Thursday, 6th September – Coral Discoverer

Anchored just outside of Freshwater Cove. We were then taken into the cove to be met by some of the local aboriginal people and had our faces painted ochre as a mark of respect.

A young lad called Neil took us up to a cave (quite a walk up and a serious scramble down) with yet more aboriginal art. What was more interesting was the stories he told about the paintings and how he combined the Western lifestyle and education. As these are naturally very self-effacing people, he showed great courage and initiative being able to address quite a large audience in this way. Very impressive.

He then took us back to the “arts centre” – no more than a large wooden shack, really – where one could get a cup of tea and have the opportunity to purchase original artworks. I have to say that the prices were truly eye-watering……
After lunch, a most interesting trip out to the huge Montgomery Reef. For some reason, this coral doesn’t show the same bleaching properties associated with the Great Barrier Reef, and we were able to get in really close to the reef itself as it was at low tide. It gets covered and exposed twice a day and the water run-off from the lagoons in the middle was quite spectacular.

We also, for the first time really, saw quite a lot of wildlife. Plenty of turtles and stingrays, small sharks, batfish and various seabirds. Getting pictures of stuff underwater was impossible, unfortunately.
Another good day out in wonderful weather. The reef in particular was certainly one of the real highlights of the trip so far.

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