After a brief visit back to the mainland where we met up with Waterfront, we then both continued to hop down the outer reef via Britomart, Walker and Kelso Reefs.
Britomart was a beautiful anchorage. The water blues were stunning. Clear water with a clear sandy bottom, easy access and it had both northerly and southerly protection, not that we needed it. It was calm. We even had a visit from the Water Police (way out there). Just a routine check on our safety equipment. We passed!
Walker Reef was next. This outer reef anchorage ticked all the boxes. Easy access, an extensive clear sandy bottom (room for fifty boats), good protection from the northerlies and a variety of great snorkeling locations nearby. It even had a low water sand cay, but unfortunately our low water wasn’t low enough to reveal the cay.
We stayed two nights with Waterfront at Walker Reef. We also caught up with Johno and Gemma from About Time again. Johno very kindly passed on his drone footage he’d taken of our boats at Beaver Reef a few weeks before (and some home-grown tomatoes they were growing from their transom vegie patch – we often referred to them as The Tomato Boat, before we knew they were really called About Time!)
Walker Reef will be remembered for the numerous and different Anemonefish I found – the Blackback Anemonefish (one bar), the Pink Anemonefish, the Barrier Reef Anemonefish (two bars) and the best ever, the Eastern Clownfish (Nemo). Well, these are all my Anemonefish ID’s, but I’m happy to be corrected by anyone out there!
It was the first time I’d spotted these beautiful little Eastern Clownfish (Nemo’s), and not only did I spot one family, but three, in different locations! But … one was special, an orange Anemone! Hit the jackpot there. The water was crystal clear as you can see in the photos so the orange Anemone really ‘popped’. I had shallow water so good light and with three Clownfish in the orange Anemone I was entertained for quite a while. Lots of pics!
A fun fact … the name Nemo comes from … a-n-e-m-o-nefish!
I do enjoy photographing these tiny fish. They dart very quickly in and out of the Anemone so the more photos the better as there’s lots of ‘misses’. But they stay at home. So I can linger and I have learnt to be patient. Being able to grab hold of a dead piece of coral for stability helps too.
Here’s a snapshot of them all … including captions …
So many photos. Here’s some other snaps from Walker Reef …
Our last stopover before returning to the mainland was Kelso Reef. Our anchorage at Kelso was a bit more complicated to access, as we had to zig zag our way in dodging coral bommies, but following Waterfront and their track and in calm conditions, made it quite easy. We would definitely return to Kelso Reef (and the others) as the snorkeling was such a pleasant surprise. We had such a variety of coral and fish, white sandy gutters, many big fish, bommies of healthy coral and many giant clams. Yes, there were dead and damaged patches like all the outer reefs have, but there was a real mix of different coral and fish. It really felt like an adventure underwater at Kelso.
I even added to my Anemonefish list too – I found a Spine-Cheek Clownfish. This little fish seemed to be lost as it darted around. ‘Home’ was not obvious as it didn’t appear to be nearby, which is quite unusual for Anemonefish.
A big thankyou to Marty and Brenda on Waterfront for leading us through these beautiful outer reefs. Lots of tracks and anchorages for next time. It’s always fun and also comforting to reef hop in company. Often there are other boats doing the same but sharing the day’s adventures over a wine, watching the sun go down in the middle of the ocean, with friends, is such a treat.
We are back on the mainland here at Airlie Beach now, after a two-night stopover at Magnetic Island’s Horseshoe Bay. Restocking, washing, haircuts and boat washing – the usual – are planned, then hopefully a week or so around the Whitsundays catching up with some fellow cruisers. We do hope our new screecher sail arrives soon too!