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Reef Report for Thursday, January 25, 2001

An Ideal Week on the Reef

It’s been a "rip snorta" of a week (as my father would say). We have once again been doused with unseasonably good sunshine, and don’t we love it!

The conditions on the reef have been second to none, with visibility increasing every day. © Great Barrier Reef Enterprises I was fortunate enough to get out with a friend last weekend aboard TUSA. Their one-day trip is a treat for snorkelers and divers alike. We visited the Fish Bowl at Hastings Reef and Twin Peaks at Saxon, which was my favorite dive. At Hastings, Wally the Napoleon Maori Wrasse was unbelievably friendly. No wonder they’re called the “dogs of the sea.” Wally swam very close to us, allowing our hands to glide along his slimy body. He and other wrasse have a film of mucus around their bodies, which protects them. I have never had such a close encounter with a fish. It was quite a thrill.

Visibility was around 10 metres at these sites, but my friends at Passions of Paradise say that it had increased to 20 metres by Friday. At The Wall, two frisky Spanish mackerel and a Hawksbill Turtle thrilled snorkelers. Also seen were many schooling chocolate dip damselfish and loads of yellow-tailed fusiliers. © Great Barrier Reef Enterprises

Passengers aboard Kalinda at Milnn Reef enjoyed 20 metres visibility in crystal clear waters that showcased two loggerhead turtles feeding almost side by side. Unafraid of the divers, they continued to munch as the divers looked on.

Out on the Ribbon Reefs visibility has been up to 30 metres, allowing Kalinda passengers to dive spots rarely visited. The Blowhole at the top of Ribbon No.5 had 25 metres visibility. This site’s main feature is a hole that divers descend into at five metres, and then exit through a coral hole at 25 metres. The site has a resident family of potato cod, albeit much smaller and certainly not as bold as their cousins at Cod Hole. Also found were many species of fish not commonly encountered on the inner side of the reefs. Among them was the bizarre looking Humpnose Unicorn Fish, which has a large bulbous growth on the side of its head, and the beautiful Bluelined Surgeonfish. Another fabulous spot is Verticle Gardens. This is a favourite of all the crew. This week it had over 35 metres visibility, and is often regarded as one of the best walls on the Great Barrier Reef. It is covered with gorgonian fans and soft corals, as well as millions of ascidian sponges and lace corals. The fish life is extremely abundant, with clouds of purple anthias and a school of 82 huge buffalo wrasse.

The weather people are predicting light winds east to south at only 10 knots. Many dive companies are doing some great deals, so get out there and get diving!

(C) Pro Dive Cairns The weekly reef report is written by Sue-Anne Chapman of Pro Dive Cairns, who compiles them from the many conversations she has with divers, dive instructors, captains, and others in the Cairns dive community. The report is published weekly in the Cairn Post, the local daily paper and appears here thanks to the courtesy of Pro Dive Cairns.

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