Today we sailed towards Ashmore Reef, an area formed by four islands and two lagoons. It has been a protected marine reserve for over twenty years. Thousands of seabirds nest in these islands. As we approached the islands, we observed big groups of sooty terns, boobies, and noddies feeding and flying around our ship. Indonesian fishermen have visited Ashmore Reef since the early 18th century. Today, there is an agreement between Australia and Indonesia that lets traditional fishermen visit the islands for shelter, freshwater, and to visit grave sites.


Photo caption and photographer: Brown booby flying near Ashmore Reef. Photo by Alex Searle