Friday 4th August, we head over to Hardy Reef, the water is flat and a breeze but we do get a sail on the screecher for about an hour, racing whales again along the way. We arrived at the “waterfall” entrance at about 2.30 p.m. We had to wait til 4.00 p.m. To go through the waterfall. It is low tide and the first time we have done it at low tide. This makes the entrance shallower and a bit narrower. We scrape the coral through a slight misjudge but no damage.
There are 8 boats in here already and another 3 follow us, getting to be a popular spot. Next morning we finally meet up with Karen and Greg from Entice and then we all head over for a drift dive. Cyclone Debbie has changed the reef but it is still clean and the coral is vibrant and seemingly untouched, maybe natures cleanup! So happy to see it all so pristine and it is certainly as good if not better than what we remember. But we are too late for a drift dive as the tide is already running out, Gary and Entice crew do get in for a quick swim but they fight the current. After lunch we dinghy around the edge and all seems pretty well untouched. And we meet Helen and Lester at the reef for a walk,
Well I never thought a reef would survive a cyclone so well!!
still enjoy walking around the coral, hearing clams squirting water, seeing fish scamper around as we frighten them. Sunday, we wake up to an overcast sky and chance of 2-15mm of rain. Four boats leave the Lagoon but we stay and ride it out
We wanted to to a drift dive but as we get ready for it, it starts to rain and becomes gloomier so change of plans – lets ask the whole anchorage over for scones, jam and cream. Exhale, Thor, Somewhere, Slim all on Chances for morning tea. Fiona brings a huge Lumberjack Cake.
The girls inside
The boys outside
and the transport tied up safely
The day gets wetter, our gloomiest and wettest day ever out here.
After a calm night, no possible storm eventuating we wake up to the most beautiful, glorious, calm morning.
The sun is up over the horizon and shining through the low horizon clouds, the water – well we could just about walk on it. Millions of photos! I even see whale plumes off on the far horizon and as there is absolutely no breeze the plumes just go straight up and I’m able to capture them in a photo. Gary goes in the dinghy to get photos of us
Us in Hardy Reef
and I capture the other 4 boats in this surreal setting. We can only do our best to capture the moment but it’s a got to see it to believe it moment, tears in my eyes this morning.
We head over to the reef and are in the water at 8.30 a.m. We need to be in before the tide starts to run out over the reef. With the sun shining brightly the reef that Gary finds is beautiful, lots of fish and different sorts of coral.
Staghorn, we haven’t seen any bleaching
So much colour
As I said previously, the only evidence of a cyclone is a change in the landscape and a few plate coral that has toppled over. After over an hour in the water we head over the other side of the Lagoon where the others are snorkelling and we get in again, this dive is over the inside edge of the reef and we find different types of coral including a lot more smaller clams, it’s like a nursery here. On our way back to the boat we go through the waterfall, the entrance and then through the other opening and on the inside corner there is large plate coral, I hop in for a quick look and then drift dive out to where Gary is in the dinghy, the water is starting to run faster now.
BBQ that evening on Exhale.
Tuesday 8th August, we attempt to up anchor but I can’t even get the bridle (first 5 metres) up, we were stuck on something but were able to loosen it and we head out the Waterfall. We see 7 whales, including a baby breaching within the first 45 mins.
Nice sailing day, main sail and schreecher up, winds build so the schreecher is put away, winds build even more and we put 2 reefs in.
Arrive back at Gloucester at 4.00 p.m.
Our track from Airlie to Gloucester and out to Hardy Reef (green marker)