The morning commenced with a Zodiac cruise to the impressive Montgomery Reef. Once a flat-topped mountain before the last Ice Age melt, this 425-square-kilometer-block of sandstone is now completely submerged by the high tide, and it dramatically ‘rises’ from the sea as these huge tides recede.

Conditions were perfect as we cruised in our Zodiacs into one of the narrow channels, which was probably once a riverbed and valley. The tide was very low and the water coming off the top of the reef was powering down small gullies into the channel. We nosed the Zodiacs right up to the cascading water and got good views of the reef structure. With the low tide and clear water, we identified many recognizable coral formations. The power and sheer exhilaration of cruising around the world’s largest in-shore reef impressed everyone.

In the afternoon, we headed back to the coast at Raft Point. The Zodiacs went out again in this highly scenic location, and we nosed into the sheer cliffs of Steep Island, investigated a cave, and took in the magnificent orange sandstone of Raft Point Bluff glistening against a deep blue sky.