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Reef Report for Thursday, January 31, 2002

Another delicious week on the high seas.

The sun has continued to shine through brightly, despite the odd shower. We are very pleased to see these brief releases of rain and letís hope we get some more soon. (After all, you donít get beautiful tropical rain forests without rain!)

So what has been happening on the Great Barrier Reef? Onboard Scubapro Instructor Ross reported lots of activity by barracuda and mackerel species. © Great Barrier Reef Enterprises These hunters were chasing baitfish like no tomorrow! On the back of Milln Reef, four very lucky open water students on their final training dive reported a large feeding Manta Ray. The divers hovered over the coral and watched in awe as the ray did somersaults and fed on the plankton. It was within armsí reach and totally comfortable being observed so closely. Visibility on the southern reefs has been between 10 and 15 metres.

Reef Magic guests also headed out to Milln reef. Fantastic fish life, turtles and over 10 giant clams were spotted by enthusiastic snorkellers.

Out on the Coral Sea divers onboard TAKA this week spotted a Barred Snake Moray Eel at Steveís Bommie. During the shark feed dive on Osprey Reef a number of White Tip reef sharks, Grey Whalers and a large 4 metre Oceanic Silver Tip all showed up for some breakfast. As a final capper for a great dive trip a large pod of 20 Spinners dolphins played in the boats bow waves as the boat headed back to Cairns. What a thrill for everybody onboard.

Undersea Explorer had exciting news on the research front this week. Scientists onboard recaptured a Nautilus, which had been previously tagged in September 2000. The Nautilus was captured 17 miles from the last capture site, which indicates that these little known animals may have a larger home range than previously thought. It will be interesting to see what else is learned about nautilus as the research studies, which are part of every Undersea Explorer trip, continue through the year.

The Weather people this week predicts west to northwest winds blowing 15 to 10 knots. Lets hope it swings around a little. Happy 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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