Back to Coral Cays

After spending 5 days weathering a blow at Low Isles, we were keen to move on! Although it was still a bit windy, we decided to sail to Double Island, 20 miles southeast for a change of scenery. Only one problem, it was dead upwind of us. We thought: “we are in no hurry, let’s not motor there and try tacking”. Now anyone who knows us realises we don’t do tacking. Well after spending six hours doing six tacks in 18 knots of headwind to cover the distance, our dislike for tacking is confirmed! So many miles, so much effort for so little progress!

We spent two nights at Double Island. As soon as the wind eased we were off to revisit Michaelmas Cay and check out Upolu Cay. We love Michaelmas with its bird rookery and great shelter. The cay is at the edge of Michaelmas Reef which itself is located inside Arlington Reef – a reef within a reef – so you can sit in 18 knots of wind in relative comfort.

The big booby and the big canoe!

We went ashore to visit the birdies after the tour boats and tourist crowds were gone. Here is a gallery. As usual, click on the first image to display in full screen slide show and to see the captions.

We had a snorkel. I went searching for Nemo’s family which I had found last time, but could not locate them. However here are a few other finds.

We made water to top up our tanks then moved to Upolu Cay. Now this is a shy little sand cay! In 2011 Cyclone Yasi blew its top right off and since then it only makes an appearance at very low tide. In fact although we enjoyed the magnificent graduations of colour, we waited and waited, but the elusive cay did not dry out. You could see the sand underwater and walk on it in knee deep water but what is there is a sand bank rather than a sand cay! So no aerial photo to show you, since I am not game enough to launch the drone from the boat yet… well actually land it on Anui!

Beautiful graduations but no sand cay in sight!
Can you see the sand cay trying to poke its sandy bits out in the centre of the photo?

Now for a change of mood. We have to get something off our chest. Are you ready?

What is it with people who turn up in an anchorage, drop their pick right in front of your boat when there is plenty of space elsewhere, start dragging AND don’t turn on their anchor light at night? And what about those that pick up a mooring which happens to be right in front of your own boat but is far too small for the size of their vessel AND don’t turn on their all round white light at night? Grrh! These cruisers should get hit by another boat in the night. Maybe, just maybe they’d get the message their practices are dangerous as well as illegal! Whinge over – thanks for listening.

We are now back in Cairns for re-provisioning and we pick up Murray and Maree later today then are starting our trek south. They will be with us for two weeks. Let’s hope we don’t have to tack all the way to the Whitsundays!

16 thoughts on “Back to Coral Cays

  1. Is there a maritime authority you can report the boat number to regarding the bad decisions by these people? The photos are so beautiful as always guys! 👍🏻😍😎

  2. Do you think a gentle approach to these offenders would help or are they beyond listening

    Loved the birds as usual

    • We pointed out to both they were either too close or on too small a buoy for their size but they did not care! Some people just don’t get it!

  3. Sound off with the fog horn to get their attention. If necessary keep doing it until they move away. (Or the polite alternatives are to either move yourself or ask them to give you more swing room. – Done both)

  4. Wonderfull photos all! I was thrilled by the bird’s photos. Some people behave badly whether in the ocean or on land. Take care, Chris. 🙂

    • We thought of you HJ with the birds. You would have loved seeing them in such numbers!
      And yes there are the odd troublesome people, but fortunately they are in the minority!

  5. Great pics Chris
    That’s where I did some of my Diving many years ago. Great to see the Reefs are still in good condition.

    • Hi Waz, the Outer Reefs are in good condition but the inner reefs are badly affected by runoff. It seems to have got worse in the last few years as friends who spent time at the inner reefs 2 or 3 years ago described some areas as coral gardens when what we have seen is devastation: hardly anything left alive.

  6. Thanks Chris and Wade for bringing the beauty of the tropical reefs into our Scottish living room as our winter approaches! As usual, the bird and fish photos are amazing!

    • Hi Elgar – Glad you enjoy the posts.
      Sometimes we worry our followers will get sick of the reef stories but it is so outstanding out here that we think it is worth sharing.

  7. Hi guys, yes, the tacking to windward often is frustrating; that’s what motors are for ! Have you heard the quote “gentlemen definitely do NOT sail to windward” ? On that subject I recently, (on a delivery,) took 12 hrs motoring into a Northerly gale around 35-40 kts going the 18ml Seal Rocks to Hastings !! That’s about 1.5kt average, and in the dark, too !

    I really loved the boobies and tern photos in this edition.

    • Hi Doug, yes tacking has knobs on! It was a good reminder but passed the time!

      Aren’t the birds amazing?! We really enjoyed Michaelmas. We never realised the male boobies have such amazing blue beaks and green feet!

  8. Idiots Afloat! We had a small boat in front of us yesterday with ‘kids’ in it (start of the school holidays) drift fishing. All looking the other way. I yelled from the front cockpit ‘Do you guys know how close you are’. “Yes, close’ was the answer when one turned around put the engine on and just angled a bit off -to continue drift fishing and not looking. They had to move a second time to not run into us! They were within 10 meters when I called and heading straight for us. I should have taken a photo. We jibe that people who don’t anchor properly and too close are from Sydney (boaters in Port Jackson are particularly careless and tend to invade ‘personal space’) -any other ‘idiot’ tends to be from Qld (Note I am not tarring all Qlders with the idiot tag, just the other ‘idiots’ tend to not give a damn (or thought about anyone else) which we find is a typical Qld attitude). I know I am casting aspersions but the attitudes of certain areas prevail. I will however look forward to hearing the names of such boats when we catch up -always good to have a list of potential idiots to avoid!

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