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Reef Report for Saturday, March 18, 2000

Coping With Cool Currents

The mumble on the streets has started to grow louder as the heavens continue to pelt us relentlessly. What is Mother Nature up to? Skippers and crew who have bravely persevered through these conditions on live-aboard vessels are remaining optimistic as they experience a few more spots of sunshine than those of us who are landlocked.

Skipper Ralph on board Ocean Quest commented on the big tides and currents that the reefs have endured. © Great Barrier Reef Enterprises The rains have caused large amounts of fresh water to mix with the salt water, causing many thermoclines. These small pockets of frigid water have caught many divers by surprise, sending chills down their spines as they swim from warmer water into a pocket of cold water.

Day boat operator Passions of Paradise reported visibility improvement on Paradise Reef. Skipper Scott said there was a bit of current at the dive site known as The Wall, although the fish were very active and a number of large coral trout were spotted.

Last weekend I was very fortunate to dive at Julian Rocks, a fantastic dive site situated 25 kilometers offshore from Byron Bay. Listed as one of Australia's top 10 dive destinations, Julian Rocks is home to more than 400 spectacular tropical and temperate marine life species. I was overwhelmed as I dove with a family of leopard sharks, wobbegong sharks, bull rays, manta rays, blue spotted rays, octopuses, moray eels, turtles, giant cod, and Maori Wrasse. And that was just the big stuff. During the brisk five-minute ride back to shore, we were escorted through the surf by a pod of 50 dolphins. MAGIC!

The Byron Bay Dive Center folks, who were my hosts for the morning, were extremely professional and good fun. The Rocks are incredible and I strongly recommend that the next time you’re in Northern NSW, get some bubbles in at Julian Rocks!

(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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