Boats, Birds and Butterfly fish

Now that the eclipse had been successfully seen, there is plenty more to do in north Queensland. I sneakily picked a reef trip that includes a coral cay with lots of roosting seabirds…I am sure nobody will guess my ulterior motive! We had to check out & be down at the wharf to board our boat before 8am. We did make it, but only just [parking meter didn’t take cards so we had to pool all our coins…].

Chris & Nick heading out to the reef.

Chris likes boat trips so he was pleased to be on board. Tim less keen as he gets a bit seasick; hopefully seasickness tablet with caffeine added will keep him well & awake! A few people did later vomit over the side & managed to attract some fabulous fish, so it was an ill wind… It is stinger season so well had to be fitted with head to toe lycra suits [better than writhing in agony & possibly dying, but not very flattering!].

Tim & Nick headed for the Cay.

Out at Michaelmas Cay [a beautiful narrow cay with hundreds of seabirds wheeling above]  there was a choice between snorkeling off the boat, swimming to the island or going to the island in a dinghy & snorkeling from the beach. We all picked the latter as it was quite a swim.

Rod, Jenny & Chris off to the Cay.


The tide was very high & the so called “drybox”  was washed away & tipped over several times so I kept a firm grip on my camera! Rod went out snorkeling with Tim & Nick while I looked at the birds and Chris paddled.

Sooty Tern

Much of the island is a nature reserve so only a small section of the island is accessible but was circumnavigated by the tender. Birds include Noddies, Boobies, various terns and Frigatebirds.

Common Noddies

Next stop was Hastings Reef [with lunch served in between] when I was finally able to snorkel. The reef is only a few metres away from the boat, so as soon as you enter the water coral, giant clams and rainbow hued fish can be seen just centimeters from your face.

Giant Clam


Fish at Hastings Reef

Everywhere you look different fish can be seen with astounding colours and shapes [not to mention fanciful names; Foxface Rabbitfish!]. The current was surprisingly strong, so it was easy to swim but quite difficult to get back. Safety is very important & everybody had a safety number and regular checks were made [including a signature]. Good to know that no-body will be left on the reef!

Rod snorkeling

Back at Cairns it was time to set off for Kingfisher Park. We did learn one valuable lesson; when leaving food all day in a hot car remember to bag the butter & leave it perfectly level near the cool block otherwise all your food will be covered with yellow melted butter…!

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