During the early days of the Brisbane sail to the Great Barrier Reef, the crew witnessed some of the consequences of Cyclone Debbie: sediment-laden waters that made coral observations difficult.
Great Keppel Island-Mackay Overview
Crew: Pietro, Yffig, Candy, Pere, Solti, Pierre, Gabriel, Laurence, Linzi, Serge, Hugo
Navigation: 03/04 - 07/04 Mooring on Leeke's Beach, Great Keppel Island
It wasn’t possible to thoroughly check the waters due to the conditions of the corals, instead the crew explored the island of Great Keppel and met its inhabitants. Indeed, the waters bathing the island are loaded with sediments, probably due to the remnants of cyclone Debbie, which hit the region a few days earlier. Zodiac expeditions were made to the various reefs that surround the island to also allow our cartoonist Pierre to make his first underwater sketches. Unfortunately, there were no real results as the waters were really cloudy.
08/04 - 10/04 Mullers Reef (Swain Reefs)
Departure on Friday 7 April for the Reef. The weather conditions so far were too rough to allow us to visit the Great Barrier Reef. Fleur de Passion approaches the reef at the end of the morning (Saturday 8th April) and moves from 1:30 pm in 15m deep waters to Mullers Reef which is part of the Swain Reefs. The first impression of this Great Barrier Reef is, as its name suggests, its extent! The reefs are huge, one is in the middle of the ocean, no land in sight and a coral reef is there, under water. The scale is not comparable with the reefs of the Pacific islands. We are all excited to head underwater to observe this famous barrier. Unfortunately, the current is very strong and both snorkelling and diving are uncomfortable. This does not stop us from conducting our first CoralWatch observations and of rejoicing in the presence of all these colourful fish and corals.
10/04 Reef No. 21-130 (Swain Reefs)
We leave Mullers Reef early in the morning for another reef on our way to Mackay. Diving and snorkelling (including CoralWatch) on the menu and this time no power! We will observe many sea snakes among fish and corals. At 5 pm, we weigh anchor in order to take advantage of the last light of day to safely leave the reef and head towards Mackay.
11/04 - 15/04 Mackay
Arrived after about twenty hours of sailing. We finally cross some sailboats in the approach of Mackay but especially many cargo ships anchored offshore. Sugar and coal are the specialty of the city. After an assessment of this part of the trip, we celebrate our arrival and this first portion of navigation on the Great Barrier Reef. Passengers will each take their return flights to Brisbane, Sydney or Switzerland. The remaining crew takes care of the refuelling, repairs, preparing, cleaning and arranging the boat to continue our route to the north.