Hi, I know it has been a while since our last blog, but getting on the road has made it more difficult to access computers. We are in Nature now! After our few camp adventures on the way up we finally made it to our Great Barrier Reef destination, Agnes Waters and the Town of 1770. These twin towns are where Captain Cook first landed his vessel in Australia. Agnes Waters has a population of 1600 and the Town of 1770 a population of 52. We had a nice beachfront campsight for 2 days. We arrived there Monday, Snorkel Tour Tuesday, camp Tuesday night, and on the road again on Wednesday. It was much hotter and more humid up there which was great for our Great Barrier Reef adventure.
Our Lady Musgrave Spirit of 1770 boat trip left the dock promptly at 8:30am. We are proud to say we were the first ones to arrive and the first ones to board the ship! It was a good thing because we were able to sit upstairs, outside with fresh air and a great view for the 90 minute boat ride to Lady Musgrave Island and lagoon. The Humpback whales are in their migration season so the ride our was filled with cheers of "a whale," where we would all turn and watch a giant whale that weighs as much as the ship we were on jump completely out of the water and bridge over the air and back into the blue water. It was a truly amazing sight! They served coffee and tea when we arrived out at the Island and then we were free to get our snorkel gear and experience one of the 7 wonders of the world. The water was a little cooler than we expected, but all was forgotten as we saw the 350 species of fish and multicolored coral everywhere. The colors and the variety of the fish were breathtaking. We snorkeled for about an hour and a half and then lunch was served. It was a hot buffet consisting of 3 different pasta salads, a roast chicken, ham, a bread selection, fruit bowl, and prawns. Being on a rocky boat and snorkeling, I stayed safe with the roast chicken and bread.
Another aspect of the tour was riding a glass bottom pontoon boat over for a guided walking tour along Lady Musgrave Island. It was nice to be on dry stable land and warm up from our next snorkel. This island was discovered by a fisherman who was "whaling" (hunting whales) in the early 1800s. Lady Musgrave has 70 percent of the worlds population of Pisonia trees and the largest Pisonia forest in the world. The tour guide was very into these trees. We learned that they retain water and humidity in their roots and trunks which allows them to be able to grow anywhere from any position. For instance, one tree had fallen over and 10 different branches grew out of the fallen branch. Another root connected three different trees, proposing the question which tree grew first? She said you can put a cut stick or limb on the ground and it will root and become a tree! As we were walking along the shore back to our boat we got to see blacktop reef sharks chasing a school of fish. She assured us they are always in this one spot as the tide comes in and will not go after humans when their feeding supply is plentiful.
We arrived back on the ship and Mikey and I decided to get back in and snorkel while Tommy and Jenny took a semi submerged submarine ride which was included as well. Just when we thought we could not be any more surprised by the beauty of the reef we came upon a huge 10x10 bed of coral that provides a resting and cleaning station for turtles. 3 were in there. The size of the this coral bed and the way the turtles were snuggled up in there was amazing. I was finally exhausted from swimming against the current and trying to keep water out of my snorkel. It was a workout! We got some afternoon tea and cookies that were served. That allowed us time to warm up before our chilly trip back to land. The captain took us to a few whale watching spots and stopped the boat for time to watch the whales. The whale sightings made the trip extra special, topping off a full day of being with australia's amazing marine life. As we arrived back to the dock at 5:15 to another beautiful sunset.
One great thing about the campsite in 1770 was that fires were permitted. I know, how can you call it camping without a fire?, but they have lots of restrictions on building fires and our first 2 camp sites prohibited them. Coming home to our tents knowing we would sit by the fire after the long day out at sea was the perfect ending to our great barrier reef trip. We shared the fire with our neighbors who also became our first friends of the trip. Kate and Kamron were from Brisbane and also did the snorkel tour. They were great to sit around the fire with, and offered much needed advice and insight into getting to know Australia even more. We exchanged emails and will keep in touch. They also gave us all our first taste of Bundaberg rum which is made in the nearby city of Bundagerg. It was a very sweet rum!
We moved on today 4 hours south to Rainbow Beach. Today was our first drive truly without a plan. We are camping and trying to figure out what is next. We miss all of you as always and are trying to keep blogging our adventures as much as possible. We haven't forgotten to write, just on the road! Enjoy some pictures below!!!
Lady Musgrove Island