I wonder if there’s a “five-year rule” on boats?? Bossa Nova turned five last November (how time flies!). We had already replaced our VHF hand-held radio a few months back, then, not long after we officially turned south just recently (which means this season is half over 🙁 ), our toilet holding-tank pump stopped working, our oven griller element fell to bits and our topping lift started fraying (it holds up the boom). Hmmm! It was the pump on the holding tank that really gave us the shits though … in more ways than one … yeeps … we knew we had to empty the holding tank by bucket! I think we were still bucketing at 10 pm that night.
So it was a quick trip in to Townsville which meant we could pick up the plumbing parts and replacement pump we needed, along with 50m of double-braid rope and fit our griller part which had arrived also. Why a quick trip?? The weather forecast was calm and was ideal for another outer reef visit. We didn’t want to waste it. So we timed the Townsville and Maggie visits not only to do our jobs, but to also catch up with Cruising Kitty, Kidnapper and Chances, and it also coincided with the big tides lessening and low tides reappearing during daylight hours. We also by chance caught up with Michelle from home who was crewing on a cat in Magnetic Island’s Race Week. We both posted Horseshoe Bay on Instagram!
So with our fix-its, chores, shopping and washing done in Townsville and an enjoyable long lunch at Peppers on Magnetic Island (Race Week’s headquarters) with Chances and later the Vivacious crew (celebrating their second place), dinner at the Marlin Bar tavern and a haircut, we left Horseshoe Bay on Maggie at what has become affectionately called “silly-o’clock”, for Lodestone Reef. Phew!! All timed for low tide and a snorkel with Chances on arrival of course. We had the calmest passage, not one breath of wind for the whole 28 nautical miles.
Lodestone Reef was lovely. Such clear water with shallow depths of white sand for comfortable anchoring. As you approach a reef it’s the colours of the water that really stand out. With a clear blue sky overhead the azure and turquoise blues were beautiful but it was the cyan blue water in the shallows, where we anchored, that was the standout at Lodestone. The water was so clear and such a beautiful blue. It was like being anchored in a swimming pool. I picked up this reef colour explanation off the web …“Natural white is made up of all colours of the rainbow. Underwater the colours are filtered at different depths with yellows and reds disappearing first. This gives the reef a predominantly blue/green appearance.” The loss of red the deeper you dive is a factor in underwater photography. Hence, I’m always looking for low tide and shallow water as I’m relying on natural light close to the surface for the most accurate colour!
There were pretty coral gardens in the shallows, white sandy bottoms with large bommies and an abundance of marine life and fish including Anemonefish, Butterflyfish, Parrotfish, Angelfish, Wrasse and we even spotted a Blacktip.
A very pretty Lodestone Reef
The coral gardens were very pretty with so much plate coral …
Here’s a slideshow of the reef …
Anemonefish and sea slugs …
I also found some Christmas Tree Worms. These are tiny and are often bright colours and always in pairs. I even spotted an orange one! These worms are anchored to stony corals with two thirds of their body actually burrowed in to the coral, with their pretty twin spirals of feathers on show. If I shadowed them, they would retract in to their burrow. Their feathers catch food and harness oxygen. It was tricky photographing these as a northerly wind had set in so the water was surging slightly on to the reef, so we were being buffeted around a bit. Not good for clear photos!
As always, weather dictates our decisions. So with the arrival of northerly winds which aren’t ideal at any outer reefs and needing to get back to the Whitsundays to collect family (and catch up with ET), we decided to head south overnight. We even picked up a Spanish Mackerel as we left, a few minutes after the lure hit the water … near the fishing trawlers we’d just bought some fresh prawns from! It was calm and what wind we had was going to be behind us. Little did we know, we even had the AFL finals (and cricket) on TV to entertain us. Out at sea … go figure! It was an uneventful passage on flat seas and after 115 nautical miles and 20 hours later, we arrived at Gloucester Passage, Whitsundays.