Reef Walk at a Coral Quay on Great Barrier Reef

Lady Elliot Island is a coral quay on the south end of The Great Barrier Reef. The tiny island featured on an episode of David Attenborough’s TV series, Great Barrier Reef  not only because of the bird life, turtles and manta rays there but also because it is a conservation success story.

We journeyed to the island, explored all around it, and snorkelled in the lagoon. Of course, we saw lots of coral when out there snorkelling but we had not an underwater camera. However, another way to get a good look at the coral is to walk out into the lagoon at low tide.

We took these pictures with an ordinary camera aiming down at the water. The water was clear, as you can see, although later in our walk it got murky as the tide came back in.

The staff members of the Eco-restort at Lady Elliot Island lead the groups out. Of course, the first thing they tell you about is safety. If you scrape against the coral you will get a nasty cut and likely an infection. We put on our reef walking shoes. These are thick soled plastic slip-on shoes to protect your feet. You can get them when you arrive at the resort.

The protective gear for the rest of the body simply consisted of a pole to lean on, like one of those poles that nordic walkers use. We walked in the sandy bits that you can see in the pictures, staying clear of the coral. Staying upright while clutching a camera in one hand and a pole in the other was tricky to do especially when the tide turned and the water started surging.

Take snorkelling goggles too so you can get your face under the surface and get a good clear view under the water.Right away we saw all kinds of creatures. Look at the size of these starfish!

There are small reef sharks and huge sea slugs.

And coral of many kinds: ‘brains’, spiky ones, and some like manicured shrubs and huge ‘brocolii’ like creatures.

Later, we sat over a drink or two on the decking of the resort restaurant and thought how lucky we were to be there. We had not even known about this amazing island in our own country until seeing David Attenborough’s show.

What a flight it had been just to get to the island, an adventure in itself. With the beaches and the lagoon and the clear water and the trees full of birds .. Already we felt it was one of the best holidays we had ever had.

Next time we will show you more of the thousands of birds that nest on Lady Elliot Island during November.

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.’