Friday, 9 August 2013

Whitsundays and Bait Reef

Well, we finally feel like we have made it to the Whitsundays. The weather has been nothing short of perfect most days with light but sailable winds and mostly sunny days. The anchorages here are very good and very close together - makes for lazy cruising. It easy to see why it is so busy here with boats but you can get away from the crowds if you forget about public moorings (which are rarely available even with the "two hour" time limit*)and go to places where charter boats aren't allowed.

One such place was Bait reef, only 18Nm from Hook Island and simply stunning. The water was so much clearer then any of the water we have see so far on our trip. The reef is very healthy and being protected from fishing has a great range of wildlife even just under your boat. We had several GT's and Bat fish join as immediately when we arrived. On day two we were treated with perfect weather and our own whale show. For much of the day whales were hanging out just outside the reef. We took the tender out to explore the reef at one stage and were surprised by a whale launching itself completely out of the water only 50m from us - no camera with us of course. Later that day a pod of whales came into the lagoon anchorage and swam about coming within 15m of our boat. It was our best whale experience to date.

Anyway, I need to get back to enjoying this weather so that's it for now.

* In Queensland "Two hours" is anything between two hours and two days. Similar to the car hire in Mackay Marina where half day hire is actually four hours, very short days in Mackay.

Stonehaven Anchorage

Small manta ray by the boat at Stonehaven

On a mooring in Butterfly Bay

Great photo of Bait Reef showing The Stepping Stones and anchorage - from, the dive boat we met there

Perfect conditions at Bait Reef

 Bat fish by the boat at Bait Reef - moored in 10m of water - check the water clarity!

Pod of humpback whales right by the boat at Bait Reef

Whales between us and the only other boat on the reef

The slick in the foreground is disturbance made by a whale less than 15m from the boat

 Snorkeling and diving at Bait Reef

Returning through the passage between Hook and Hayman Islands
View to Black Island near Hayman Island

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