We are finally back at the Great Barrier Reef and are introducing our friends Greg & Ann to the joys of reef hopping. We have chosen the old faithful, Lady Musgrave, as the first in a series of reef anchorages.
We had a lovely screecher sail from Burnett Heads to the Lady Musgrave Lagoon, arriving there at low tide with plenty of visibility. It is fantastic place to introduce our friends to the Reef: the experience of the coral cay appearing on the horizon, the magnificent colours as you enter the lagoon, the relatively protected, vast and varied environment. There were quite a few other boats in there, but we were lucky enough to pick up a mooring, which was a bonus.
Just quietly, Wade and I were a little apprehensive about our return to the Reef, wondering how we would find the coral after the last round of bleaching. Luckily the Capricorn & Bunker group has been spared from the worst of it and we could not see any more damage than during our pre-Christmas visit. It is far from perfect, but we can still be wowed!
We got into the swing of things quickly: leisurely pace in warm conditions, walks on the coral cay, a couple of snorkels each day amongst the many fish and turtles, tasty meals, colourful sunsets, all very relaxing! It is our turn to experience the reef and cruising adventure vicariously, with our friends enjoying wonderful new discoveries.
We got Ann comfortable with snorkeling in the shallows and Greg better able to equalise his ears. The lagoon is large and there are many spots to explore outside of the green protection zone where most people and tourist charters go. We tried a couple of areas we had not been to before and were pleasantly surprised, swimming through clouds of little fish and groups of larger drummers and sweet lips. The coral showed some damage, but overall was reasonable. And for newcomers, it was all quite exciting . Wade was able to spear us some fish, so sashimi, baked fish, fish patties and ceviche were on the menu!
We stayed at Lady Musgrave for 5 nights and were able to get in the water on all but one day when it blew hard. We were safe even if it was a little noisy and jiggly. And stormy days end with spectacular sunsets!
We were able to enjoy more exploring in the lagoon as soon as fair weather returned, then hopped to the next lagoon, enjoying a great sail and gentle conditions. Stay tuned for a feature on Fitzroy Reef in our next post!