Last Reef Stop at Lady Musgrave

For our last reef anchorage of the season, we sailed from Fitzroy Reef to Lady Musgrave. With the wind on our beam, main and screecher up, it was a spirited, enjoyable sail.

We got to Lady Musgrave in the middle of the day on low tide. With 15 boats already in the lagoon we thought our chances of getting a public mooring were non-existent. We had identified a possible anchorage away from people but close to the island. However as luck would have it, one mooring was vacant and we picked it up.

Lady Musgrave Lagoon entrance, a tad narrow

No sooner were we hooked up that we got ready for a snorkel, dinghying to the Northern reef wall. The water was disappointingly murky, and if there were turtles around, we just could not see them! But the coral was surprisingly healthy and fish life reasonable along the reef edge.

The highlight of our first dive was this magnificent sea anemone in graduations of red, orange, pink and purple. The pink anemonefish and juvenile domino damsel dwellers were so tiny and shy they were impossible to photograph. So in the end this gallery simply focuses on the colour and texture of the stunning host! Click on the first image to view each photo in full screen and see more details.

Sea anemones are more than just a bunch of tentacles. What many people think are pretty “plants” are actually slow moving carnivores with a hunger for fish. They clone themselves, maneuver around rocks, fight for territory, and eat everything from microscopic plankton to unsuspecting crabs and fish. Don’t underestimate these beautiful flowers of the sea.

We went back the next day when the visibility was slightly better and were able to spot turtles. So as promised, here are the best shots of the Green Sea Turtles we saw. One was resting on the coral, then took off. Later we spotted it again, just hanging mid water, swimming slowly around Chris, unafraid and curious. Moments like this are special.

No drone photos this time as the wind was just too strong and our fear of water landings too great.

We ended up leaving Lady Musgrave on the third day, headed for the coast and Burnett Heads. The wind has been very inconsistent and we hesitated between staying on in the lagoon for a few more days or taking a reasonable window allowing us to sail rather than motor southward. We made the right call, enjoying a 55nm rollicking sail with the wind on our tail, screecher and jib goose winged, swooshing towards the mainland at 10-12 knots speed. We could have had the spinnaker up instead, but with strengthening winds and thunderstorms forecast, we thought it would be easier to manage the two jibs, rather than the divorce sail!

Stopping at Burnett Heads also gave us a chance to replenish our supplies and catch up with long lost friends before continuing on our southward run to Fraser Island and the Sandy Straits.

19 thoughts on “Last Reef Stop at Lady Musgrave

  1. Lots of terrific things going on for you in this latest post…
    Lovely corals, fish and turtles, and getting 10-12 knots!! I’m jealous!!
    What a great life!!

    • Hi Waz, we have had a pretty good year and the last few weeks have been great. We have been lucky with the weather. Sounds like you had a fun time in the Whitsundays too.

  2. Wow, the sea turtle is so beautiful, even in murky water. I love the photos of the sails opened up! I had no idea that that creature can move around and eat everything as it goes along, scary! What do you mean by a Divorce Sail? Safe travels! 🇦🇺❤️

    • The ‘divorce’ sail is the nick name often given to the spinnaker. Huge and can be hard to handle. It can create havoc and a great deal of disagreement between cruising couples if the conditions change!

      • Oh, okay! I’ve never heard that one obviously. As a kid I raced small sailboats on the inland lake we grew up on so I am familiar with the word Spinnaker. Thanks!

  3. This land lubber with a peculiar sense of humour is smiling that these days there seem to be parking lots even on water !

  4. I see that you’re shooting close ups now, it shows more impressive views. Have fun, my friend! 🙂

  5. Great shots of the stunning Sea Anenome Chris. A stunning one with such an array of beautiful colours. Your photos capture that really well. I think we did have better water clarity at LM when we visited only a few days earlier as you suggested. I do like your speed!! Missed our photography catch-ups this season so hopefully we’ll meet up somewhere next season. Safe travels.

    • Thanks Amanda, that anemone was the pick of the underwater shots at LM. Let’s hope we can spend more time together next season sailing, sharing anchorages and snorkeling. We do enjoy your company.

  6. I have never heard of the term ‘divorce sail’ either, but can definately understand it…..Great photos as usual

  7. Love, love love your turtle photos, Chris! And the sea anemone is just gorgeous! Hope that you are safely moored with this current stormy weather.

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