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Archive for the 'Lady Musgrove Island … Queensland' Category

`LADY MUSGRAVE ISLAND’, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA … 29TH MAY 2005

Had a wonderful `dolphin’ experience on the way to the island.  Four dolphins found the yacht and played with it for at least an hour.   I have developed the habit of whistling to them from the for’ deck … as you would whistle to call a dog … and I am certain they know you are trying to communicate with them. 

* PORPOISE ... CERTAINLY ADD TO THE QUALITY OF THE DAY! *

This four had obviously escaped from a circus as they put on a magical performance … one came rushing head-on with the yacht then jumped at least 3 metres out of the water to land about 4-5 metres in front of the yacht … incredible timing.  Also, a duo gave a great jumping display in perfect synchronisation.  They did all the usual dolphin tricks, but somehow did them with great majesty. A wonderful display of marine animals communicating with humans.

* AN EXCELLENT SHOT OF THE `LADY MUSGRAVE' ISLAND/CAY ... QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA (Compliments Google Images) *

I arrived at Lady Musgrave Island at 13:30 with the sky clear and sun almost directly overhead … just as I had planned (true) as the lagoon (Cay, as they are called on navigation maps) are peppered with `Bommies’ … we had a name for them many years ago which became culturally unacceptable … can’t remember exactly, but it sounded something like `blackboys’? 

The reference books I have bought for navigating the east coast (`The Curtis Coast’ and another by a mildly famous East Coaster, Alan Lucas called `Cruising The Coral Coast’) are great and I would bet 9 out of 10 boats/yachts on the east coast would have copies on board.  They give wonderful advice, supported by maps and aerial photographs, of most islands, rivers, harbours and almost anywhere a water craft can travel on the east coast.  Sorry I keep mentioning the east coast … there may be similar publications for the north, west and south coasts … I just haven’t had the need to find out … yet!

* A BLACK AND WHITE BIRD ... (How ignorant can a person be?) Lady Musgrave Island, Queensland! *

* DAILY TOURIST FERRIES ARRIVE EVERY DAY FROM BUNDERBURG AND A TOWN CALLED `1770' *

Getting back to Lady Musgrove … it is well documented that the lagoon and for that matter, the surrounding coral reefs are studded with coral `bommies’ … and to hit one is to risk a hole in the hull … and water loves to rush through holes!!

Came through the entrance OK and standing as high as I could, whilst manning the steering wheel … and staying close to the motor controls (wishing I had my remote auto-steering device), Tsunami and I managed to travel down to within 500 metres of the island … and safely anchor.  The breeze was 12 knots and sea was calm. 

Lady Musgrave Island is quite small, I would say in the region of 20-30 acres … the lagoon/cay surrounding the island is large … say, 3 miles by 1.5 miles, however, there’s only one entry/exit.  And riding at anchor is no guarantee of a smooth ride … the reef on the outskirts of the cay are about sea level in height … however, there’s that nasty occurrence called a tide … and twice a day the outer  reefs are submerged by the high tide and the wave action of the open sea can wash across the cay unimpeded. 

* GORGEOUS COLOURS OF THE `CAY' ... SHALLOW CORAL GROWTH! *

* HARD AND SHARP CORAL SAND ... BEST TO WEAR SHOES! *

That night the wind strengthened to over 30 knots and the wave action across the cay was rough, rough!   (Don’t want to put too much emphasis on it!) 

One of the dreads of anchoring is the possibility the anchor may drag!   A   dragging anchor in the dark is every skipper’s nightmare … particularly in a cay, surrounded by bommies.  (Can you imagine starting the motors to react to the drag and not knowing whether one is going to motor over a bommie, or reef?)  So this skipper let out all the anchor chain he had in the locker  (40 metres, that’s about 130 feet) which helps the anchor to hold into the sand … and set a little gadget  on the GPS Chart Plotter, called an `anchor alarm’. 

You live in hope this little sucker will never go off!  Mine went off at 02:00 the next morning … I was up out of the cot like a stunned mullet, banged my head on the way (spoke to God about that) and came on deck ready to swing into action … but, what the hell was I going to do?  There were two other yachts anchored within 200 metres of me and I had been keeping an eye on the relative angles of them to me all night and they still seemed to be, roughly, in the same position.  So I sat down to think (don’t think the best on my feet) and soon came to the conclusion the wind had changed from a sou’ Easter to a southerly … and Tsunami had swung on her 130’ anchor chain and moved far enough to the side, to trick the alarm into thinking the anchor was dragging … bugger! 

I can do without those sorts of experiences. Anyhow that night was a bit of a write-off and it took the next day to relax, sleep and get over it.  I stayed on the same anchor point for three nights and it was great. 

* IT CAN BE CALM HERE ... AND IT'S ALWAYS BEAUTIFUL! *

Didn’t get off Tsunami until Tuesday due to continuing strong winds … and went ashore to Lady Musgrave Island to enjoy a good walk and explore.  A beautiful little island.

Again you must be very careful how you approach an island such as this when you are suspended on an inflatable dinghy … it’s akin to powering ashore on a balloon and they have a nasty habit of bursting.  Tropical islands are made from coral and coral reefs also surround these islands.  Coral is very sharp, hence the need to wear sandshoes, or some foot protection. 

 Anyway, almost every day a large catamaran or two (about 70’ long capable of carrying, say 60/80 people) cruise from `Bundaberg’ and another small town called `1770’ … and ferry people to the Island from the cruise boat.  Watching this procedure through binoculars gave me a good start to getting onto Lady Musgrove Island without too much risk to the dinghy.  My dinghy does have an aluminium bottom which is a great deal better than an inflatable with a rubber bottom!

* THE LOW TREES ARE AWASH WITH NESTING BIRDS. MANY LOOK LIKE PIDGEONS! *

The island is classic tropical although it does not have Palm trees … mainly Morton Bay Figs and Mangroves (I’m not big with Flora.)  The sands are coral pearl white and the waters crystal clear, with a range of aqua-green colours, changing with the depth of water.  Shallow Bommies show up readily as they turn a yellow colour when close to the surface.  Hundreds of birds nest on the island with some trees thick with nests and protective parents.

* A SOLAR-POWERED SHIPPING BEACON ... OFFERS A VERY GOOD VANTAGE POINT FROM WHICH TO PHOTOGRAPH! *

I was very naughty in my quest to take a photo of the lagoon from a great height.  There’s a small light house on the western side of the island … and as with all beacons it is well protected from the public.  It quickly becomes apparent when one has cracked the security gate, that all visitors and their  dog (not allowed on the island) have been climbing this tower (about 15 metres high – 45-50 feet) as all the rungs of the ladder are brightly polished from hundreds of bare feet buffing them.  I can well imagine the tour operators un-officially dropping the hint to their guests about where they can obtain the best ‘photos … no they wouldn’t do something like that??  What a great vantage point from which to view the lagoon and from which to take spectacular photographs … which I did!

 8-5

ooOoo

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