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Highlights: Lady Elliot and Lady Musgrave

Lady Elliot Island

Arrived just in time: While we’d planned to sail straight to Lady Musgrave, the ocean wasn’t on our side. We traveled all day with 2knots of current against us. We were moving at about 7knots through the water and only doing 5knots over the ground. Thankfully we arrived at Lady Elliot right on sunset. Phew!

We anchored at Lady Elliot Island for one night on our way to Lady Musgrave. July 2017
We anchored at Lady Elliot Island for a night on our way to Lady Musgrave. 30 July 2017

A story about a whale: It’s dark. Everyone has gone to bed. I’m sitting alone at the main table doing some work. Out the port-side hatch, I hear the strangest noise. At first, I think it sounds like a horse, then I think it sounds a bit like a dog. I come to my senses, remember we are floating in the ocean, jump up and grab a torch. I go out into the cockpit and shine the torch in the direction of the noise. It’s pitch black and I can’t see a thing. But then I hear it again… far out… woah… it’s a whale! I’m standing in the cockpit listening to a whale breathing right next to our boat. It doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, it’s just floating at the surface, breathing through its blow hole. I sit quietly and listen for as long as I can hear it. What a wonderful experience. Just me and the whale, hangin’ out at Lady Elliot.

Manta rays: The next morning we were preparing to do the 3-hour sail to Lady Musgrave when Simon and I were both up on deck. There was a commotion in the water and we both looked over to see a school of manta rays flapping around on the surface right near our boat. Then, joy of joys, one leaped out of the water right in front of me. So beautiful!

Lady Musgrave Island

Dolphin welcoming committee: check out this video of our arrival at Lady Musgrave.

Snorkelling: Markito and I gave our snorkeling gear a workout. It was great to get in the water and build our confidence again after having not been snorkeling for a few years. We saw lots of beautiful little fish but alas, our underwater camera ran out of battery!

Reef walk: We did some great walks around Lady Musgrave, including walking all the way around the island – our second circumnavigation of an island on this trip! We also walked out to a section of the reef that is exposed at low tide. After checking out lots of black sea slugs, sea snails, star fish, clams, crabs and coral,  Simon came across a red sea slug (or Spanish Dancer) washed up on the beach. He moved it down to a little rock pool and we spent ages watching its mesmerizing movement in the water.

 

Time for a walk. So nice and cool in the shade.
Time for a walk. So nice and cool in the shade. 31 July 2017.
Vegetation on the island.
Vegetation on the island.
Uprooted.
Uprooted.
Lady Musgrave's reef
Lady Musgrave’s reef
This map of lady musgrave shows how small the island is compared to the surrounding reef. We were anchored just near the words Habitat Protection Zone in the middle.
This map of lady musgrave shows how small the island is compared to the surrounding reef. We were anchored just near the words Habitat Protection Zone in the middle.
Little researchers inspecting an empty clam shell.
Little researchers inspecting an empty clam shell. 1 August 2017
There is no sand on the beaches at Lady Musgrave. The beaches are covered in these tiny pieces of coral. We had to wear sandals all the time as some of it is quite sharp.
There is no sand on the beaches at Lady Musgrave. The beaches are covered in these tiny pieces of coral. We had to wear sandals all the time as some of it is quite sharp.
This was our favourite starfish. So beautiful.
This was our favourite starfish. So beautiful.
Clam
Clam
Blue starfish
Blue starfish
Black sea slug. These were everyone. Some were spiky like this one, while others had smooth skin and were much longer.
Black sea slug. These were everyone. Some were spiky like this one, while others had smooth skin and were much longer.
A chiton on a rock. Acanthopleura Gemmata.
A chiton on a rock. Acanthopleura Gemmata.
A bird hunts for food on the reef.
A bird hunts for food on the reef. 1 August 2017
Heading home to Dragonfly after a day on the island and reef.
Heading home to Dragonfly after a day on the island and reef.
We were anchored at Lady Musgrave for 3 nights with around 10 other boats. The big tourist boats would arrive each day and it would be busy for a few hours until they left in the afternoon.
We were anchored at Lady Musgrave for 3 nights with around 10 other boats. The big tourist boats would arrive each day and it would be busy for a few hours until they left in the afternoon.

 

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