Wednesday 6 April 2016

On the High Seas

I can't believe this was about a week and a half ago. Such a short time yet such a long time.

On Good Friday Sis G arrived on my doorstep, ready for a bit of a holiday. This was the beginning of my first Easter with family in three years.

Sis G brought some of her mates along, or they just followed her, or maybe the idea of time away in Cairns was just catching. They didn't stay with me, but she did. She arrived to a house that had barely been touched in a week with Mr Sparky doing some serious overtime and me having day and night work happening. It is amazing how much cleaning you can do in the half an hour before someone arrives. That someone wasn't Sis G though, it was a friend whose car I am babysitting until she comes back from her holidays.

We had a relaxing Friday afternoon and on Saturday I waved off Sis G, who was off on a trip on the high seas with her mates.

It turned out that there was one place left on the boat and so I tagged along as well. Perks of Mr Sparky working for that company.

I honestly didn't think I was going to get on, I was on standby so couldn't find out whether I would get on until the last minute.

I would have loved to see Sis G's face when I called to find out where on the boat she was. I know when I did see her face, she was pretty pleased to see me.

As we headed out of Trinity Inlet, we got our mandatory safety talk. Then was the how to put on snorkel gear talk. Just before this Sis G was called to see one of the staff, on the deck, in front of everyone. Mr Sparky had been at work and pulled some strings, knowing she wanted a dive, and the staff needed to sort it out. He told me later that when the staff member had asked how to find her he had said to call her over the speaker system. He should write a book ... How to embarrass a teen 101.

On this sunny Saturday we were headed to Michaelmas Cay.

Even though I've lived here for over three years, this was the first time I'd actually been out to the reef. Well, past Green Island.

I'd wanted to visit Michaelmas Cay to see the birds but it wasn't the highest on my list because there is no shade except for what is on the boat. I burn in two seconds flat, got to be realistic about these things.

Well, talk about birds! There were plenty of sea birds around. It is a nesting place for them.

About Michaelmas Cay

Michaelmas Cay is a small, vegetated sand cay:
  • Located on the western tip of Michaelmas Reef 43km north-east of Cairns and 17km north of Green Island.
  • The vegetated coral reef island covers an area of 1.8 hectares and rises to a height of 3.5m above sea level.
  • Around 360m long x 50m wide.
For a period during the late 1800s and early 1900s the island was used by sea cucumber pickers (Beche-de-mer) and for guano mining. In 1937 it was declared a fauna sanctuary and formally a national park in 1975. The Cay has cultural significance to the local Gungandji, Mandingalbay-Yidinji and Yirriganydji indigenous peoples.

The colours of the ocean and reef were amazing. Blue, blue everywhere. My favourite colour.

I sent Sis G and some of her friends off diving and then headed over to Michaelmas Cay to check out the birds up close AND to check out under the water too.

One thing about a crowd of birds like this is that there is a bit of a smell, and plenty of bird poo. A little section of the Cay was roped off for human use but I can imagine that when the humans leave for the day the birds take back over, kicking back and relaxing on that small amount of extra sand space.

Common Noddy

A lot of the birds had babies stuck in that stage between down and feathers. Super cute and awkward looking and pretty much as big as their parents, some even looked bigger.

Brown Booby

Brown Booby

Crested Tern

Crested Tern, Sooty Tern

The water from the Cay looked crystal clear.

Post card perfect view of a tropical paradise.

Unfortunately I filled my SD car quickly, forgetting that it was full of photos that hadn't been taken off. Luckily I had another back on the boat but that didn't help on the Cay.

I headed off for a snorkel and to get lost in the wonder of the underwater world. It was amazing! Pretty, textured and colourful.

I had to head back to the boat for lunch but otherwise I could have been out there for so long.
Some people said they saw a turtle, others ran into jelly fish, the non stinging type. I saw plenty of fish and boy the parrot fish a noisy eaters.

After lunch I just relaxed for a bit on the boat. The tide had lowered so the colours had changed a bit.

