Tuesday/ Fitzroy Island 🐚

We went out to Fitzroy Island today, officially Fitzroy Island National Park.
The island lies offshore from Cape Grafton, 29 km (18 mi) southeast of Cairns.

Our catamaran vessel set out at 8 am, and we were back early afternoon.
It was overcast at our arrival, and windy. The wind only worsened, and soon we learned that our planned glass-bottomed boat trip out to one of the reefs had to be cancelled. (The wind makes the water choppy and murky).

The walk through the forest to Nudey Beach was nice enough, though— and it was the first time that I had set foot on an entire beach of dead coral.

The view from our catamaran vessel as we approach Fitzroy Island. It’s hard to make out in the picture, but there is a hotel (lodge) dead ahead on the island, and the thin strip of sand visible on the right where the island meets the sea, is Nudey Beach.
The jetty at Fitzroy Island as we were disembarking. It’s a 45 minute trip from Cairns to the island.
Looking up as we are making our way to Nudey Beach through the forest.
Nudey Beach as seen from the hiking trail.
These beautiful yellow flowers were on a hibiscus tree of some kind, on Nudey Beach.
The entire Nudey Beach is filled with the calcium carbonate skeletons of dead coral. (There is a strip of sand by the waterline). Coral is a sessile* marine animal. Coral relies on its relationship with plant-like algae to build the largest structures of biological origin on Earth.
*Sessile: (of a plant or animal structure) attached directly by its base without a stalk or peduncle.
There is nothing nude about Nudey Beach: not on the beach and for sure NOT when it comes to going into the water. The Intrepid One among the three of us donned a stinger suit, snorkeling gear and flippers, to explore the shallow waters. We were told lucky snorkelers or divers might run into sea turtles. Conditions today were far from ideal, though, with a northerly wind pushing in towards the land here.
A big bluebottle jellyfish (Physalia utriculus) that we spotted from the jetty, as we were preparing to leave.
A big jar by the diving shop was marked ‘Vinegar for bluebottle and irukandji stings – DO NOT REMOVE’. Deaths from stings are rare, but some 50 people were hospitalized for irukandji stings in the 2018-19 season.
Going back to Cairns.

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