How many people get to live their dreams? I am..........!

This is my story from the time when Capt'n John and I first decided to sail around the big block, to circumnavigate this great land of ours, AUSTRALIA.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Day Three – Lady Musgrave

Monday 7th May 2012
Day Three – Lady Musgrave
The wind is still blowing 15/18knts – rolly at high tide – warm sunshine

I have a bit of a headache and hay fever this morning; no wonders with the two previous night’s consumption of white wine and MrJ and I have been invited over to Sea Mist tonight. I will have to behave myself for tomorrow we sail and that means I could be sea sick especially after alcohol intake the night before.
Sunrise in the lagoon
This morning’s chore is the shelving in the saloon cabin where, in Brisbane, MrJ has been sorting through our old DVDs and burning them onto a separate hard drive. Everything gets tidied in no time which leaves me time to do some hand washing before lunch. Lunch over MrJ and I take to the dinghy once more; this time to see some of the reef and to see if there are the numerous fish and Green Sea Turtle that we have come across on our last visit to Lady Musgrave some three years ago. The tide has not fallen enough to make the travelling by dinghy especially with the wind up a very comfy ride; we are getting drowned by splashes of water coming over the bow. We are not able to see very much of anything with the large ripples of water rolling across the inside reef so it is back to the island spot to do a bit of reef walking in our hard sole “Crocs’. This trip I have put my old Olympus Point & Shoot camera in an underwater plastic housing that I bought especially for this camera last year in Cairns.

Treading very carefully in the shallow water on the reef shelf near the island cay I come across a few small clam shells, some of a particular bright blue, some dark yellowish and other just a dark colour. There are millions of “Sea Cucumbers”, Sandy Sea Cucumbers and Black Sea Cucumbers, everywhere in the low water or sandy edges.
Sea Cucumber at low tide
Black Sea Cucumber under the water
Sea cucumbers are generally scavengers, feeding on debris in the benthic layer. The diet of most cucumbers consists of plankton and decaying organic matter found in the sea. One way they might get a supply of food is to position themselves in a current where they can catch food that flow by with their tentacles when they open. Another way is to sift through the bottom sediments using their tentacles. They can be found in great numbers on the deep sea floor, where they often make up the majority of the animal biomass. The body of deep water holothurians is made of a tough gelatinous tissue with unique properties that makes the animals able to control their own buoyancy, making it possible for them to both living on the ocean floor or floating over it to move to new locations with a minimum of energy. Also in more shallow waters they can form dense populations. Sea cucumbers extract oxygen from water in a pair of 'lungs' or respiratory 'trees' that branch off the cloaca just inside the anus, so that they 'breathe' by drawing water in through the anus and then expelling it. Sea cucumbers reproduce by releasing sperm and ova into the ocean water. Depending on conditions, one organism can produce thousands of gametes. Movement for all Sea Cucumbers is slow but definitely detectable, using their tube feet. They remain residents their local reef, bank or general area, being contained by suitable habitat. There are distinct separate sexes and spawning is a community, seasonal, external exercise.
The Sandy Sea Cucumber is black but secretes a mucus layer over itself which and sticks to. There for it is very well camouflaged and often quite difficult to see.

The Black Sea Cucumber is normally found with its back end under coral but occasionally is fully seen. On close observation you can see this creature feeding, picking up sand with its delicate feathery tentacles and putting them into its mouth. If this sea cucumber is touched at the front it will slowly retract underneath its coral shelter.
Around the world the Black Sea Cucumber is farmed or harvested, depending on the area.

On my explorative part of the reef I did not see much exposed colourful live coral; there is a lot of dead hard coral on this shelf and other bits of dull brownish coloured live corals. The only Green Sea Turtles that I have seen on this trio was at the entrance as we came in yesterday.

Returning to AR to get cleaned up for out invitation on board Sea Mist for tonight’s Sundowners; I am making Garlic & Onion Flatbread with a Yellow Dahl Dip which went over very well with everyone.
Sunset over Sea Mist
I can never remember people’s names unless I write them in my boat index book; John and Cheryl had some other Canadian friends over this evening who have just arrive at Musgrave this afternoon from Mooloolaba and do you think I can think of their names – no. Another sundowners, another sunset and another great time with new cruising friends.

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