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Reef Report for Saturday, January 8, 2000

Reef Serves Up Visual Buffet

What a treat it was to recently spend three days and two nights on the magnificent Great Barrier Reef. Itís not often that I myself get to frolic with the fishies, as I am often landlocked. But having made the New Years resolution to explore more of the reef, I bravely boarded my Scubapro with 32 other brave and adventurous souls last weekend and eagerly anticipated diving Milln and Flynn reefs. © Great Barrier Reef Enterprises We were blessed with little to no wind and excellent visibility. The fish life was plentiful and we encountered flatworms, nudibranchs, and a ferocious puffer fish (also known as a star gazer), which gave me an awful fright when it came full pelt at my mask to defend its coral hole. Needless to say it gave everyone who saw my reaction to the attack a good laugh.

Guests aboard other dive vessels were also treated to the magical reef life. On a recent night dive on Kalinda, certified divers spied a sleeping reef octopus. The chameleon showed its true colors as it blended beautifully with the corals beneath it. At the Whale Bommie, newly certified divers came across a young sleeping leopard shark, slipper lobster, and a busy lionfish. At Upolo Reef, Passions of Paradise also saw a leopard shark and four cruising white tipped reef sharks.

David O'Brien, resident marine biologist on Ocean Spirit, commented on the many new fluffy chicks nesting with their mothers on Michaelmas Cay. The cay was alive with hundreds of birds coming and going, looking for food for their newly hatched offspring. David also made mention of the odd manta ray cruising around the shallow sandy waters of the cay. He reported about 15 metres visibility, and improving.

Dive Director Brendon aboard OceanQuest claimed 10-15 metres visibility at Norman and Saxon Reefs, with conditions vastly improving as the winds died down. The weather should remain fine with loads of sunshine and very light east to southeasterly breezes. It is predicted that the winds should remain at a calm 10 knots through the end of the weekend.

Apart from the usual whimsical New Years resolutions to eat better, exercise more, and save more money, why not consider a promise to learn a new skill, or to explore a new environment. Consider scuba diving the new challenge. Take the opportunity while school holidays are here to get the kids certified. Make that resolution NOW! Happy New Years everybody! Be safe and happy. Safe diving to all.

(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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