Wednesday morning at 4.30am in the pitch black 2 hours before the dawn and with a stout northerly blowing we left the harbour and motored north towards Lady Musgrave Island.
The swell of only about a meter or so wasn’t too unpleasant and the northerly while stout didn’t kick up any sort of serious whitecaps.
Slapper and I settled in for an unremarkable push towards the island.
Around 1.30pm we sighted the island and motored up the north side of the coral reef towards the rather small channel into the lagoon.
On the maps it looked at least 20m wide so we had room on both sides.
We arrived during the incoming tide and noticed the channel boiling with water movement and the coral reef on each side barely a foot under the surface.
Slappers cat is only 6m wide so we had a few meters or so to spare on each side and slipped thru the channel as fast as we dared.
Once inside the lagoon we found a nice patch of sand in which to anchor and made sure to let out a few extra meters of chain to ensure we wouldn’t drag during the night.
There were 5 other cats and 1 trimaran along with 10 or so yachts and motor boats.
Even with so many boats moored in the lagoon the was heaps of space to spare.
During the afternoon we took the tender for a quick troll and managed to scare up a small Potato Cod.
The Cod was too small to eat and I think may be protected so we let him go back to the reef he came from.
We had several other strikes but no further hook ups.
After a delicious dinner of garlic and ginger baked flathead we chucked some whiting heads over the back of the cat and caught a pair of red throat emperors.
We had a couple of other hook ups from what felt like larger fish but no luck bringing them to the boat.
Thursday morning we both had toast and coffee and decided to visit the island for a look around.
The reef surrounding the island is alive with fish and coral and very pretty to look at as you approach the beach.
The beach is comprised of layer upon layer of dead coral bits washed up after every storm.
There is no sand on the beach but crushed shells and more coral.
Once ashore there is a canopy of pandanas and pisonias and a wandering track of which to follow.
The track meanders thru the center of the island and Noddies, a ground dwelling bird similar to the New Zealand Kiwi are to be seen everywhere.
I tried to get some pictures of the Noddies but they are a little shy and tend to blend into the undergrowth.
On the center of there is the cleanest and most stink free composting pit toilet I have ever used.
It was very convenient as I don’t have a storage toilet on my side and its not permissible to release brown fish into the lagoon.
On the island Slapper met a sailing instructor he had trained under and said hello.
Alex the sailing instructor had arrived at the lagoon at 7am and then swum the 500m from his boat, which by chance had been moored right next to us, to the islands beach.
As we explored the island Alex began the swim back to his boat.
Half an hour later we left the island and began the motor back to the cat.
We came upon Alex about half way to his yacht and offered him a lift.
He accepted and I am not surprised.
We took him back to Just Jammin and Slapper showed him round the boat.
They caught up over a couple of cigarettes and a can of coke.
Slapper lent him the tender so that he could ferry his student to the island, as to miss out on a stroll around the island would be a waste of the journey there.
We spent the rest of the day just kicking back and wetting a few baits.
Slapper caught some very pretty reef fish but nothing worth eating.
Later in the afternoon we wired up a transom light to attract fish and squid to the back of the boat.
We had mixed success as the light only attracted very pretty but largely uninteresting fish with the exception of a rather large shark and a monstrous flathead.
We had no luck catching either of these.
Friday morning dawned clear and still as we prepped the boat for the next leg of the journey.
After the now obligatory coffee and toast we upped anchor and headed for the channel.
The tide was nearly full when we crossed the channel and it was easy and calm.
Once on the seaward side of the lagoon we sent out a couple of lures and raised the sails although there was only about 3 knots of breeze.
With the motors running and a tiny amount of wind assistance we made 7 knots, just ideal for trolling for Spanish Mackerel.