We first drove to Harvey Bay which is about an hour and a half from where I live. We then took a plane out to Lady Eliot Island - this was about a 40 minute trip. The first part of the plane trip was the only part that I really didn't like! There were strong and gusty winds and the little plane really jumped and skidded across the air until we reached a sufficient height to be out of reach of the winds which were so strong close to the ground. This is a photo of a similar plane on the landing strip at the island.
The next three photos were taken out the window of the plane and show the island from east to west. The landing strip goes right across the middle of the island.
Everything done on the island has as little impact as possible and is as sustainable as possible. This photo shows the very impressive array of solar electricity panels.
There are a number of activities organized for guests on the island. We decided we wanted to go on a reef trip in the glass bottom boat with the option of then snorkeling from the boat. The boat trip was fantastic - although rough! As soon as we started moving around the reef there were mantra rays and green turtles popping up all around us! We were told this does not happen often - so we were lucky! In the end I "chickened out" of snorkeling - but my son went in and thoroughly enjoyed himself. He said that close in to the reef it was just like swimming in an aquarium! This is a photo of the boat taken later in the day when it was tied up just off the reef. (Sorry there are no other photos taken from the boat but I would not risk my dslr with the wind and the kind of sea that was running by that time. I estimated the swells to be up to a meter and a half by the time we came in.)
The wind was strong and strengthened all day. By the time we came in from the boat trip all snorkeling off the island was cancelled and as the tide was low in the middle of the day there was no snorkeling in the lagoon either. There was a guided reef tour in the afternoon and later I watched the lagoon begin to fill with water.
For me, a large part of the excitement of the day were the numbers and varieties of birds that are on the island. Everything on the island is protected so the birds are not at all afraid and wander around almost under your feet at times. The first birds we saw as we got off the plane were Noddies. They were everywhere! Large numbers of them were nesting in trees and we watched birds bringing in further nesting material and presenting it to the bird sitting on the nest. Noddies are very difficult to ID but I have been told that these tree nesting birds are Black (or White-capped) Noddies (Anous minutus).
There were also large numbers of Terns wandering around among the resort buildings - but when I went to photograph them in the afternoon most of them had disappeared! This is a Sooty Tern. (Sterna fuscata)
Other birds that were running around everywhere were the Buff-banded Rails. (Rallus philippensis). Everyone was warned that the doors into the dining room must be kept closed at all time or else the Rails came in and hopped up on the tables and made a terrible mess! This one had been having a good preen and was moving around without sleeking its feathers down. This gave great views of the colors and patterns on its wings.
One of the staff told me that there were Red-tailed Tropicbirds (Phaethon rubricauda) nesting beside one of the buildings. They were under some trees and immediately below the veranda of the building. There were a number of adults sitting on nests - one juvenile already getting some feathers - and one tiny ball of fluff tucked close in beside an adult.