Springtime at Lady Musgrave

If you want to see breeding birds and turtles, if you enjoy snorkeling with a multitude of fish surrounding you, Lady Musgrave is the place to be. This is a busy spot though! The Lady Musgrave coral cay and lagoon are 52nm from Bundaberg and often the first or last stop along the reef yachts come to – we counted 25 boats in there! It is also a favoured destination for commercial tour boats.

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Narrow entrance into the lagoon

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The reef at low tide

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Lady Musgrave coral cay and visiting yachts

We were lucky, we came here thinking the weather was turning on us and we would have to make a quick retreat back to Bundaberg the following day. But at the last hour the foreast changed, allowing to say for three days.

Lots of Birds

The coral cay enables you to go ashore and enjoy many species of birds nesting in the pisonia trees, especially at this time of year. So not only are you in a protected lagoon, but you can stretch your legs and go bird watching! Here is a selection of feathered friends we observed.

With some much bird life and sea turtles coming on the beach to lay their eggs, it was a shock when we spotted two guys walking their dog, and not even on a leash! They returned to their dinghy in a hurry when they saw us coming! A national park, signs everywhere telling you it is nesting season… People like these ought to fined!

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Some people don’t give a damn

Last Snorkeling for a while!

And then of course with three days in the lagoon, we had to explore several corners of it! The corals and fish at Lady Musgrave are different again to our previous stops. Very attractive, rounded coral heads harbour a multitude of little pullers and other iridescent fish. On a sunny calm day the colourful reef and fish are reflected on the surface of the lagoon – an enchanting sight. And close to the island, the sheer quantity of fish, particularly butterflyfish, and the number of sea turtles were astounding.

We lingered a long time in the water, knowing this was going to be our last opportunity to snorkel for a while. Here is a selection of our favourites shots – a joint effort between Wade and I. This is a larger gallery than usual, but our last underwater exploration for a while. So we hope you will indulge our passion and enjoy the photos.

After three days at Lady Musgrave, we headed back to Bundaberg on Friday 26 October. This is the end of our 2018 Coral Sea Cruise for the season, and where Sue left us after five weeks onboard.

16 thoughts on “Springtime at Lady Musgrave

  1. I would have been happy in that place to photograph birds and wild life underwater! Great pictures guys! 🙂

    • We thought of you with the nesting birds. I was nearly going to say ‘this part is for HJ’! The noddy birds are particularly beautiful… relatives of the Tern.

  2. Great pics as usual. How do you police people who continually ignore the signs that we see & they refuse to see!

    • Hi Caroline, I think it’s not until they are reported and fined that it sinks in. I wish I could have seen the name of their boat on their dinghy, but could not!

  3. Wonderful Pictures. Almost as nice as being there………well almost!
    Wade I was interested in what your risk mitigation plan is for shark attack while snorkeling, especially when solo as I often am. I know the little reef ones like in your photo are of no concern, but the bigger cousins?? When you can see them in clear water (unlike Cid), do you have time to respond & get out of the water? Interested to hear your thoughts

    • Hi Graham – sharks are everywhere, you have to accept that there is a risk. Your chances of being bitten in clear water are a lot less. As a rule we don’t snorkel in turbid water, at dusk and dawn when it is their feeding time. Out on the reef we have only seen white tip or black tip sharks which are not a concern. At remote reefs like Elizabeth Reef we have seen tigers and did not get in the water. We have dived with free divers who have been in the water with them. They describe them as ‘inquisitive’ and always face them and tap them on the nose if they get too close. They all say ‘it’s the shark you don’t see that is the concern’. We have never had to test the theory. Chris will be writing a post about the subject, but basically if you can’t see what you are swimming in or are too remote to get help in case of trouble, stay out of the water!

    • The Capricorn & Bunker Group were the highlight of our cruising this year, Ross. Healthy coral and abundant fish life, away from crowds, even though Lady Musgrave was busy. But it is only one of many spots to explore at the Southern GBR.

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