juliet: (australia - kata tjuta)
Am returned from my brief sojourn as desert island castaway. I spent last night camped on Lady Musgrave Island, which is right at the south end of the Great Barrier Reef. I spent most of the time either sitting on the beach admiring the sea, sitting on the beach admiring the stars, or snorkelling[0] around over the reef admiring the coral, fishes, sea slugs, etc etc.

So many fish! With many exciting colours! Neon yellow/green fish, and pinky-blue fish, and zebra fish, and an awesome black fish with light blue polkadots. Also sand-coloured fish that hide by staying very very still over the sandy sea-bed. Lots of the little fish dive in and out of the coral when they're alarmed, which is v cute. I also saw a little fish swimming along with a much bigger one and snuffling along its side, which I assume was some kind of cleaner fish.

Saw one smallish manta ray yesterday afternoon on the reef by the island (it was hiding in the sand then shot out and away when I came too close), and then today when out by the boat, a *huge* ray just pottering along in one of the gaps between patches of coral, wiggling its fins lazily. I swam along after it for a while, then turned to head back -- and saw a green turtle equally lazily coming up the same patch of sea! Turtle!

Plus there were deep purple starfish, and lots of clams (I have never seen a clam before!), and about another squillion sorts of excitingly-coloured fishes, and lots of sea-slugs. Plus of course the coral itself, which is gorgeous & comes in lots of forms.

There were also a vast number of buff-banded rails and black noddies (both of these are types of bird) on the island itself, who shat all over my tent & woke me up at 5am, which was considerate of them.

Executive summary: seriously awesome, although was v glad to get back to hot shower to wash all the salt water off. Tomorrow I have outrageously early start to head back to Brisbane, then Sydney on Sat.

[0] I knew that those snorkelling lessons in Beckenham swimming pool, which must have been over 15 yrs ago now, would pay off sometime! I even remembered now to dive underwater and not drown when you resurface; although snorkel technology seems to have improved in the last 15 yrs, as these ones had a little valve in the bottom of the pipe so that you don't have to blow the water all the way out of the top. Whilst on the subject of 'things that will only be remembered by [livejournal.com profile] wezpez': I have had the 'Robinson Crusoe' song from Watch ('far away on an island', that one) in my head off & on for the last 24 hrs.

September 2017



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