Saturday, October 29, 2011

Around and about in the Whitsundays

Last week was a wet and windy old week in the Whitsundays, and we had been running around hiding in various little hidey holes, trying to stay dry. We spent more time at Hamilton Island Marina (just in case I haven't said it before, we can highly recommend a stop or five here ;-). We then spent a couple of nights in Cid Harbour, before moving on to Butterfly Bay, followed by a few nights in Stonehaven, then a night moored off Black Island (aka Bali Hai), and we wrapped it all up with another night in Cid Harbour.

In between times we visited beautiful Luncheon Bay on the north side of Hook Island and also went to Langford Island, just south of Hayman Island. Towards the end of the week the wind starting dying down and the clouds started clearing so we managed to get in some diving and snorkelling in these places too.

Langford in particular is a nice place to stop, where you can easily pick up one of several moorings located just off the sand spit joining Langford Island and One Foot Island. It is then a simple matter to don your diving gear, hook yourself up to the Powerdive unit and step off the back of the boat into your own private fish filled, coral we did!

A bunch of Damsels in distress...

The very rare, yellow-nailed, yellow-tentacled, yellow-eyed, yellow-belted, bubbling, black boo bear!

Nick took Emily into some very shallow water near the beach and taught her how to use the Powerdive unit. She took to it like, well, a fish in water! Unfortunately it was a bit murky here due to the wind and strong currents, but you can see her clearly enough above to know that she looked like she was preparing to go trick-or-treating!!

A shy little Blackback Anemonefish, hiding in a Bulb-tipped Anemone.

I have recently invested in a great little e-product which so far has come in very handy indeed. It is Neville Coleman's Marine Life Identification eGuide (Asia/Indo-Pacific)...and you can find out more about it here. Pretty much everything I have seen in the water up here to date, I have been able to ID pretty reliably in Neville's Guide...(well, as reliably as I can with the pictures I have)? Having the guide on my iPod means we don't need to have lots of big books on board, hogging valuable space, either. I hope to go back and ID the other things I have posted pics of recently...when I get a quiet minute or two.

Billions of big Batfish...not exactly sure which ones

A type of Acanthastrea or stony coral

Elephant Ear Sponge

That's all I have had time to edit and get together for the blog. Gonna go have some yummy pizza for dinner now.

Ciao, ciao!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

About those underwater pictures...

...I may have said there wouldn't be any more until we got a replacement regulator for our Powerdive unit, but I may have forgotten that we'd still be I might have some more underwater shots for the blog anyway...sorry!

Did you know I could do one-arm handstands underwater? You should have seen the twenty push-ups I did...but I was so quick, Nick missed them with the camera.

Terry Turtle...he did not seem the least bit worried about two, big, neoprene-encrusted aliens finning after him slowly across his lagoon. He just went about his business!

...we saw eleven more turtles sunning themselves on the ocean surface along the southern edge of Bait Reef the next day....but none were as friendly (or as handsome) as Terry!

A six-banded angelfish...I am going to do my best to name the things I pop up here...bear with me...okay?

Two orange whos-a-ma-whatsits. I will look these things up one day...they come in a kaleidoscope of colours, and disappear at the lightest swish of the water. Very cool.

Hermit crab on a mouldy underwater schnitzel! I played with this shot for ages, trying to bring out the Hermit Crab a bit better, but couldn't do it. If you can't see him, you'll just have to believe us...he was there, warts and all.

I couldn't find this beauty in Grant's. Maybe a coralfish of some sort?

Only in the last week were we lamenting the lack of live shells that we have seen on the reef. Those that we have found, we could count on one hand, and then on this trip Nick found not one but TWO live Cowries sitting next to each other! HOORAY!!

That's it for now. I'm pooped. Hope you had a lovely weekend!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Being at Border Island

As I mentioned before, I do have lots of photos taken above the waves around Cateran Bay, Border is a pretty little island!

