Revisiting the GBR Nth East Edge

Today we cast off and head to one the most remote but exciting coral reef sections off the Australian coast — Wreck bay to Ashmore Reef. We will return in 2019 with lots of stories to tell and information for those interested in cruising, diving and fishing this wilderness corner.

The fun will begin after we first travel 400nm north to Lockhart River where we have arranged for a fuel top up. The Malu Warriorbarge calls there weekly until late October; this will be our last available fuel stop till we reach Cooktown on our return journey three months later.  From Lockart River its about 60nm ENE to our start point at the North edge of Wreck Bay. We have had several fantastic exploring cruises there in 2011 & 2012, now its time to check out this area again. Wishbone, Great Detached, and Ashmore reefs come quickly to mind as excellent anchorages with an abundance of undisturbed marine life offering great diving.

                   Anchoring at Wishbone Reef over shallow sand amongst pretty little coral heads is superb.

“Remote,” is the best word to describe this area.

Once we spent four weeks in Ashmore and Boot reefs without seeing the slightest sign of human life. No boats, no planes, no noise on the HF,  or blips on the radar.  It’s lucky that first mate & I get on well together!

     There may be no people about, but there is always a chance of a bird hitching a ride. This red booby was our pet for three days.

 Is the coral still healthy?

The GBR marine park authority surveys have indicated only minimal coral damage along the outer reef edge from the 2015-16 beaching events. We hope that GBRMPA is correct, it’s going to be interesting.

   Crystal clear water and healthy coral. This pics is from Boot Reef just West of Ashmore Reef. Fifty-meter visibility.

                                                                    Always a favorite.

Exploring no man’s land.

In 2012 we also enjoyed retracing the path of the old clipper ships that traversed from nth of Great Detached thru to Thursday Island.  This trip we also plan to do some further exploring, there is a sizeable uncharted area just nth of here as shown on the map.

In 2012 we found several little sand cays to the NW of Great Detached Reef. It required a strong rower to reach this one 🙂

 In 2011 we discovered this huge ships cardinal marker drifting near Wishbone reef. We have no idea from where it originated.  It was still smashing up the coral when we visited again in 2012. I wonder if our requests to the AMSA & MSQ for it to be to sunk were heeded or did they consider it to be too remote to bother with? We will soon find out.


For further images of our cruising around the NE edges of Australia & PNG click HERE.


Catch up with everyone next year

Cheers Rob and Syl

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