Header image  

The Adventure ....

 
  
 

 
 
ships log
Tuesday 1st April 2008
Great Keppel Island, Queensland

Hello everyone,

April Fools Day ! (wonder what ‘hilariously funny’ tricks the skipper will have for the crew and visa versa?)

We arrived here last night, anchored to the North of GKI (as the locals call it). We’ve just spent a week exploring the coral cays, reefs and islands of the southern Great Barrier Reef system (completely out of telephone and internet range).

This was the first time we’ve taken Destiny into coral reefs, and with some nervousness, given that the coral reefs are very hard and sharp, and that the boat is just a thin shell of fibreglass! Obviously we survived just fine (otherwise we wouldn’t have posted this) and we now have some very good experience at negotiating through coral reefs and bommies. We worked out some techniques like posting a lookout up on the bowsprit (also known in yottie terms as ‘the sharp end’) to spot potential boat killers and relay this info to the helmsman (aka ‘driver’). The volume of yelling and frantic gesticulations giving an indication of the urgency !

In this area, there are 2 coral lagoons where yachts can get right inside, with our first being Lady Musgrave Island which appears out of nowhere - one minute you’re in the middle of the ocean, 30 miles offshore and out of sight of land, then there it is – a beautiful tropical island with sandy beaches and turquoise water. The temptation is to head straight for the island - it looks so inviting. But the trap is that the island is surrounded by a coral reef about 5 km in diameter, so you have to kind of sneak up to it obliquely, so as not to run smack into the reef. Good charts and guidebooks are essential to find the narrow entrance channel, but once inside and safely anchored, the scene is just breathtaking. For starters, the water is so clear, we could clearly see the anchor and chain on the sand bottom, over 8 metres down, and occasionally a turtle will swim past. Snorkeling is a delight, warm water, fish everywhere, around the fringing reefs the colours of the coral and tropical fish are just awesome – it felt like swimming in a giant aquarium!

Ashore, the island is home to many birds, and of course turtles come ashore to lay the eggs in the dunes. Our first morning walk around the wooded island, we found tracks of 6 turtles that had come ashore the previous night (of course we’re now turtle ‘experts’, since our visit to the Mon Repos turtle hatchery – see last posting from Bundaberg).

Lady Musgrave is the sort of place that gets you thinking about what qualifies as ‘Paradise’. It has to be a contender.

Next stop was Fitzroy Reef, which is another coral lagoon. No island on this one, but it is a great anchorage, and almost surreal. It’s a calm pond in the middle of the ocean, although having said that, it does of course depend on the state of the tide. At high tide, the reef is covered, so waves come right over and it can be quite uncomfortable. But as soon as the tide drops, it becomes a pond again.

From there, we meandered northwards through the islands and reefs of the Capricorn and Bunker groups, before heading back to the mainland and Great Keppel Island, where we plan to spend a few days, before making the short hop to Roslyn Bay Marina, Yeppoon to replenish the supplies (and offload the empties!)

Here's a link to our recent photo's and videos taken with our mobile phone. You'll need the Quicktime free reader to view the footage, downloaded from http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/.

Please drop us a email if you like our diaries or have suggestions.

Cheers for now
B & G

Lady Musgrave Island