Thursday, 22 September 2016

Just a one night stand at Vlasoff Cay.

17 September 2016

After five fun filled days at Green Island it was time for some reef hopping as we made the short jump over to Vlasoff Cay, a short seven miles away. With very little wind blowing the trip was an uneventful couple of hours under motor.
Vlasoff Cay at low tide.

The passage through between Upolu Reef and the western end of Arlington Reef is shallow and a little tight but it is well marked with buoys all the way through so no real problem. We approached Vlasoff near high tide and were surprised how small the patch of sand was visible above the waves. We anchored in about eight metres over good sand with swing room to the coral heads all around us.  There was more swell rolling through the anchorage than we expected given the extensive horseshoe shape of Arlington Reef the raps around Vlasoff. It was enough to be mildly annoying and eased as the tide dropped.
Green Island to Vlasoff Cay - 7.2 Nautical Miles - 1 Hour 53 Minutes - Average Speed 3.9 Knots - Max Speed 7.2 Knots

The winding passage between Upolu Reef and the western end of Arlington Reef is well marked.

Vlasoff Reef and Cay sits inside the large horseshoe shaped Arlington Reef.

There are plenty of sand patches to choose from when anchoring at Vlasoff Cay.

Not much to see near high tide.

There was only one other boat anchored nearby so we expected a quiet time. Wrong!!!!! A constant stream of helicopters flew low overhead circling the reef and often landing on the sand of the cay for a touch and go. There was literally less time without a chopper overhead than with as we reluctantly became part of the show with cameras pointed at Our Dreamtime seemingly on every pass.
Sight seeing helicopter traffic over Vlasoff Cay was constant.
Helicopter skid tracks from where they descend, blow sand everywhere scaring the birdlife away, sit on the sand for 30 seconds, then take off again. We have no idea why.
 
After lowering the dinghy off the davits Rob jumped in the water to cool down and even the sight of his bare backside as he hung his board shorts out to dry on the aft deck wasn’t enough to dissuade the constant buzzing. Some Chinese tourists may find more than they bargained for when they look through their holiday snaps.

Vlasoff Cay grows significantly at low tide.

Rob on Vlasoff Cay
Our Dreamtime anchored off Vlasoff Cay
The full extent of the cay revealed itself as the tide dropped mid afternoon and we went ashore to explore. Much of the reef on the southern side was exposed on the low with a number of giant clams sitting well clear of the water.

Giant clams sitting out of the water at low tide on Vlasoff cay

After our walk around the sand we headed out to snorkel on some of the coral bombies that surrounded the boat. After the prolific fish life and vibrant coral we had spent the last four days marvelling at on Green Island, the snorkelling here was quite disappointing. The coral was largely bleached colourless or dead and fish of any size were few and far between.  That was enough to convince us that Vlasoff Cay would be a one night stay for us.

After spectacular Green Island the snorkelling at Vlasoff Cay was a little underwhelming.
Back on the boat we settled back to enjoy our sundowners while we plotted a course to skip over to our next tourist hot spot of Michaelmas Cay in the morning.

Good night from Vlasoff Cay - Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
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