Snorkelling the fringing reef of White Bay

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The Whitsunday Islands are contained within the boundaries of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Their fringing reefs have associated reef life similar to that of the offshore reefs. We chose White Bay on the eastern side of Haslewood Island for the first trial of our new underwater camera housing. This bay is not a good anchorage in the prevailing southeasterly winds, so we took advantage of a northerly wind for our visit.

Our guide book says: “This reef is recognised to be a significant ‘feeder reef’ of the area, i.e. it produces larval coral recruits for many other reefs in the area. It is a significant marine wildlife habitat.” Although not as spectacular as some of the fringing reefs on the north shores of Hook Island, we expected this reef to be varied and interesting. We were not disappointed.

Lorna from MIND THE GAP and I began our snorkeling at low tide, which shows off the corals and the fish in the best sunlight. Yellow tailed blue damselfish were schooling everywhere. Plate corals and huge round spherical hard corals, as well as ruffly, frilly and fringy soft corals were everywhere. The fish were rather shy, but we found several pretty butterfly fish which were too busy feeding to be afraid. The anemone fish swimming above their enormous anemone were downright pugnacious.

These photos were taken with our Canon PowerShot SD800 IS Digital ELPH, in its Canon underwater housing.

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