We also went on a semi-sub ride as part of the trip. It was pretty cool to be looking around under the water. We were a bit deeper than snorkeling so some of the colour was lost making most things a shade of blue, especially on camera.

When we came back it was afternoon tea time as well as time for the crew to do a count to make sure we were all still here. It was also time to get ready for the return trip to Cairns.

I wasn't ready to go, not really. I wanted to snorkel and explore some more. The day sped by in a very relaxing kind of way.

The trip back to Cairns was pretty relaxed and as we came in closer bubbly was served to all in celebration of a lovely day out on the water. Really it is just part of the package but it was a beautiful day out on the water, enjoying the reef.

Then that was that and it was time to head home. Sis G headed out for a night on the town. I don't now where she found the energy for that. 
I did get sunburnt but only where I couldn't reach with the sunscreen on my back. I should have worn a rashie. Also I don't think I saw a blade of vegetation on the Cay but this could be to do with nesting season.

I really enjoyed the day and am so glad I finally made the effort to go. Having people to go with helped with that.

Have you done anything recently that you were meaning to do and have just gotten around to?

Grab button for one mother hen

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SEASONS  - you can do your own thing. Or follow my variant.


  1. I burn quickly like you so an outing like that with no shade is the stuff of nightmares. But what glorious pictures and memories. Hope you got to soak up lots of time with your sister x

    1. I try to avoid too much time out in the sun even though I love being outdoors. There was shade inside the boat and on the back deck and I was pretty well covered up except for when snorkeling, so of cause got burnt then. Thanks, I did have a great time but wish I got to spend more time with my sister.

  2. More than gorgeous!! Many thanks for sharing all of these with us! It's for sure like a paradise , a place to enjoy nature and see so many wonders! I've never knew before about it! greetings in April!

    1. Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed seeing the Great Barrier Reef and Michaelmas Cay. I just want to visit it again now.

  3. Wow, that was a beautiful trip! Thanks so much for sharing this with SEASONS! So many things to see, but the birds and the underwater shots stand out the most. Does this mean you have an underwater camera? Your comment about how to embarrass a teen 101 made me smile:)
    Thanks for sharing all of this, and hope to see you back next week on Seasons!

    1. Thank you! It was an amazing trip. I do have an underwater camera but these photos are taken on a semi-sub which is basically a boat with an underwater viewing room. This post about a trip to Green Island has shots taken while snorkeling though . We make it our life's work to embarrass my sister. At 18 she is technically and adult but it is still so much fun. I'm glad you enjoyed coming by.

  4. Incredible! P.

  5. Anne,
    Sounds like you had a great holiday with your Sister and Mates. Looks like you had a fun time taking some amazing pictures. Thanks for sharing your adventure.

    Also, thank you for stopping in at my blog and leaving a comment!

    1. It was a great day out, Robyn. I loved visiting a new spot. Thanks for coming by.

  6. What a fabulous trip! We are happy that you participated and shared these wonderful photos with us. :)
    Love especially the birds. They look so cute and "expressive".

    1. Thank you, Sara. The birds were very interesting, it is just a shame I couldn't get more photos.

  7. Wow, what a great experience! Fantastic you got to go to the cay. Looks awesome out there :)

    1. It was a great experience, thanks Alicia. It was amazing and I would recommend it to anyone.

  8. What a trip, and as you say... it is made so much better with family and friends.

    Glad that you didn't burn too much. I can totally relate to that being a fair redheaded myself.

    1. It was a great day out and going with others made it that much better. Now I think I would be happy to go alone so I can be photo mad. I'm glad I didn't burn too much as well but then I did cover up well with long sleeves and a hat most of the day.

  9. Looks like an amazing trip


  10. Such a fantastic adventure! Beautiful scenery ~ I love the crested tern and the b/w shot looking up to the sky from 'under' the sail! Thanks for linking up!

    1. It was such an amazing day. The crested terns do look funny with their hair do. Thanks for coming by.


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