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Reef Report for Monday, March 7, 2005

Tropical Cyclone Misses Cairns
Great Barrier Reef diving off of Cairns and Port Douglas temporarily effected.

Tropical Cyclone Ingrid has been floating about the Northern Australia for the past 10 days, keeping everyone wondering about where it would go and what it would do. The storm started in the Gulf of Carpenteria, then crossed the Cape York Peninsula, a wilderness area several hundred kilometers to the north of Cairns and entered the Coral Sea. © Bureau of Meteorology

Out in the Coral Sea it intensified into a force 5 storm, took a slow u-turn then headed back to the Australian coast. Force 5 is the highest intensity rating a cyclone can be given, but fortunately the storm lost strength before hitting the coast, dropping to force 4.

The area of Cape York in the path of the storm is largely remote wilderness, but with a few Aboriginal communities, small towns and cattle stations that could be severely effected.

The storm will lose strength over land, but it will likely cross over back into the Gulf of Carpenteria, and could re-intensify, so officials are watching it carefully.

In Cairns and Port Douglas diving was disrupted a bit with visibility affected, severely in the case of areas around Port Douglas and northwards. Cyclones push a surge of water away from them in all directions, similar to a tide. This water is what reduces the visibility.

The Far Northern Reefs and some of the Coral Sea reefs visited by live aboard trips might have been effected, trips going there were re-routed to more southern areas this past week. A full report will follow next week, when dive boats return to the area.

Diving between January and April is mostly excellent, but it can be disrupted by Cyclones. While this is a rare occurrence, if you decide to visit the region during these months we recommend you consider travelers insurance that covers weather-related cancellations. Like most insurance, you probably won’t need it, but in the rare circumstance you do, in this case you can plan a second try at your ultimate dive experience on the Great Barrier Reef.

For more information on tropical cyclones:

Australian Bureau of Meteorolgy, Queensland Weather

(C) DiveTheReef The weekly reef report is written by Joel Groberg of DiveTheReef.com, who compiles them from the many conversations he has with dive staff in the area, as well as  many other local sources in the dive community.

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