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Queensland Term Abroad

Lady Elliot Island

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Lady Elliot Island I
Flying to Lady Elliot

28 September
Arrival and Orientation — Lady Elliot Island is a tiny coral cay lying about 100 kilometers offshore in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Our bus left Brisbane early Sunday morning for Hervey Bay, where we then caught three small planes to the island. A short 30-minute hop over blue waters and we were touching down on the grass runway. Staff met us at our planes and oriented us to the island. Mel gave us an overview of the birds and plants there, after which we hit the reef.

Lady Elliot II
Tom on SCUBA

29 September
Morning Snorkel & Dive — We finished our first day on Lady Elliot (yesterday) by wading on the reef. We began today by going all the way — snorkeling and diving the reef, just off the Lady Elliot lighthouse. Beautiful reef fish, massive and delicate corals, and turtles make for great viewing.

There are lots more Lady Elliot pictures to come.

Lady Elliot III
Dive preparations

29 September
Afternoon in the water — A full boat of HWS/U divers shoved off the beach this afternoon for the Lighthouse Bombies section of the reef. We saw barracuda, wrasse, lionfish, parrotfish, Porites and Acropora corals, crinoids, anemones and mantis shrimps, among other things. We also saw a group of beginner divers. Do you recognize anyone?

Lady Elliot IV
Brooke and Carla

29 September
Reef Walking in the Lagoon — Later that afternoon, Ian and Mel guided us out into the lagoon. The lagoon stretches out in front of the resort and shelters a wealth of interesting critters, including, of course, a variety of corals, but also large urchins, tons of holothurians, rays, and anemones, as well as reef and epaulet sharks.

Lady Elliot V

30 September
Diving the Tubes — This morning saw some of us kitting up for a dive at The Tubes, a wall dive off the south-east side of the island. Highlights included a VERY large green(?) turtle resting in a depression in the reef, a moray eel, and a slip through an coral-built arch. We were greeted at the surface by two humpback whales!

Lady Elliot VI
Annmarie, Claire and Becca

1 October
Project work in earnest — Today our research groups got down to business — finalizing research questions, collecting data and beginning analysis. Topics ranged from coral morphology to sea cucumbers to disturbance hypotheses. Everyone got out on the reef to see what they could see.

Lady Elliot VII

2 October
Project work, presentations — Research continuted in earnest today. We scoured the reef for more information, had crash courses in Multidimensional Scaling, and got nervous. That afternoon students presented their findings.

Lady Elliot VIII
Ian and Morgan

2 October
Party! — After all that work, everyone was ready for a little R & R. In addition, Jeff, one of the senior dive officers, was retiring from the resort, so the staff had cooked up a variety of games and rules by which we had to operate. That made the evening very interesting.

Lady Elliot IX
Nan is co-pilot

3 October
Departure — It was time to leave Lady Elliot. After a last snorkel in the lagoon and a last look around, we cleaned our rooms, packed our bags, then boarded our planes for the flight back to Hervey Bay and return to Brisbane.