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Reef ramble

A stay on a Great Barrier Reef island is a first for all of us

sunny 21 °C

Susie and Keith reef walking at low tide at Lady Elliot Island

Susie and Keith reef walking at low tide at Lady Elliot Island

Two days without TV, newspapers, mobile phones or internet. Two days with reef walks, snorkelling, beachcombing and slacking off at a resort. All of this on the southernmost island of the Great Barrier Reef, Lady Elliot Island, just north-east of Bundaberg. Even though it's winter, the sea was 22 degrees, about the same as Clovelly in summer. Bit cool for some though. The men in the family need a bit more fat on their bones to keep warm. Yesterday, our only full day, was a perfect snorkelling day - calm seas, fantastic visibility (you could see a long way down in the water) and sunny. Before we even got in the water we saw a whale, a turtle and a manta ray.

We shared the water with scientists from CSIRO, NASA, universities etc recording which mantas are visiting Lady Elliot. In fact, Project Manta is in full swing right now. You can tell an individual manta ray by the pattern of spots on its tummy. Bet you didn't know that! These gentle giants generally grow to 3-4metres across but only eat plankton. We saw some from the plane as we flew in. The Project invites divers to send in photos of manta rays' tummies - true citizen science! Visit the Project Manta Facebook page here.

What did we like best about Lady Elliot? Michael liked the buffet breakfasts with pancakes and hash browns. Keith liked stargazing in beautiful dark skies away from city lights. Susie liked the turtles, including one she swam with. The turtles at Lady Elliot like to be scratched on their shells. One fellow snorkeller said she kept getting bumped by a turtle, not realising it was asking for a scratch! Me (Carrie), I liked the colourful fish. I got a last snorkel in the lagoon before we left and watched anemone fish (Nemos) hiding in their anemone homes.

Anything not so good? The cold nights (11 degrees or so). Only one blanket each on the first night. Then we asked for more and slept better the second night.

View from the verandah of our 'Reef Unit'. The beach was coral sand and chunks of old coral.

View from the verandah of our 'Reef Unit'. The beach was coral sand and chunks of old coral.

Posted by kecasumi 15:46 Archived in Australia Tagged beaches islands wildlife sand flights coasts reefs

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