a last hurrah

By | November 18, 2021

There has to be a last snorkel!

Sitting at the Gladstone Marina for nearly a week, waiting for strong SE weather to pass through, we had plenty of time to plan a Lady Musgrave visit but I think we must have exhausted the alphabet with the number of plans we came up with.  Tides, winds and weather are always the dictating factors … but thunderstorms!

After a Pancake Creek stopover and a “stupid o’clock” getup (it is light here in Qld at 4.30 am … arghhh), we motor-sailed out to LM for a three-night stay. The forecast wasn’t perfect but knowing the Lady Musgrave lagoon is quite protected from all directions, we gave it a go and we were not disappointed.  We also met up with Anui out there.

It is turtle season this time of year. The egg laying activity on the island was prolific with tracks crisscrossing the beach and a staggering amount of nesting.

I also saw lots of turtles while snorkeling.

I had three “last snorkels”, one each day.  The first snorkel was at the southern side of the island, out of the northerly wind.  It’s shallow and sandy so there’s plenty of light for photos. It’s an area of somewhat bland and scattered coral and not a great deal of fish life, but I usually find something to photograph. The turtle photos above were taken there and also these …

Aren’t these stunning? One of my favourite tiny creatures.  An orange Xmas Tree Worm.

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The other two snorkels were on the northern side of the lagoon (near the new Lady Musgrave Experience pontoon which has ‘glamping’ style beds for overnight stays).

My third snorkel with Anui was a bit different. The water was full of ‘floaties’ and the fish were so active. Coral spawning maybe? Coral spawning in the Great Barrier Reef only happens once a year and this year the expected dates are the 23-25 November. It was certainly different from what Chris on Anui or myself had seen before. So I did a bit of reading and also noticed an Instagram post by Master Reef Guides who share their stories and photos of the Great Barrier Reef. They referred to zooplankton floating in their photos of turtles at close by Heron Island a few weeks ago. Zooplankton are small floating microorganisms that follow the current. A food source for many ocean creatures. So my guess is the “floaties” were zooplankton. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of the “floaties”. I was too busy dodging and swishing them out of the way!

Always love the Blue Green Pullers darting in and out of the stag horn coral.

I was able to get close to this Parrotfish because it was being attended to by a Cleanerfish (the small narrow blue & silver striped fish). Cleanerfish service other fish by removing their dead skin, tissue and parasites.  It almost puts the ‘client’ in a trancelike state, hence this Parrotfish being oblivious to my close proximity.

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I also spotted another ‘new’ Anemonefish (to me), a Saddleback Anemonefish.

A caption? “Gotcha!”

I just couldn’t catch this little Pink Anemonefish up close.  Way to shy and quick.  I think it may have been a bit surprised to see me!

The Sea Anemone this Pink Anemonefish lived in also caught my eye. One of my earlier posts this season (‘britomart, walker and kelso reefs’) featured an orange Magnificent Sea Anemone.  When closed or rolled up, they look like a big fat donut with long thin light brown tentacles flowing from the centre. Pink Anemonefish usually reside in these Magnificent Sea Anemones. This particular one was ‘open’ so only the light brown tentacles were on show, hiding the purple ‘donut’ base (I spotted the purple base when under and close). I’ve seen a red and an orange Magnificent Sea Anemone to date, so I do wish it had rolled up, as it would have been quite a sight in purple!

So it’s Boatworks next. When the winds and storms allow!




2 thoughts on “a last hurrah

  1. Chris on Anui

    It was such a nice way to end our Reef explorations, wasn’t it! Lots of beautifully clear images in this series, Amanda. Now the next project: selecting the best ones for a photobook!

  2. Amanda

    Agree! A last visit and snorkel at LM is the way to go. So glad we squeezed it in and with Anui. And the selection of photos … always a difficult task narrowing down the hundreds of photos to just a few. Like you, I do enjoy the process though.

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