Sunday 7th October We arrived at our destination,
Ashmore Reef www.deh.gov.au/coasts/mpa/index.html
yesterday morning, just two hours ahead of Glendora and Jupiter, and oh my goodness what
Ashmore Reef in the middle of the Indian Ocean
Just when we were feeling a little jaded – smug even – been
everywhere, seen everything, nothing can touch us in the same way
now…….and then there was Ashmore Reef National Nature Reserve, lying
about 840 kilometres west of Darwin. With just one Australian
‘Guardian’ Customs ship anchored in the lagoon we are the only
other visitors here and they were quick to come on board and tell us, with
all about the area.
Ashmore Guardian – Australian Customs Ship
We are anchored on buoys in the inner lagoon (provided so we
don’t damage the coral). Here there are large numbers of migratory
shorebirds, colonies of breeding seabirds, significant populations of breeding
and nesting sea turtles, seventeen species of sea snakes (the greatest number
of species recorded at any location in the world) fabulous snorkelling on
pristine and totally undamaged coral reefs – truly awesome. We have
mating turtles huffing and puffing in the sea around us, a beautiful
‘Robinson Crusoe’ island with just two palm trees within dinghy
distance and sand spits to visit. There are sharks here but they are so well
fed they pose no danger (??).
Anyhow we spent the day in the warm sea:
Vic taught Clara to snorkel – and what a place to learn
Amazing blue starfish
And wonderful coral gardens
Turtle tracks in the sand leading to their buried eggs
Relic of an Indonesian fishing boat
Father and son…..
Oscar put all his weights and free dive fins on until he realised
we were in 12 inches of water
We walked the length of West Islet to find the well used by Indonesian
The notice warns of cholera in the water but we tested it and found it
Later that evening we enjoyed a lovely joint birthday dinner with Glendora and Jupiter who
brought wine, pastiche, delicious salads and ice from their ice maker –
very sophisticated, given the location! Lee brought his guitar and sang
in the moonlight – all very special. I was born in India in 1954 so
attaining the age of 54 and being back in the Indian Ocean also leant some
significance to the day……….
A very special anchorage
The pod of three……
We had been warned of illegal immigrants but there are none here and
with Customs close by we feel very safe – traditional Indonesian fishers
have visited these areas for hundreds of years and are still allowed access to
certain parts of the reserve to replenish fresh water supplies and seek shelter
– they also have grave sites here that they visit.
The sun has now risen over a flat calm, glassy lagoon and another day
in paradise has dawned……………..
……but it is never ‘that’ peaceful anymore!!!