Our second stop along the Outer Reef and the Capricornia Cays is Fitzroy Reef. This time there is no cay (island), just a fringing reef encircling an aqua lagoon and allowing a narrow entrance to visiting yachts.
This is an absolute jewel. It is strange to find ourselves inside the lagoon, protected, yet in the middle of the ocean. At high tide there is nothing but sea all around us, with a fine dark line marking the perimeter of the lagoon. At low tide the brilliant colours of the reef and lagoon are dazzling: turquoise over sand, yellowish over the reef rim and coral platforms, and deep ultramarine on the outside; and all this under a deep blue sky with white puffy clouds. Unlike North West Island, there are few birds here since there is nowhere for them to nest. We see a few Noddies and the beautiful Black-napped Terns.
But the highlight here is what lurks beneath: the coral platforms and bommies inside the lagoon are stunning and incredibly diverse with the variety of shapes and colours, and the jaw dropping beauty and quantity of the fish make this reef a very precious place we must strive to protect.
We saw the reef in all its moods: calm, sunny, idyllic conditions, then threatening and stormy when a strong change came through, making us very aware of our isolation and distance offshore.
Fitzroy Reef is by far the best we have ever, ever seen. Having it to ourselves most of the time made it an incredible experience. It was hard to select from the hundreds of photos we took. But this gallery will you a glimpse of the wonders we saw over the three days we spent there.