We left Pancake Creek quite early (as seems to be our norm) and headed out east into an easterly with a bit of chop – not ideal conditions for making our way 40nm out to sea to lady musgrave.
With the sails up and a bit deeper water the seas settled down a bit as we tacked our way out to sea. The land gradually disappeared from view and some dark rain clouds rolled in. We skirted south of them and only got a short sharp shower.
Lady Musgrave is a classic tropical lagoon, almost entirely surrounded by reef, except for a narow entrance that is well marked (thank goodness). It was a bit daunting going in through such a narrow gap, with nasty looking reef each side. The water was rushing in as the tide came in and the overcast conditions made seeing Bommies difficult. Safely inside the lagoon, we found 10m of water over sand interspersed with Bommies scattered around the place.
Next morning, we woke to a beautiful sunny day and what a sight. The sun on the water revealed a clear tropical lagoon with reefs teaming with life. Out came the stand up board and the paddle board and off we went to explore. As well as a fringing reef, Lady Musgrave has a coral island with heaps of bird life and a camping ground. There’s a few walking tracks through the bird nesting areas and you can walk around the whole island via the beaches.
The snorkeling was pretty good as well with some big cod and emporor as well as all the smaller colorful reef fish, swimming amongst the coral. The turtles were in nesting mode and we saw quite a few of them around the lagoon. You can go in at night and watch them nest but we didn’t end up doing this.
There were about 10 other boats in the lagoon, with boats coming and going each day. We had drinks one afternoon with Bill and Susan from Avante, an American couple who’d sailed Alaska, Mexico and then across the pacific to Australia. Interesting stories and experiences to share.
Sadly, after a wonderful day and a half there, we had to push on and leave our tropical paradise and visit the other lady – Lady Elliot Island.