Last night the Great Barrier Reef pilot came on board the ship. It will be his and our pleasure over the next 3 days to listen to his experience on the Reef as he tells of the history of this awesome area. We’ll be regaled with stories from the past some of which I’ll mention later.
The reef system is amazing, we basically passed by one reef after
another all day. Pelican Island didn’t have any Pelicans, they migrate to cooler climes for the season but a nearby island did have a few stragglers. There’s even an island that provides fresh water, can’t remember the name now, but it’s the standard stopping place for many smaller yachts and boats to pick up fresh supplies. It’s marked with a big "W" on one of the many boulders. As we advance along the Great Barrier Reef, I’m amazed and how many rocks are sticking out of the water.
I can understand why our Reef Pilot, Captain Wallace Cray is aboard. He’s a fabulous narrator and provides a tremendous amount of history about the whole area. He started his career in 1960 and in 1986 gained an unrestricted license as a Great Barrier reef pilot. He’s worked as a pilot for the last twenty three years and a Cruise ship pilot for the last 18 years. His interest in the complex tidal patterns in Torres Strait and electronic navigation led to a leading role in developing "Keel Clear", an under keel clearance tool for piloting the waters.
A busy day, Gert went to another cooking demonstration and then an ice carving demo on the Lido deck while Pat went to a knitting/crochet group gathering.
Overnight passage through the Great Barrier Reef is prohibited so tonight we anchored off Piper Island, within sight of where Captain Bligh (after the mutiny on the Bounty) arrived after using only dead reckoning and his memory of navigating for Captain Cook years earlier. After a two thousand plus mile journey he was out by only 17 miles!
The whole area is just a wealth of history and has seen explorers such as James cook, William Bligh and Mathew Flinders.
Captain Cray will provide us with a documentary about Bligh on Friday, which we’re planning on attending.