to go back to Milln. I loved the big fish and the gully, so rich in colour and life. Glad you love your new equipment ❤️ Sue

    • Hi Sue, we thought of you especially when we revisited the little clump with the anemonefish, but it was amazing to go a bit further north along the reef and to see much bigger fish than we had together. They were huge and patrolled right past us… a but unnerving but fun!

    • Howdy Craig, you make us giggle! It is nice that you know what Anui feels like inside… a better understanding than just through photos 😍 We still pinch ourselves nine months later and feel very lucky! As for being at the Reef, it is amazing. We can’t get enough of it.

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