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Lady Elliot Island

There is a little coral cay located at the southernmost end of the Great Barrier Reef called Lady Elliot Island. For marine life lovers this place is paradise on earth. The coral here is healthy and the marine life flourishing. It is one of the best places in Australia to see Manta rays and turtles, and on any given day you'll see more marvels under the waves than you can take stock of.

My partner and I recently spent 5 days in this wildlife wonderland. For me, the trip was all about gathering inspiration for new work. I took a sketchbook with me and when I wasn't in the water I spent my time drawing the creatures that I had seen on my snorkelling adventures. We didn't have the greatest weather on our trip but it didn't stop us from getting in the water ever single day. Even when the wind was whipping and the sky was grey we took ourselves out into the big blue and we were rewarded richly for our efforts. Disappointingly, I have to say that we weren't privy to any manta encounters. Awwww. Admittedly it wasn't peak manta spotting season, but we still held out hope that we might bump into one. Still, there is always next time, and I am quite certain that there will be a next time before too long!

We took so much video footage and so many photos that I simply cannot share them all in one post. I will be drawing on these to create art and illustrations about the Great Barrier Reef and its creatures. We are remarkably lucky to have this incredible natural wonder so close to us and I hope to create works that promote stewardship of our oceans and the reef and that encourage a desire to conserve this utterly awesome place for future generations.

Let's dive straight in with a few stills and sketches...

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