On the northern side of Hook Island are several bays – Pinnacle Bay, Manta Ray Bay, Luncheon Bay, Maureen’s Cove and Butterfly Bay where we picked up our favourite mooring buoy. These northern bays are good protection from the SE trade winds and popular with the charter boats so it’s always a race to pickup one of the mooring buoys, particularly in Butterfly Bay. Butterfly Bay also used to be a wonderful snorkeling spot, as did the other northern bays, but like Blue Pearl, the fringing reef here is nothing like it used to be. It’s also known for its unsuspecting ‘bullets’ of wind that shoot down the steep surrounding hills. Each year divers clear the bottom here, collecting clothing, towels and hats that a ‘bullet’ has snatched off a boat. Unfortunately, one of our beach towels has joined this year’s loot! But it’s a very pretty spot and it’s also a good anchorage to use as a home base to dinghy up to the other bays.
Manta Ray Bay was on our radar. Our friends on Ilikai very kindly towed our dinghy up to Manta Ray Bay where we all jumped in to find ‘George’ the Humpheaded Maori Wrasse. Once again there was little coral, but with the tourist boats visiting here several times a day, the fish are quite well fed, hence they are quite friendly.
The water in Butterfly Bay was again very murky, even at low tide and I had to really search for healthy coral. But I did manage to see a few favourites as well as a Painted Cray hiding underneath a rock ledge. It’s very long feelers were on to me. Butterfly Bay is in a Green Zone so it’s definitely “no take”. And anyway, was I (little ol’ me) going to put my little hand in to that dark and scary hole?? Even though I had my trusty new gloves on? No way!!
One last thing … My Octopus Teacher! Just watched it on Netflix. My friend Sue was the first to alert me to this film. It is a true story about Craig Foster, a free diver who swims with an octopus in a kelp forest off the coast of South Africa for a year. I really enjoyed it. Seeing the underwater life amongst the kelp was so different and he can certainly hold his breath for a very loooong time!
We have spent the last few days reconnecting with AQ, Anui and Skellum visiting Airlie Beach. And … there looks like there might be a small outer reef window coming up 🙂 Clear water. Whoopee! We’re off!!