Rooney Point, Hervey Bay, 14/09/2008

We motor-sailed across to Hervey Bay today and anchored at Rooney Point, just behind Sandy Cape at the northern tip of Fraser Island.

Soon after we dropped anchor a chap and his young son came over from the beach in a dinghy. “You’ll see a lot of whales here tonight” he said, “they sleep here…”.

He was not wrong. Yvonne and I heard it at the same time – the chatting of the whales, big and small, all around the boat. Next there came the occasional, explosive, exhalation, mere meters away from us… Oh, and the occasional “bloop, bloop, bloop…” noises – no idea what those are!

It was like being in the whales’ home at dinner/bed time… A couple of hours after dark it was all quiet and peaceful. An experience that will stay with me forever…

Our anchorage at Rooney Point, Hervey Bay

Dinner with Kevin, Lady Musgrave Island, 13/09/2008

Kevin came around to take us to the little quay again – I declined so he and Yvonne set off.

They had a lovely walk around (I’m told) during which Kevin proposed to Yvonne a change of scenery (errr… ship). Yvonne gracefully declined and no harm was done! We had a great dinner with Kevin that evening and Kevin was philosophical: “… if you don’t ask…” and “… where I come from ‘No’ usually means at least a wrestle… ” (!).

We had a great time, sharing life stories and knocking back enough coldies to sink a small ship! By bed time we were ferried back in instalments, the nor’ easter pumping up to 15 knots and whipping up a light chop, enough to unsettle a slightly inebriated small-boat skipper!

After dinner cruise...

Lady Musgrave Island, 13/09/2008

This day will remain memorable for two reasons:

  • the diving; and
  • great dinner with Kevin on his boat.

Kevin took us around the fringing reef and showed us a great spot to dive. We motored over and dropped the anchor about 50 meters away.

We first went snorkeling just before low tide. Then, at low tide, I donned my scuba gear and we went back, me with scuba and Yvonne snorkelling. As I was scuba diving alone we stayed inside the lagoon in water up to 5 meters deep, always within easy snorkelling depth. It was great to stay down below though and I have lovely photos taken with my el-cheapo underwater camera from Hong Kong (I love EBay!). The photos speak for themselves – I need to do some research to add names to the fish…

Entrance to the hole in the reef where we snorkeled
Entrance to the hole in the reef where we snorkeled

Angelfish (and others) on reef
Angel Fish (and others) on reef

More fish...
More fish…

Trumpet Fish in warm water at the reef edge
Trumpet Fish in warm water at the reef edge

Awesome experience... more fish!
Awesome experience… more fish!

Rosslyn Bay to Lady Musgrave Island, 12/09/2008

We’re now at Lady Musgrave Island after a perfect overnight sail from Rosslyn Bay.

We had bought some cooked prawns and dressing as well as those lovely hot chips and aeoli from the Rosslyn Bay Marina restaurant – awesome dinner! I sailed through until 1AM when I woke Yvonne to give me a break. The autohelm (must think of a name) steered all night, but you still want a pair of eyes on deck! Just before I woke her I had signalled a fishing trawler that appeared to be on a collision course. I check his bearing with the hand-bearing compass over a period of about 15 minutes and it stayed nominally the same, so I flashed my head torch at him. He flashed back to acknowledge he’d seen me and turned onto a parallel course until we’d overtaken them (thanks!)

The rhumb line from Rosslyn Bay to Lady Musgrave was also not without obstacles, so we had to thread our course carefully. You couldn’t safely do this in the dark without the chartplotter and previous experience of the area, both of which served us well.

We motored into Lady Musgrave lagoon at around 11AM. I was tired but happy!

Lady Musgrave Island coral quay at sunset

Yvonne was speechless at the beauty of the place. That afternoon we went for a walk on the island. Note to self: take shoes next time! The beach is almost all coral shards: razor sharp and hell to walk on!

The beach at Lady Musgrave Island - take your shoes!

We saw amazing things while walking around the quay. The vegetation is unbelievably lush – very unusual for Australia. We also saw sharks and turtles as well as the Strawberry Land Hermit Crab (Coenobita perlatus) in the photo below.

Strawberry Land Hermit Crab (Coenobita perlatus) on Lady Musgrave Island, Great Barier Reef, Australia

Our neighbour in the anchorage, Kevin, kindly came out with his dinghy (and outboard) and towed us back to Sunny Spells.