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Reef Report for Thursday, November 8, 2001

Calm Waters Bring out the Big Pelagics

Onboard Passions of Paradise this week certified divers saw some Oriental Sweetlips under some plate coral in 10m of water. The divers were also lucky to see plenty of schooling fish including parrotfish, spangled emperor and even a school of chevron barracuda. © Great Barrier Reef Enterprises Introductory divers saw a Blue-spotted Lagoon Ray in 6m of water. Visibility was 20 metres at the fish market.

Jenny form TAKA also reported exceptional conditions. At Osprey reef divers spotted a Manta Ray, a 2-meter long Dog Tooth Tuna and about 200 - 300 chevron barracuda. During the shark feed 20 to 50 sharks including a number of white tip reef sharks and a Grey Whaler turned up to chow down. The divers also enjoyed watching 10 happy potato cod feeding at the Cod Hole. Visibility at North Horn was 35 metres and at the Cod Hole 15 metres.

Tusa Dive also had a gorgeous week of flat calm conditions also. Divers and snorkellers spotted a 2-meter Wobygong Shark along with white tip reef sharks, stingrays and many colourful nudibranchs. Visibility at most of their sites was between 15-25 metres. Tusa II also got out to Dogs' Bommie, a rarely visited site on Thetford Reef. © Great Barrier Reef Enterprises The site has huge staghorn and plate corals and divers were surrounded by massive schools of yellow-tailed fusiliers.

Skipper Chris onboard Scubapro reported a large Manta Ray flapping about on the surface just after dawn. It jumped right out of the water and as it fell back its wings slapped the surface making a loud noise. Nobody was in the water at the time as guests were still wiping the sleep out of their eyes. Also visiting Scubapro was a pod of 10 dolphins. The dolphins played in the bow waves for 20 minutes as the boat moved from one mooring to the next.

The water has also increased in temperature over the last few weeks and is now topping 27 degrees Celsius. It seems the conditions are perfect for the reefs' annual mass reproduction known as "coral spawning". I havenít received too many reports that it went off in a big way this year, but stay tuned, as there should be a more thorough report next week.

Fantastic conditions are forecast for the week despite the wind picking up on Sunday. Winds should continue to blow east to southeast 10 - 15 knots, with no rain anticipated.

(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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