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Reef Report for Friday, April 25, 2003

Divers Weather Stormy Conditions

With all the winds last week, the best place to be over the Easter weekend was definitely underwater; I wish that's where I had been. I went sea kayaking with a few of my close adrenaline junkie friends where our adventure saw us kayaking from Deeral to High Island (within the Franklin Island group South of Cairns) to Fitzroy Island, then along Cape Grafton onto Machans Beach to finish our adventure.

We enjoyed a few hours of snorkelling on Good Friday around High Island and l was impressed with the quality of the coral and marine life. © Taka Dive I saw schools of parrot fish, coral trout and a few crays. While kayaking along Cape Grafton, we came across a good-sized green turtle similar to the one pictured. Regardless of the weather, we had a great trip, which was, at the least, a character-building experience for most of us.

Port Douglas

Local divers, Chrisjie and Steve Foster spent Easter Monday out with Quicksmart traveling to Agincourt Reef off Port Douglas. Not letting the strong winds deter them from having a dive once they arrived at the reef, the conditions became a lot calmer.

Their first dive was at The Point, which Chrisje described as alive with vibrant corals, coral trout, blue damselfish, humbugs, fusiliers and flowery cod. The second dive site was called Stonehenge. Some of the sightings here were wrasses, pipefish, a Pufferfish, two white tip reef sharks and schools of mangrove jack.

It is worth noting that even when surface conditions were choppy with up to 30 knot winds, divers were still experiencing up to 15m visibility.

Castle Rock was the final dive site for the day. This dive was the highlight of the day, with the divemaster feeding the fish including several large malabar cod. Chrisje and Steve ended by saying a great day out was had by all on Quicksmart despite the less than ideal conditions.


Also out on the reef Easter Monday was Reef Magic Cruises. They found the sun shining for a good part of the day at Michaelmas Cay With just over one hour in traveling time from Cairns, the sandy cay proved a popular destination for all passengers. Even with choppy surface conditions everyone enjoyed their day and saw birds nesting at the cay. Up to 10,000 pairs of birds can make the cay their nesting grounds, during the summer breeding season.

Passengers aboard Passions of Paradise braved the strong winds as well to encounter the beauty of Paradise Reef. Even though it has been raining, the fish didn't seem too concerned. Introductory divers saw a pair of spotted unicorn fish and a school of red bass snapper while certified divers saw lots of damsels as well as some Chinese footballer trout.

Northern Reefs

Dive operators traveling to the more northern reefs also received the same weather conditions. Passengers on Diversity visited Osprey Reef as part of their trip. The water conditions were described as pristine (at least underwater), with 5-35m of visibility at North Horn, divers experienced the usual array of sharks and pelagic fish.

One dive site, called The Entrance, produced a sighting of an unusual looking Spotted Snake Eel. The full moon and associated large tides also made for some exciting drift dives. Other sightings from the trip were a Wobbegong Shark, porcelain crabs and a flamboyant looking Lacy Scorpion Fish.

Onboard Taka II divers were treated to some great sightings of manta rays at Challenger Bay on a night dive, turtles at Steve's Bommie and the Beer Gardens. Also spotted at Steve's Bommie were a Porcelain Crab, flame file shells and lionfish galore. The cod feed brought in six huge cod, white tip reef sharks, a Maori Wrasse and the resident Moray Eel.

The winds are predicted to be between 20-25 knots for this weekend so if you can endure the strong winds with a lumpy boat ride, the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef will still shine as reports from over the Easter period have proven.

As always, safe diving!

Steve Brady

(C) Pro Dive Cairns 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.

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