Saturday, 11 July 2015

Great Barrier Reef Fish On

Elliot dinghies around the reef looking for the entrance to the lagoon.

The winds have dropped to below 10 knots, perfect for an overnight trip to the outer reefs, Hook, Hardy, Line and Bait Reefs.

From Hook Island to Bait Reef is about 17 miles and although we left early in the morning we just missed out on one of the five mooring balls at The Stepping Stones.

Anchoring even in the designated areas is tricky among the coral bommies but here it's absolutely out of the question as much for protection of the coral reef as for preservation of boat and crew.  Bareboat  charterers are not permitted to sail themselves to the outer reef.

We find a suitable sand patch to anchor off Hook Reef for some fishing.  Fishing is allowed in a (yellow) Conservation Park Zone, under certain restrictions.  The sight of the coral and large reef fish was some consolation for the fact we caught nothing we could keep.

In very calm conditions and with the latest edition (2014) of the cruising guide "100 Magic Miles" in hand we otor over to Hardy Reef intending to anchr inside the lagoon for the night.  The guide indicates that with our draft (1.5m) we could enter at a gap in the reef aptly named "The Waterfall".  We don't know how long it has been since the author hs tried it himself but we would not dare!

We have navigated some challenging waters in the "Dangerous Archipelago", the Tuamotus but this lagoon "entrance" has to be seen to be believed.  We would not risk taking our inflatable dinghy through the narrow gap at high tide.  The marker pole can be clearly seen below the surface, lying atop a bommie.

The anchorage at Line Reef is our best bet for the night with the bonus being that we can fish the less restricted blue "Habitat Protection Zone" classification.

It's a perfectly calm, magic night, disturbed only by the call "fish on"!

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