Z E N I T U D E
Blue Water Dreaming
Exploring the Reef - A visit to Bait and Hook Reefs
Leaving from Hook Island in the Whitsundays it was just 20 miles to reach Bait reef in a northerly course. We left at first light one morning and had a fantastic sail all the way to the reef.
While underway we crossed with another sailboat coming in the opposite direction and we rightly assumed he was coming back from Bait Reef. We had a chat over VHF and he told us he had just left and for sure we should find free moorings.
This was good news as there are only 4 moorings and it is not allowed to anchor in this reef. He also assured us that the entrance to the lagoon was easy and as long as we left the yellow buoy to starboard we should find it easy to navigate through to the moorings.
Bait Reef - Napoleon and Whales - 30 to 31 July 2014 (19.48.65S 149.03.60E)
Happily sailing and glad to hear all the assurances of good times to come we soon arrived at the amazing site of a lagoon surrounded by submersed reef in the middle of the ocean.
The entrance was indeed easy and nobody was there. All four moorings free for us to choose from. We chose the one that had a reef nearby so that we could easily access snorkelling from the boat.
Bait Reef is beautiful and as fishing is not allowed there is plenty of fish around. ‘Our’ mooring had a permanent Napoleon around, very friendly all the time looking for food; you are also allowed to pat him in the back as he doesn’t seem to mind that.
Napoleon, a frequent visitor at Zenitude
A whale at the reef entrance marked by the yellow buoy
They were coming straight to us and when approaching a guy said he 'needs' our mooring and could we move to another one. When we asked why couldn't they go to the other mooring he explained he wanted his inexperienced 'young guys' diving in this reef, which as per his assessment had the less current.
Well, we thought, what is wrong with this guy, he surely can ferry the people on his dinghy from his private mooring that is not that far anyway. After all, we had also assessed this mooring and that's why we chose it. We said we were about to go snorkelling and we could consider moving after that. He wasn't happy and kept insisting until he finally gave up and went to his private mooring quite upset.
We refused to get bullied and did our snorkel as planned. We found out that depending on the day of the week this reef can get really annoying and crowed.
The morning was quiet and slowly other boats started arriving. We were getting ready to go snorkelling when to our dismay we saw a catamaran approaching towards us with what looked like 50 people on board, all standing in the bow. A dive tour operator, of course, and we wondered which mooring was nearby and where did they think they were going.
Wings III in her private mooring - Diving Tours
Next morning the 15 knots wind had died down and we decided to check the Hook Reef. Just before leaving a pod of whales came to visit and hung around the entrance to the cut. They played for a little while and then left leaving the cut free for us to exit.
Hook Reef is not far from Bait and in about 1.30 hours we were there. There are no moorings so you need good visibility to find a good spot to anchor. It is quite easy to approach and find a sand patch when the weather is good.
We liked this reef better than Bait Reef, and to make things better tour operators are not coming here.
The best day weather wise was Friday, a complete windless sunny day but we had to take advantage of the favorable current in the morning and decided to start our trip back to the Whitsundays as strong winds were forecast for Saturday and it is not fun to get caught in the reef with strong winds.
At anchor in Hook Reef
Hook Reef - Just by Ourselves in this Amazing Place - 31 July 2014 (19.48.631S 149.09.290E)