There was something special about this visit to Lady Musgrave. The weather window was perfect, the company great, the snorkeling fun and it was just so very picturesque. Perhaps it was just that.
We entered the channel on a very low tide so the reef was exposed all around us and with the sun overhead, the Lady Musgrave lagoon was at its best. The white sandy bottom was visible through the clear blue water so it was like being in a very large swimming pool. It really was beautiful. We were also arriving a bit later this year so there was much turtle anticipation having arrived deep in to nesting season. In fact, as we entered the channel, fighting some strong current, we disturbed a pair of copulating turtles. We also knew we had several friends joining us at Lady Musgrave including Chances (who’d been there already for three weeks), along with Vivacious, Lionfish Safari, Ilikai and Bushy Tales. So a music night was a chance too. And of course, snorkeling was high on my list. My last opportunity before we head ‘home’ to Boatworks. Photo overload, my apologies!
While the turtles were nesting ashore in their droves, surprisingly, there was not much activity in the water this year. Perhaps because we were later. One night the island’s volunteer caretakers counted 117 turtle tracks! We met ashore on our first night and sure enough right on dusk, at high tide, a turtle came up the sand. We also learnt that many were abandoning their nesting after several hours of digging. The sand is so dry with the island in desperate need of some rain, so the turtles aren’t able to dig their egg chamber deep enough to find wet sand. We unfortunately had very little light and no moon, so photos were impossible. I did however, snap a few photos of turtles while snorkeling.
I always like seeing orange under the water … clownfish! These are all quite common Anemonefish, but they are always a favourite.
I often see these Squirrelfish and they are one of the few fish that stop and stare.
And this Blue Spotted Ray. He shot off so fast, as they do when disturbed, but I fluked this action photo!
I found a few new subjects too. It’s easy to revisit the snorkel locations you know, but new ones can be rewarding. So with a northerly breeze blowing, we visited the southern side of the island, out of the breeze. It is very shallow water but I do like the light this gives me. It also means I can get very close to my subjects, something I’ve come to favour. This Tiger Cowrie was a find, along with the Pipefish I hadn’t seen before.
I didn’t have any luck finding another nudibranch. I even spoke to the Reef Princess’s marine expert for possible locations within the lagoon. He did point to a reef area where in his words, “there are hundreds”, but no luck! I was determined to find these this season so I am grateful I spotted my one and only at Little Black Reef.
Here’s a slideshow of a variety of fish I photographed. Often not easy to capture them clearly. They swim fast! We found some prolific fish life amongst healthy coral in a variety of locations within the lagoon this visit and with the water so clear, I did manage to capture some of the more colourful marine life below.
There’s also the not-so-pretty subjects … sea slugs, creepy things and things you really can’t make out. First up, check out this Black-saddled Toby which is a relative of the Toadfish family, so poisonous. It was small (approx 5cm) and quick, but every now and then, it stopped to check me out. Such intricate patterns and colour. The blue on its back was actually quite a luminous green.
We had a great music night on Vivacious one night. Fourteen people (7 boats), three guitars, a flute and a beat-box. We have met up with many of our regular cruising friends this year, as well as meeting new ones, who will now become old friends! Cruising friendship is always a highlight of our cruising life. We have all acknowledged what a different year it has been this year and just how lucky we have been spending our time in 2020 on the Queensland coast.
We spent a few nights in the Sandy Straits, Fraser Island, after an overnight sail getting there (it meant we could spend more time at Lady Musgrave) and we have just crossed the Wide Bay Bar with Waterfront, Chances, Anui and Bushy Tales today.
Boatworks is our final destination, then home to Victoria.