Up close with sea turtles in the Lady Elliot Island Lagoon
At the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, Lady Elliot Island is a coral cay that is teeming with marine life and beautiful landscapes. On Day 7, we woke up early to catch a short flight over to Lady Elliot Island on a small plane (there were only 6 total passengers plus the pilot). We would spend the day, sleep over and then return back to Hervey Bay in the late afternoon the next day.
We were excited for the plane ride over that would give us a chance to see the coastline and islands from above.
Earplugs in and ready to rock!
Pelican Sands island just off the coast of Hervey Bay
The coastline of Fraser Island - largest sand island in the world
The activities board let us know about the things we could do with our time on the island
Although we had our resident "Australian Dangerous Animal Expert" (Liam) with us, we still needed to read the warnings about cone shells and stone fish in the waters of Lady Elliot (both venomous and deadly!)
The view from the cafe to the "lagoon" - where we did most of our snorkelling and reef-walking
We were geared up and ready to hit the water
We had to hurry to get to the lagoon for snorkelling while the tide was still in and there was enough space to swim over top of the reef in this protected part of the island.
The view from our cottage
Family bunk beds - Bryce and Liam were REALLY excited that we could all sleep in a bunk bed
After lunch, we took a walk around the island to check out some of the amazing coral
We were told: "If it looks like a cone, leave it alone" (and we did:)
We all had our 'reef walking' shoes on and looked for great discoveries
The water was crystal clear - we found heaps of these beautiful blue seastars
These blue clams were really cool as well
Where do I look? Everything is interesting.
Bryce on a reefwalk
Not a sand beach here...
Some sort of sea star?!?
The air strip
We went out on a reef walk equipped with sticks and scopes to help see under the surface
Lady Elliot Island has over fifty species of tropical seabirds. We were able to watch a couple of red-tailed tropic birds fly in to their nests and even sneak a peek at an egg that they were keeping warm.
Sea cucumber - these things were everywhere!
When the tide was out - everything emerged out of the water
This little guy wanted to make sure that we kept moving (he even pointed the way)
And then the sunset...
Love this picture of Chy!
Liam found this rock and wanted to show us all the tiny crabs inside of it
Bryce in a tidal pool
The entire island is solar-powered. Really quite remarkable - an eco-resort for sure!
And wouldn't you know it...Finding Nemo was the movie on the big screen during dinner.
The next morning was cool and really windy
Found this guy in the recycling bin
Our plan was to head back to the "lagoon" for a morning snorkel....and we were rewarded!
A wobbegong shark
(Chy found him and then I managed to get closer than I expected to grab this snapshot from above)
Click on the video clip below to watch Chy and I snorkelling with sea turtles - so incredible!
After our snorkel, we went on a glass bottom boat ride out to the Coral Gardens area of LEI and while we were getting ready to snorkel...
we watched a massive breach by a humpback whale a few hundred metres from our boat!
(not our picture - but it looks like what we saw:)
Chy-Anne and I had a chance to snorkel the "Coral Gardens" on the side of the island where manta rays are often seen. No mantas - but some amazing fish!
Black White-capped Noddy
This is the area near where the turtles nest and hatch (Feb to April)
We joined an Guided Island Walk and learned even more out about LEI
Liam holding a sea cucumber
Bryce holding a sea cucumber
Only 8 of the original trees have survived on the island -
and the ones below are over 400 years old. Wow!
Bryce and Liam feeding the fish
Our flight home approached and while it was a slightly larger plane - it was still very small (around 12 of us). I even got to sit as co-pilot (which was a bit freaky) and had to make sure I didn't touch anything in front of me since the controls were all "live" on my side as well!
We landed back in Hervey Bay