We left Great Keppel Island at day break (5 am) and arrived at North West Island at lunchtime, after 7 hours of motoring (remember, we didn’t want wind). An uneventful 43 nautical mile trip, our longest passage, until we leave Lady Musgrave Island at the end of our Southern Reef adventure.
North West Island is a large coral cay island with fringing reef, but no lagoon to enter. It is a National Park offering camping. It was a weekend when we arrived and with such a great weather forecast, I suppose it should not have been any surprise seeing how many local fishing boats and campers there were. Thinking we were so far out to sea, we were surprised. Imagine having these coral islands at your front door!
First up … a snorkel! Our timing could not have been better. Low tides were around the middle of the day and with the sun shining, perfect, so suited up we dinghied across to the fringing reef. Neville even jumped in. The first thing we noticed was how clear the water was with the white sandy bottom. My underwater favourite was the octopus!
North West cannot be accessed at low tide due to the fringing reef so we waited for a rising tide and then dinghied in to the beach with TIE. A walk around North West on soft white sand took us an hour and a half. The bird life was prolific and it was pleasing to see the turtles had started their nesting season, but it was the numerous Cowtail Rays that caught our eye. They were in the shallows around the island, almost following us as we walked.
Next stop … Heron Island and Wistari Reef …
PS. Remember you can click-on or touch each photo for an enlarged version!