Island time

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Category: Ships Log
 

March - May 2017

This fall we spent several weekends hanging out on the islands in Moreton Bay.

 

Fall in Queensland is like a pleasant summer in the northern hemisphere – temps are in the 80s F (27-32C), there is lots of sunshine, and the ocean temperatures are still warm (upper 70s F). It is one of the best times of year!

 

In March our friends Veronica and Dennis, from the San Francisco Bay area, were in Brisbane for a visit. We took advantage of a free weekend we both had and convinced them to hop a ferry with us to N. Stradbroke Island. We hadn’t been there for almost a year and it was a good reminder for us what an amazing place we have right on our doorstep. We had a great weekend of hiking, wildlife watching and hanging out on the beautiful beaches.

 

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The kangaroos were very accomodating this weekend, posing for several pictures.

 

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This one appeared to be contemplating the beauty of his surroundings, or perhaps planning his next grazing stop.

 

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We even had an oceanside model.

 

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The required picture of the Point Lookout Gorge.

 

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The view across Main Beach. You can walk for kilometers along the beach here!

 

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Backside of a koala.

 

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In the evening, the flying foxes (aka giant fruit bats) came out in force.

 

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We spent a lovely afternoon swimming in the warm ocean and hanging out on the beach.

 

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Hanging out on the beach with Dennis and Veronica.

 

Later, over Easter weekend (which is a 4-day weekend here), we took Green Panther back out to Moreton Bay and anchored near our favorite spot off Moreton Island (Great Sandy Hills). We enjoyed some sand dune climbing, kayaking through the mangroves, and a dugong search with our neighbors on Merlin, who were also anchored near us (unfortunately we did not see any dugongs – hopefully next time). It is so great to have our boat in working order again so we can get away on long weekends!

 

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Anchored off Moreton Island near the great sandy hills.

 

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View of the busy anchorage.

 

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Chris flying his drone from the top of the sand hills.

 

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Kayaking through the mangroves along Moreton island.

 

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Lots of marine life uses the sand/mud bottom between the mangrove roots. This is a shovelnose guitarfish.

 

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There were lots of half buried stingrays about as well.

 

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Enjoying the sunset at anchor.

 

This fall we also had our annual lab retreat at N. Stradbroke Island at the Moreton Bay Research Station, so we got to enjoy the island for another couple days. And then the following weekend, because the weather was still quite nice, we returned to N. Stradbroke for a day of scuba diving. We visited the islands of Moreton Bay more in the last 2 months than we have in the last 2 years! 

 

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Annual group photo of the Australian Centre for Ecogenomics. This year we used Chris's drone to take our picture.

 

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Lots of nudibranchs were around during our dive. This was a redline flambellina.

 

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A well-camouflaged stonefish. 

 

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The tail of a wobbegong (carpet shark) hiding his head in a cave.

 

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The head of the wobbegong - these are one of my favorite marine creatures! 

 

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A group of bamboo sharks huddling in the same cave as the wobbegong. Who says sharks are solitary?

 

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A brilliant yellow crinoid (feather basket) stands out among all the red turf algae.

 

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We even spotted a moray poking his head out from a crevice.

 

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Steve, Chris and me.

 

Although there are no lovely fall colours on display here, we really appreciate the cooler temperatures compared to summer, which makes it so much nicer to enjoy the outdoors. We had a really great time this season exploring the islands that are almost literally in our backyard. 

 

 

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