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Reef Report for Thursday, November 2, 2000

Clear Waters Showcase Reef Paradise

Oh, glorious sunshine! One could find very little to complain about this week as the sun’s rays continued to shine down and reveal the abundant treasures of the Great Barrier Reef. Although the wind picked up a little toward the end of the week, conditions should be mild with breezes of 10 - 15 knots, north to northeast. © Great Barrier Reef Enterprises A late shower is predicted for Saturday evening.

Dive instructor Kenny had good things to say this week about Milln Reef. Visibility remained at 15 - 18 metres and open water students on their first dive were thrilled to see a Bull Ray tucked under a coral ledge. Only moments later, they crossed paths with two playful white-tipped reef sharks!

Conditions were also fabulous on Paradise Reef. Crew from dive boat Passion of Paradise reported that visibility was at its finest (15 - 20 metres) and that divers spotted a wide variety of marine creatures, including a Spotted Stingray and a large school of baby barracuda. They were also thrilled to see a Moray Eel poking its head in and out of its coral hole.

Dive boat Nimrod Explorer had 25 metres visibility at Steve’s Bommie, a great start to summer diving! Nimrod divers swam among a large school of bait fish that attracted all kinds of feasting pelagics, such as barracuda, blue trevally, mackeral, scad, big eye trevally, and tuna. As if that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, divers also ran across a bizarre Flame File Shell. These animals are similar to a scallop, but are colored bright red and have an electric blue stripe over the edge of their mantle. When they flicker their mantle very quickly back and forth, it looks just like a bolt of blue lightening flashing across their lips. It is thought that this attracts their prey.

Skipper Dave onboard Scubapro also had an interesting encounter this week. While on a rare pleasure night dive, Dave came across a Burly Triton Shell, which was at least 30cm across. The Triton Shell was devouring a Crown of Thorns. Known as the Crown’s only predator, the Triton gave Dave a firsthand look at how it deals with these spiny beasts. Initially it looked like the Crown had gotten away as it scampered a little across the ocean floor. But the Triton Shell must have only been digesting because no sooner had the Crown made a run for it, the Triton launched itself onto its haunches and took off after it. The Triton then tackled its thorny prey and dragged it partially under its shell, where it began to feed.

It is always exhilarating to hear of nature’s battles and conquests. Go Triton Shell!!!

(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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