Where We Go: Michaelmas Cay
Unlike other cays, it is always above water no matter how high the tide.
Michaelmas Cay is on the western tip of Michaelmas Reef. This mid-shelf reef was formed by living coral animals. The cay developed from fragements of corals and shells. They were washed to the calm side of the reef by waves and wind. This formed a single plateau.
Birds would carry seeds to the sheltered areas behind the the sand bank where they rested. These seeds grew into plants and stabilized the cay. In turn this encouraged more seabirds to rest at this cay. The seabirds were then able to fertilize the cay further. More plants were able to grow in the centre of Michaelmas Cay. Thus, the ecosystem of the largest coral cay was created.
Environmental restrictions placed on the cay have reduced the number of people that can visit. The island and reef remain essentially untouched and in a pristine state. Those visiting will notice when diving or snorkelling that the corals appear wholly unspoiled.
Michaelmas Cay is the SAFE and easy way to snorkel and dive.
Due to the consistency of our tours, the birds appear unafraid by people on their island. As chicks, they see people every day. They consider us to be a harmless and natural part of their environment. Similarly, the fish in Michaelmas Reef are also accustoed to people.
They consider people as part of their environment as well, when swimming in this reef. They may even be comfortable enough to swim near you. But don’t make any sudden movements or they will swim away!
The large cay protects the waters around it from undue stress. It is a gently sloping beach that provides entry into calm waters. The water will gradually become deep and there are no immediate drop off points near the beach.
If the tides are low, people can walk to the first coral. It is only a few metres away from the waters edge. People enjoy the reef more this way because it is safer and more calm.
At Michaelmas Cay, you can either swim to the beach or ride over in the glass bottom boat. Should you take the glass bottom boat, once you hop in the water, you can put your fins on and adjust your mask and snorkel. Snorkeling from the cay is great for beginners. It is easier to adjust to the equipment in shallow waters versus deep waters.