Lady Elliot Island 2015

08th March 2015
Lady Elliot Island is a most amazing place! It is at the bottom of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Hervey Bay. It is a haven for turtle hatchlings and bird migrations and therefore a haven for wild life photographers! I joined a group with WPA for both tuition and fun on LEI in February 2015.

In all my life I have never seen so many birds - every branch on every tree had a makeshift nest with White Capped Noddy's in residence! On the ground at the end and beside the small airstrip were the nesting territories of the Lesser Noddy's and the Crested Terns. The chicks were at all stages of development from courting parents, to eggs, to baby chicks and to the adventuresome almost fledged youngsters braving the winds on their first attempts at flight!

The coral beaches provided a wonderful spot to sit and watch all these birds busily hunting fish and delivering to their ever demanding chicks. This of course provided an absolute perfect venue for we photographers!

The Lagoon in front of the resort (about 1 minute walk from your front door) was a coral reef full of corals and fish and most importantly turtles, which had returned home to lay their eggs. We snorkeled every day and swam along side these wonderful creatures! My first attempt with video using a GoPro camera was very amusing but hopefully I will have some decent footage when I get time to edit it!

Of course we all wanted to see some baby turtle hatchlings and as they usually hatch at night and follow the moonlight down to the water and onto the horizon, with cloudy rainy weather our chances were slim! However, after dinner one evening we came out to find the path covered in tiny struggling hatchlings as they mistakenly headed for the resort lights which replaced the missing moon light. It was so exciting to hold these little critters in your hand - they were amazingly strong and the desire to go was very powerful! With the instructions of the staff we gathered all the babies in a large bucket and made for the beach where we made two lines and a staff member with a torch drew the babies down the beach to the water and off they went out into the huge ocean so small and fragile but so determined! They evidently need to walk down the beach to set their internal GPS so they will return to the same place in many years time to lay their own eggs!

We had two instructors on this trip: Pearce Leal and Freeman Patterson. Pearce was very patient and a fantastic tour leader and instructor and we all learned heaps from his ideas and suggestions. Freeman also taught us to think outside the square and that your photography is an extension of you so what ever you think is right - DO IT! He taught us to experiment and PLAY with our cameras. It is not our much your camera cost but what you see that is important! All in all a wonderful week! I can't wait to go back!