It was a big four days of sailing to get to the Whitsundays … then one more to get to the outer reef. But it was worth it!
When we’ve been out of phone range for days and the phone suddenly starts beeping, we can’t wait. Oh how dependent we are on the phone and internet these days. While we can get 3-day VHF Radio weather forecasts twice a day when we are out of phone range, it’s the long range forecast we crave. And when we get to the Whitsundays … it’s a reef window we crave!
So when we saw a run of several days of calm weather and also received an invite from Anui to join them, it was a no-brainer. After catching up with family and friends on the phone the evening we arrived, we then pulled up anchor at 5.30 am the next morning, eager to get going early with another 8-hour day ahead of us. There was no wind so it was a motor all the way to Little Black Reef, a reef we hadn’t visited before. Even more exciting!
What is it we love about the outer reef? There’s something rather exciting about sitting in the ‘middle’ of the ocean with no land anywhere in sight, but knowing there’s a whole world to discover below. I love the colours and clarity of the water. The different depths mean different blues. The shallows are like a swimming pool, the deep water a steely blue and the azure and turquoise blues that surround the coral reef beautiful.
Then there’s the weather. We had several days of forecast calm weather and it did not disappoint. It was just PERFECT! Calm, clear, beautiful days.
We were also lucky enough to catch up unexpectedly with Skellum, Ilikai and Sarisha, as well as Anui, at Little Black. Snorkeling and socialising in calm water at the outer reef … PERFECT!
I’ll let my photos do the talking …
Here’s two slideshows of some Black Anemonefish and an Epaulette Shark. The Epaulette Shark was being attended to by a Cleaner-fish. The Cleaner-fish loops around the larger fish’s body removing damaged skin and anything that shouldn’t be there. It seemed to be in a trance, so I was able to get quite close and I had time to take several photos.
(Remember to press the >< to scroll through the photos) …
We didn’t catch any fish but we were lucky enough to have friends who did! And they shared! Coral trout, Spotted Sweetlips and Grey Morwong were speared by Wade on Anui and a very big Wahoo was caught by Sarisha on our return to the islands (thankyou Forfar).
I’ve taken some photos of Christmas Tree Worms before and shared them on my blog. I found so many more colours at Little Black Reef I couldn’t resist. These creatures are very small, usually around 2-3 cm. Over time I’ve learnt where to look for them and I’m very happy I found such an interesting variety of colours, and that my photos were in focus. It was really the first time I’d used the macro setting on my camera too which is a feature the TG4/5/6 is known for.
And the clams …
And the coral. My previous life involved art. Hence, colour, pattern and texture capture my eye. While there was damaged coral and rubble in many places just like other reefs, vibrant colour and intricate patterns were easy to find amongst the healthy coral.