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Reef Report for Friday, November 1, 2002

Ho-Hum, More Perfect Dive Conditions!

The perfect weather conditions remained over the weekend, which had me helping host over 70 tourism industry agents visit Cairns for the first time. They spread out all over the reef, and here are some of the highlights of what was seen during the weekend:


At Paradise Reef introductory divers on board Passions of Paradise saw a school of yellow-tailed fusilier as well as a Black-saddled Toby Fish in 6 m of water. © Dive The Reef Certified divers were lucky enough to swim along side a White Tip Reef Shark and also reported seeing three lionfish in 12 metres of water. Snorklers did not miss out, sighting some beautiful sea stars, as well as some brilliant giant clams. Visibility was between 15 and 20 meters with calm surface conditions.

During the week Paddy from Reef Teach went out on Sunkist of Cairns Dive Center on Friday and he was amazed about seeing shoaling bristle-toothed surgeonfish. Paddy reported they are most definitely getting ready for mating and that he had never seen so many surgeonfish at once. Paddy estimated a school of a thousand of them. That’s one big school of fish! He also saw massive fan coral with tiny clear and white spotted anemone shrimp and a beautiful large painted Crayfish in a crevice. The sea was calm with reasonable visibility.

On all reports the diving at the edge of Green Island Reef was fantastic this week. Scuba Green Island's dive team have been taking advantage of the great diving conditions and abundance of marine life in their dive sites to show their divers how diverse the Great Barrier Reef really is. During a dive at Three Sisters this week, certified divers returned to the dive tender with big smiles on their face after observing a Giant Trevally swimming around the dive site. They were very amazed by its size (almost 1 metre) and the speed in which it swam around. These lean torpedo-shaped fish also have large eyes, features which make them good at patrolling areas and in high-speed chases. They also spotted an adult Maori Wrasse, a juvenile Batfish, and a Yellowmask Angelfish. Diving at about 8 metres, introductory divers were shown a cleaning station where a couple of cleaner wrasses were very busy working on a Spotted Sweetlip. Nearby they spotted a Coral Trout patiently waiting in line for its turn.

Port Douglas

I managed to catching up with a few of the tourism delegates after their day out diving and snorkeling. Danah Wood from Brisbane was beside herself when taken for an introductory scuba dive with the Quicksilver crew on ‘Quicksmart’. Danah could not stop talking about and wrapped it up by saying “I want to be certified!” which is music to our ears being in the business of teaching people to learn to dive.

Holly Cameron from W.A., a certified diver, spoke very highly of her day out on Poseidon. © Dive The Reef Holly said “the conditions were fantastic on the Poseidon cruise for the novice and experienced divers”. Visibility was around 20 metres and the water was calm. Three dive sites were visited on the day being Trigger Fish city, Advance Bommie and Whaler Point. At both Trigger fish city and Whaler point most divers were lucky enough to see reef sharks and a moray eel apart from the other spectacular marine life in the area. Whilst at Advance Bommie they met Daisy the resident cod at this site.

The crew from Poseidon also reported a large male Loggerhead Turtle desperately seeking a mate off "The Wall" at Agincourt 3A. Covered in barnacles this lonely heart checked out the certified divers one by one, as this is their mating season. Another Loggerhead was seen at The Totem and several green turtles at various locations.

The Point on Agincourt 4 had large schools of red bass, diamond trevally and big eye trevally, all hanging in the current. A school of parrot fish were observed mating on the same dive. A large Bull Ray was seen along with the resident moray eels on Agincourt 1C, while the North St Crispens wall dive produced two nice fat grey reef sharks and several hump-headed Maori wrasse.

Passengers on board Calypso in Port Douglas had another great week at the reef with spectacular dives and wonderful snorkeling. There were large "herds" (not schools!) of buffalo parrot fish, which were a thrill to see. Also hard to miss were pods of dolphins, a large manta ray, cuttlefish, lots of nudibranchs and flatworms and thousands upon thousands of colourul tropical fish.

Coral Sea/Norther Reefs

Everyone on Taka II this week received some terrific sightings with a 4-metre Whale Shark at Pixie’s Pinnacle, a Loggerhead Turtle and a 4 metre Manta Ray, a 2-metre Big-tooth Tuna and 2.5 metre Reef shark. At North Horn (Osprey Reef) a 6 metre Whale Shark was also sighted. Not a bad weeks diving, eh!

With the water temperature heating up to around the 27degrees you will find the water to be really out on the reef. Winds though out the week have risen to 20 knots and could hold out for the weekend. There has been plenty of sunshine on the reef even though we are experiencing cloudy days in Cairns. The summer period is providing plenty of activity as the reef and its inhabitants are preparing for mating season. So keep enjoying the excellent conditions and as always ‘safe diving’….Steve Brady.

(C) Pro Dive Cairns This weekly reef report was written by Steve Brady of Pro Dive Cairns, who compiles them from the dive trips he takes, as well as the many conversations he 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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