The island has featured on an episode of David Attenborough’s TV series, Great Barrier Reef because it is a conservation success story. Beebear took her people along to show them all that good work. Also, for a little holiday.
Where is Lady Elliot Island? Zoom in on a map of Queensland, Australia. On the east coast at the widest bit of Oz you can see a large island, Fraser Island. Lady Elliot lies north of Fraser.
Just to get there was an adventure. We flew out on a Beechcraft B 200 from Hervey Bay and returned on a Cesna 210 Centurion. As an experienced aviator herself, Beebear helped to oversee the control thingygums. If you zoom in on this photo you can see the navigating thingygum. It shows our position and the red line shows our flight path.
Our flight from the coastal town of Hervey Bay to Lady Elliot Island took 80 minutes. We headed out over the sea and then northerly between the mainland and Fraser Island, the big one in the distance. Beyond Fraser Island is The Pacific Ocean where the turtles roam for years after laying their eggs on Lady Elliot.
The colours and swirls and patterns of coastal seas are just too blue for words. And these pics were taken through slightly fuzzy perspex windows so in fact they looked even bluer.
See that little island in the foreground of the picture below? Imagine an island like that all for oneself. Our BeeBear thought it just about the right size for a a small-winged bear. She would just sit there in the shade by the sand all day simply being stunned by the colours of the sea. Cyclones could be a bother though.
Thar she blows! Lady Elliot Island hoves into sight. You can see the main coral reef where the deep dark blue ocean is breaking to white tops. Within the reef lies the lagoon. You can do reef walks at low tide and snorkel there at high tide. You see green turtles and reef sharks and all kinds of starfish and fish and lots of coral. The manta rays tend to be on the other side where the lagoon is rougher. It’s best to be an experienced diver if you’re going over on that side. We did briefly see mantas though in the lagoon!
The island is so small that, as you can see, the airstrip goes right across the middle, one side to the other.
If you look through the blur of the propellor (below) you can see two bands of blue at the end of the landing strip? That’s the lagoon and after that the dark deep blue of the Pacific Ocean. We saw turtles right there at the end of the runway strip. More about that in another post.
You can walk around the outside beaches of the island and back to where you started in an hour, if you hurry. But there is no hurry here for anything.
And there is the Eco Resort on Lady Elliot Island. It’s deliberately low key and low impact. The staff are very involved in caring for the island. They plant trees and count the birds nests and the turtle nests and inform visitors about the wonders of the island. The island was actually a conservation disaster until some decades ago, and since then it has been restored tree by tree.
More about Lady Elliot Island in the next post.
Mark is guardian and blundering typist for Mawson, one of this bright world’s few published bears.
Of Mawson’s first book, It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In, a reviewer said, ‘Reading this book is like receiving a great big hug of reassurance and a huge hot chocolate with fluffy marshmallows.’