Black birds and crocodiles

The final couple of days of our trip up the remote northern end of the Queensland Coast was amazing not least for the hundreds (maybe thousands) of tiny black birds that we spotted along the way. 


A small flock of black birds. Couldn’t get a shot of them on the water
They were bobbing up and down on the sea’s surface in such profusion and so close together that they looked for all the world like black rocks in the middle of the ocean. 

Maybe this crowding protects them from predators as being so small they would be vulnerable to being taken by large birds and sea creatures? Or do they act like a fish trap – providing shade that the fish are attracted to and then when there are enough below they all have a good feed?

If anyone knows what breed they are and why they behave like this we would love to know!

We also passed some beautiful little islands – so remote that I can’t imagine how they staff or provision them – that are absolutely exclusive hideaway resorts for people who are so wealthy that money is simply no object. They looked lovely! 


A very exclusive resort miles from anywhere
We stopped in two more places before completing our trip to Thursday Island. The first stop was a stunning – Margaret Bay – which had mile upon mile of endless sand that turned into white silica sand hills way off in the distance. 


Mile upon mile of white sand at Margaret Bay
We went for a glorious walk on the beach at Margaret Bay – thought about wandering in the mangroves before hearing from others on the rally that there were crocodile trails to be seen. So we stuck to the sand and were rewarded with the sight of literally thousands of star fish that had partially buried themselves in wet sand.


Can you wish upon this kind of star?
Also saw some perfect bird “foot prints” and then on the way back met a whole gaggle of people on the rally that we hadn’t met before. So spent a pleasant hour or so chatting before going back to witness the most spectacular sunset of the trip so far.


Anyone recognise these footprints?
Bali Hai captured by Jon and Heather on Evergreen
The next day we travelled to the romantic sounding Escape River. We left in the dark as it was a long trip and we didn’t want to arrive too late as there is a sand bar at the mouth of the river and a pearl farm further on, with pearl rafts on each bank.


Entering the Escape River
Along the way we had an enchanting visit from a really large pod of dolphins – some really tiny ones amongst them (babies? A Pygmy breed?) and some really massive ones, with all sizes in between. 


Wonderful visit from dolphins
On Bali Hai we had a very peaceful and uneventful night but it was a different story on one of the rally boats. Being a keen fisherman the skipper of this particular boat put out some crab pots when he first arrived. 

Early the next morning he went to see if he had caught anything only to find the crab pot almost demolished with not only its contents missing but also most of the pot gone too! The local croc had naturally thought this tasty morsel was meant for him!

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

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