Tydeman Reef and cay

Anchored behind Tydeman Reefs substantial sand cay you are a mere 20km from Cape Melville. This is as close as the outer GBR ever gets to the mainland over its entire 2,300 km length. So close that you could easily explore the cay then high tail it back to Pipon or the Flinders Islands for the night, if need be. However, the anchorage in the passage is secure and comfortable enough in 20-25 knots winds, though you will be swinging through a 180 degree arc with the changing tides. In 2015 we dived a 25m wall along the NE of the reef provides good diving: 20m visibility, big Potato Cod, sharks, nice coral and a modest selection of colourful nudibranchs. In 2018 we had several wonderful dives on bommies a litle further out from the entrance where the coral was excellent, a hightlite was the reef top where the coral was prolific.

Above the water a perfect beach rolls into a grassy cay for thousands of Terns, Brown Boobies and Common Noddies.

In 2018 a colony of Crested Terns was spectacular.  They nest together so densely it reminded us off Antarctica’s penguins. We needed to be careful not to disturb them as silver gulls patroled the edge of the colony waiting for a chance to steal their eggs.

A wondrous sight!


  Entrance Bommie    &      Paddletail Snapper at Tydeman Reef passage

                                                Crested terns at Tydeman cay

 Davie Reef and Cay

A tidal sand spit on the cays north west edge of Davie Reef has many coral boulders that assist in making this an excellent reef Anchorage; your vessel might just have a little dance around for a short time after high tide. The remains of an old trawler near the spit are very handy for securing your dingy to when venturing ashore; however, you are close enough to enjoy snorkelling to the cay and  stopping to view the excellent Coral along the reef’s edge.


   Davie Cay offers a reasonable anchorage in the passage and is an interesting place to explore.

  Scorpion fish                                                                       Solander’s Toby Pufferfish                                                                          Shrimp on whip coral

Rodda Reef and Gut Passage.

The current rips through Gut Passage but in a totally predictable manner. It’s a case of “adventure anchoring” to get a foothold near the reef’s edge; better to drop the pick in 30-35m further out in the passage, then take your dingy over to the little Rodda Reef sand cay and dive from there. The coral walls along the passage are teaming with life, and it’s not hard to dive out and back working with the tidal change. After the dive, warm up while laying on your own private sand patch, miles from anywhere or anybody. These places evoke such a glorious sense of freedom.



 Anchored at the end of the Gut Passage, a difficult place but worth the effort in good-weather.


Rodda Sand Cay washes over at high tide.

Davie-Reef Rodda-Reef-little-tidal-Cay-3 Tomatoe-Anemone-fish


                                               Crested Terns at Tydeman Cay

                      Freshing up on the Sand Cays after scuba diving… compulsory

                  The sunset catches the last of the birds flying back after a hard days fishing.

                  To see all our images of cruising the NE edge of the GBR and PNG click here.

2021 visit

Still a delight, late in December and there were more turtles and Brown Boobie birds nesting than on our previous visits to Tydeman Cay :

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