Two magnificent days at South West Herald Cay

Every cay you spend time at is different, and some have a special feel. This was the case at South West Cay, part of the Herald Cays Group which was smaller, seemed more remote, wilder than all the others.

The sky was teeming with birds flying and the air filled with the loud clamor of their screeches day and night. It is hard to describe the density of birdlife but this image might give you a glimpse.

The coral bommies surrounded us too, most deep enough to float over but looking like dark shadows around our boats. Somehow nature seemed to have concentrated its treasures into one tight spot. It was not roomy like North East Cay or East Diamond, and the anchorage we chose was tight, but you felt very much in the middle of it all, close to the action. It was sublime.

Anchored 100m from the beach

We loved it there and enjoyed the abundant birdlife, the scenery from the beach, the intensity of colours, the fish life during our snorkels, the aerial views we discovered thanks to the drone. It is the concentration of life over and under the waterline, the closeness to it all that were so special. We packed a lot in during our two days at South West Cay too while the weather held: beach walks, several snorkels, we cooked treats, enjoyed a meal on the beach with Windsong, watched for the elusive green flash at sunset.

Here is what we saw under the surface: denuded pinnacles peppered with attempts at coral recovery.

  • Christmas Tree Worm
  • Clown Triggerfish
  • Titan Triggerfish
  • Bluefin Trevallies
  • Humphead Maori Wrasse
  • Humpnose Unicornfish

And we could not resist sending the drone far and high for a few flights to get a spectacular view of South West Cay and capture the essence of this wild place. This image now features proudly in our saloon.

Two specs in a wild place

While we were flying the drone, Simon and Amanda were taking over/under images with their GoPro and dome lens from their dinghy. Here is one of several they took highlighting the clarity of the water. Thanks guys!

The clearest of water
Evening ashore – photo by Amanda Anderson

With stronger wind forecast within a few days, we left South West Cay in the middle of the night, heading for what turned out to be our last stop in the Coral Sea: the Holmes Reef. See you there in our next post!

18 thoughts on “Two magnificent days at South West Herald Cay

  1. Thank you for sharing these wonderful remote places. The drone has been a real bonus – a good toy to have even if it bites Wadie! The colours and the wildlife are spectacular.

  2. Amazing as always miss you lovely people and so excited to follow your journeys ⛵️

  3. Both the clear-water photo and the first one of the birds are extraordinary . . . I can imagine the attendant noise accompanying the first . . .

    • Hi Eha, the bird noise was something else! These places are so stunning, I just hope our photos and words convey the joy we felt. Our friends’ over/under image is sensational. We are very grateful they gave us a collection of those amazing shots.

  4. Coral reefs have the unique quality that you can see wonder in a single polychaete worm at a macro level, and then from high in the sky see the extraordinary colours and formations that all of those tiny individuals, together, create.
    Thanks again for sharing the ‘Wow’

  5. Wow! Love the first bird flock pic ….. you could almost hear the noise of a Hitchcock movie!
    Looks like you’re putting your deep diving skills to good use …. epic stuff guys. Takes me away from being swaddled up on a Glaswegian couch with covid ;-(

    • Oh no, you haven’t escaped the dreaded plague! Glad we can bring some distraction to you, Elgar! And you are not kidding about the noise of the bird flock! Take care and talk to you again in a few days!

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