Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Whitsundays, Duuuuuuuuude! ...

75-ft. Steel-hulled ketch, HABIBI under sail.
(I'm standing in the prow of the boat to record this image.)

We anchored for the evening in the calm of a small protected cove
, where, after sunset, the warm shallow waters become the stage for a nocturnal frenzy of aggression as deep-water species cruise the reef to feed. In the fading light of evening, we can just make out the shapes of several three-foot-long fish darting fitfully alongside our boat like fruit bats locking in on their quarry. Breaking the surface of the water in an effort to dodge their pursuers, the small reef fish draw even more attention to their presence (and their plight) and mayhem erupts with native predictability.

Drawing the main sail under wet conditions...
(Note how I'm staying dry in the pilot house to capture this shot!)

To see all photos of the sailing trip, click the link below:


Of the seven species of sea turtles found in the oceans, five of them can be seen feeding off the rich, plentiful sea grasses growing on the ocean floor surrounding the Whitsunday Islands. They can be heard clearing their nostrils with a sharp blowing sound as they surface for air at regular intervals. I was amazed to be able to swim with one, briefly, and recorded this short video with my underwater camera. As I followed his lead, I imagined “Crush,” the rad sea turtle from the movie Finding Nemo saying; “It’s this way, Duuuuuuuude! Follow me…”

Yellowtail Fusilier and Batfish

100+ years old and a veteran of both World Wars, Solway Lass also offers overnight sailing tours to the Whitsundays.

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