Soooo … we were left with Tim (and his drone)!
We had another week with our son on board and we struck gold … an outer reef window! Could not have been better timing. We dropped (a sad) Kaycee at Hamilton Island airport, picked up a few necessities, refuelled and we were on our way. We then made a mad dash for Stonehaven, a close departure point for Bait Reef early the next morning. Tim had not visited the outer
reef before. His past visits seemed to always attract windy weather so we were very excited to finally show him Bait Reef and especially Hardy Lagoon. We were even hoping for a visit to Little Black Reef, somewhere we hadn’t been before.
Bait Reef is approx’ 17 miles from Hayman Island and is the closest of the outer reefs from the Whitsundays. It also has some public moorings and the ‘infamous’ Stepping Stones. These are flat-topped round pinnacles lined in a row on the outside of the reef. Each pinnacle rises to just below the water surface, uncovering only at very low tides. They have made for great diving and snorkeling in years gone by. We last visited here in 2016, before Cyclone Debbie. Unfortunately, the Stepping Stones really did cop the wrath of the cyclone so there was noticeable damage, but, they are still worth a visit. There are also various bommies and reef not far from the moorings, lots of nooks and crannies, a variety of different sized fish and some healthy regrowth of coral.
The same friendly Maori Wrasse visited us in 2016 I’m sure. He seemed to go from boat to boat.
As we entered Bait Reef the water was glassy, perfect!
We sailed out with Easy Tiger, with Alice (ET’s son) following, and we were unexpectedly welcomed by our friends on Illakai and then later Anui (ex Take It Easy) joined us. We hadn’t seen Chris and Wade on Anui since last year so we were thrilled when we heard they were finally heading south to the Whitsundays. We also knew they wouldn’t pass up a reef window (they are reef addicts). We jumped on board Anui shortly after they arrived (to inspect their new purchase) and then again later when we all enjoyed a few drinks at sunset. A very roomy and comfy cat! We were also hoping to catch up with Chances and Vivacious who were also out at the reef but it wasn’t to be.
Tim flew his drone from The Bossa at Bait Reef and got some fantastic pics … so glad the conditions were perfect!
I can always find something under the water that entertains me with my camera, so even though the Stepping Stones aren’t what they used to be, I was happy.
Tim snorkeling between the Stepping Stones
Bait Reef has several public moorings. Quite near The Bossa was reef we could snorkel to. Snorkeling over shallower water can often mean spotting some smaller critters.
Next stop … Hardy Lagoon.