Looking towards Mosstrooper Peak on Border Island, with Cateran Bay on the left. Deloraine Island is just peaking in from photo right.

Fringing reef and yachts at anchor in Cateran Bay, Border Island.

Both of these photos above were taken by Nick who was climbing peaks in a vain attempt to get phone reception so he could order another zinc anode after one of ours fell off. We don't get phone or internet reception in the bay due to the tall peaks of Border, Whitsunday and Hook Islands screening it from the mainland to the west. It is one of the few places up the east coast where we haven't had connection. We even have great reception out here on Bait Reef, in the middle of nowhere!

One of our first visits to Border Island, pre-school holidays...when we had the entire bay to ourselves for a day and night! Nowadays you have to scramble to get your anchor down in anything less than 14m.

Snorkelling off the beach in Cateran Bay, Border Island.

Bouncing off boulders on Border Island beach!

Bucket Baby on Border Island beach. Huge leaps forward are being made in the baby-carrier market by this cruising least it is water resistant, to some degree ;-).

Motoring away from Cateran Bay, Border Island on our way out to Bait Reef, the first time.

Pretty yellow sea snake spotted in the water off Border Island, on our way out to Bait Reef.

That reddish brown stuff floating in the water is coral spawn stuff (I believe). I have no idea what the correct terminology is...but it was pretty widespread at one point, and came in lots of colours including red, green, yellow and brown.

Carving a path through the coral spawn goo from Border Island to Bait Reef...

Well, thanks for visiting us. We are contemplating where to snorkel today, before maybe moving over to Line or Hardy reef. We'll see!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

More from Cateran Bay

I've been playing with more of Nick's underwater photos from Cateran Bay (I can hear you all cheering with I also have a bunch taken above the water there...but I'll pop those in a separate post.

The myriad shapes, textures and colours are very beautiful. We have been watching the Stargate SG1 series on DVD while we have been out here, and often, while I'm flying through these underwater landscapes I can easily imagine myself on an alien planet (especially with the whalesong in the background).

While I am on the subject of whalesong....Nick put together a small video, where you can hear it in the background...

On our last visit to Cateran Bay (we left there this morning to come out to Bait Reef again) we didn't hear much in the way of whalesong at all. It felt a bit lonely in fact (even though the Bay itself was packed with yachts...14 in total [you can tell it is school holiday time]). I guess many whales have started their migration back south already.

PS. If anyone happens to find part of a Powerdive regulator unit in the vicinity of Cateran Bay...that'll be ours! We lost it on our last dive, somewhere between surfacing and swimming back to the boat. As a result, there may be a small hiatus in underwater shots published here, until we get a replacement part in Airlie Beach (aren't you lucky??!).

Sunday, October 2, 2011

If you're going to eat sand...

You should definitely make sure it is Whitehaven Sand! The stuff is delish :-).

Mum says she is going to mix in some of her special herbs for me...just to add a little colour

The first-class passenger is eight months old...

...and sporting six sturdy little chompers!

All the better to scare off the ducks...

All the better to chomp on pizza...when my silly parents leave it where I can get to it...

(and of these pizzas did land on the floor...upside down of course!!).

PS. The Manta Ray Cafe pizzas are very good...even after you've had to scrape them up off the floor.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Whitehaven Weekend

We got up bright and early this morning and with the northerly wind pretty much gone, we left Chance Bay and headed back around to Whitehaven Beach.

It was a simply beautiful day. Bright blue sky, clear sea, lovely and warm...the perfect day to spend playing on Whitehaven we did!

Even Eric got in on the action...and prepared for his first swim in the crystal clear water.

He wasn't overly impressed at first, and Nick had to convince him that he really was having fun.

Again, extraordinary colours! That's Lucey Blue behind Nick.

The first-class passenger's private beach lodgings!

We think we'll hang out here again tomorrow. It's really hard to take...NOT! ;-).