Reef Report for Friday, December 20, 2002
Coral Spawning Brings Out Reef Life
I hope for is that everyone was out on the reef last weekend. With the northerly winds holding between 5 and 10 knots, plenty of sunshine and excellent visibility conditions were nothing less than perfect!
Rescue Diver Course
I had the pleasure of being out on Scrubapro from Thursday to Saturday last week completing my rescue diver’s course.
With two other keen particpants (Silvia and Ken) we undertook what I can only describe as a very grueling but rewarding course. The course takes in scenarios of handling situations when confronted with tired snorkelers, diver’s panicking both under the water and on the surface as well as search and rescue techniques for a missing diver. You also learn about your dive equipment, diving first aid and accident management.
We did manage a few pleasure dives and on the first night dive were very fortunate to have a Devil Ray swim by. Keeping our torches on the ray it swam inquisitively around us with some speed. The devil ray is considered a smaller version of the manta ray, as they have similar features, the most prominent being the two ‘horns’ that project forwards from the side of the mouth. These flaps of skin guide the plankton, on which the fish feed into their mouths. The main distinct different feature between the two is the Devil Ray has an underslung mouth and narrow cephalic fins.
Other more unusual sightings from the trip ranged from a Boxer Shrimp to a Slipper Lobster. I would recommend the rescue diver to all certified divers. You must have completed your advanced level of certification before you can enroll in the rescue diver’s course.
Looking at some other diving experiences, Nautilus club members recently had some fun whilst diving with Seaquest at Plate Top and Troppo’s Lounge at Norman Reef. Visibility at Plate Top was at least 25 meters. There was a fantastic display of anthias, diagonal-banded sweetlips, fusiliers and parrotfish on show. One interesting sighting was of a Flutemouth and a Coral Cod swimming in perfect unison. Both fish had the same coloration and it was thought the flutemouth apparently using the coral cod as shelter to ambush prey. The dive at Troppo’s Lounge is a relatively easy dive. With sandy bays and coral heads makes for a perfect habitat for large numbers of semi-circled angel fish and numerous small species of basslets and anthias. To finish off a great day the group saw a very large Black-spotted Sole and a Scorpionfish.
Passengers on TUSA had a couple of rare sightings including a Shovel Nose Ray at Milln Reef. While at Briggs reef two manta rays were sighted; its’ always an awesome feeling being in the water with these very graceful creatures.
Poseidon's divers have been enjoying drift diving on the outer walls at Agincourt Reefs this week. A large aggregation of Maori wrasse were spotted with 5 mature males, about a dozen females and another dozen juveniles, all very curious of the divers and accompanied by a large school of oceanic surgeonfish, all fortunately in a Green Zone (where no fishing is permitted) where they have a reasonable life expectancy.
Coral Sea/Northern Reefs:
Divers on board TAKA II had some terrific sightings with some massive 2.5-3m Grey Whalers along with the usual cast of characters (8 or so White Tip Reef Sharks) showing up for the shark feed. At the Cod Hole five beautiful Potato Cod came in for a play at Steve’s Bommie.
Blue trevally and barracuda were hunting around the reef edges, and there were stonefish and lionfish galore. On all reports certain cuttlefish have officially made the Clam gardens their home for this mating season as divers spotted around 6-8 cuttlefish attending to their eggs. There was also a huge (1 m across the shell) Hawksbill Turtle seen by the passengers.
On board Diversity’s Coral Sea trip, which is operated by Quicksilver Dive, divers swam with a 6m whale shark in 30m of water. Everyone was blown away by this ‘gentle giant’.
This weekend we can expect the winds to be coming from a South Easterly direction and easing below 15 -20 knots. Cairns may be experiencing scattered showers but it is hard to say if it will be raining on the reef as you are 50 to 60 kilometers out to sea. So take advantage of another great weekend hopefully coming our way and as always, safe diving. Steve Brady
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.
Index of all reef reports.