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Reef Report for Saturday, December 18, 1999

There is no Place Like Holmes

Last weekend Michael Collins, one of Pro Dives very experienced team members, visited Holmes Reef. He has kindly written a piece on his adventure, here is his story:

"Having dived a lot of the sites here in the Cairns region over the last four years, I felt that I needed to experience something else. © Great Barrier Reef Enterprises So I jumped when the opportunity came about last week to travel out to Holmes Reef on board the luxury vessel Spirit of Freedom.

Holmes Reef is situated about 12 hours steaming east of Cairns in the Coral Sea. The reef sits atop a seamount, an underwater volcano which rises up hundreds of metres from the ocean floor. Because the reef is so remote from other reefs it is quite amazing to see the difference in the diving. Pyramid butterfly fish, rarely seen around closer reefs to Cairns, abounded on the reef tops here. Sheer vertical walls that dropped down as far as the eye could see were often covered with huge brightly colored soft corals and gorgonian fans.

Visibility was outstanding, always over 30 metres, allowing divers to easily catch sight of the whaler sharks that lurked below. A maze of coral tunnels and caves in the shallows revealed a myriad of smaller creatures such as nudibranchs, cuttlefish and fire dart fish. Clown triggerfish, which are often hard to find and even harder to approach on other reefs, lazily went about their business here, offering only a cursory glance as we passed by.

It is hard to imagine that life on Holmes Reef could be so different to the reefs we find closer inshore, but unless you come out here and see for yourself it will always remain a mystery to you."

The weather has improved dramatically during the week. The good weather should remain with us until Monday. Winds will blow 10 -15 knots south east to north easterly. There will be a few sneaky showers outside the reef. Skipper Russell onboard Kalinda reported beautiful conditions with 10- 15 metres visibility on Flynn Reef. Plenty of cuttlefish and triggerfish were enjoyed by divers. Advanced Open Water Students were treated to a huge school of bumpheaded parrotfish during their morning deep dive.

Skipper Ralph on board Ocean Quest continued to rave about the good weather. They were experiencing 12 -15 metres visibility on the Southern end of Norman Reef. On board Big Cat, moored at beautiful Green Island, Skipper Neil claimed there were loads of happy snorkelers interacting with the plentiful green turtles at the dive site known as Kings Cross.

(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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