Sunday, 9 September 2012

Upolu Reef

Snorkelling at Upolu Reef
At last, we made it onto the Great Barrier Reef proper.
We've had several attempts, getting within a couple of nautical miles, but on each occasion the weather has roughed up so much it would have been unwise for us, as first-timers, to be picking our way through the various and numerous coral heads.
As it was, we had perfect conditions (wind and tide-wise) and four pairs of eyes watching for bommies prior to wending our way through the reef entry between Green Island and Arlington Reef, and connecting Sea Piper to the only public mooring line at Upolu Reef. 
It had been a beautiful sail across from Fitzroy to Green Island early yesterday morning. With the mackerel lines out and a light breeze we had the Code Zero out but were forced to start one motor to keep us moving forward. Half way across from Fitzroy Island we had a hit on the mackerel line and Royden and Mog pulled in a beauty.
Royden had just finished up cleaning the fish when a huge humpback whale came out of the water less than 100 metres from the boat. He was heading south at a great pace and came out twice more before disappearing back under the sea.
We had thought all the whales had left this area already but obviously not. What a treat!
Upolu, and the surrounding reef area, was stunning, especially if you put polarised sunglasses on. It was picture postcard stuff. Brilliant blue water, white, white sand and scattered reef areas with little skiffs of white wave-foam occasionally breaking over them.
Thumbs up for Upolu Reef.
It was hard work swimming from the boat out onto the reef as the current was quite strong but it was something that had to be done! My little camera has not done the colours justice but hopefully Mog's camera with the polariser will yield some better shots.
We headed back towards the marina in the early afternoon, with the main sail and Code Zero out. Initially the breeze was light but we were happy to sail along at 3 to 4 knots or so as the forecast indicated the winds would strengthen.
The wind obliged and we gradually picked up speed, racing along at between 6 and 7 knots with a peak of 7.8. There was a fair bit of cheering and laughter as we reached each new `record' speed.
We arrived back at the marina around 5.15pm - enough time to shower, go out for dinner and then see Mog and Kal off on the bus into Cairns, for their early morning flight back to Melbourne this morning. Sob.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. At least Royden can now say he's made it to Green Island.