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Reef Report for Friday, May 30, 2003

Flat Water = Excellent Diving Conditions

As predicted, the winds have held at around 20knots throughout the week, yet divers have still reported great conditions. This was certainly the case for Amanda Macri, Pro Diveís newest team member, who just completed her Open Water Certification on Scubapro. © Taka Dive Amanda is very new to the world of diving and was a little unsure about how she would go out on the reef for 3 days, but she breezed through her course and was introduced to the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef. Blown away by her first night dive, Amanda managed to spot a very large Green Turtle, nearly 2 metres across the back along with a Reef Shark, octopus and stingrays, not bad for a first night dive!

Cairns: Reef Magic Cruises headed out to Saxon reef where the conditions were almost perfect. With visibility around 15-20 metres and water temperature 25C certified divers explored 'Lionfish point' this was true to its name with a graceful Lionfish spotted as well as a large school of barracuda.

Frequently visited by Passions of Paradise is a reef site called Paradise Reef. This reef holds a variety of different dive features such as coral walls, pinnacles, and swim-throughs, all with excellent corals and abundance of marine life. At 20 metres depth the site and is considered great for any novice diver. Introductory divers this week were lucky enough to see a pair of lionfish, red bass snapper, pyjama cardinal and chinese footballer trout. Certified divers also spotted a blue spotted sting ray, while snorkellers saw giant clams, sea cucumbers and blue sea stars while at Upolu Cay.

Port Douglas: Passengers on Poseidon sighted large schools of bump-headed parrotfish. These fish eat coral, in fact a single fish can eat up to five tonnes of coral per year, amazing there is still a reef left! They are quite often sighted in large schools of 10 or more on reef tops and they are the largest of the parrotfish. Bumpheaded parrotfish are generally seen on most outer reefs - in particular at Gordonís Mooring located at Flynn Reef where a group of 20 or more can be seen religiously on the early morning dive.

Also spotted by divers on Poseidon was a Kuhl's Stingray (Dasyatis kuhlii aka Blue Spotted Stingray) at Agincourt 1. This fish has been known to blunder into divers at night when disturbed. They have two sting barbs capable of inflicting serious injury so tread with caution should you come across one.

Also sighting bumpheaded parrotfish were guests onboard Quicksilver Connectionís ĎReef Biosearch vesselí who were seen grazing on the reef, as well as a 1.2m Grey Reef shark meandering past at Agincourt 3. Snorkellers were treated to a rare sighting of a juvenile Sweetlips hiding amongst some soft corals.

Nothern Reefs/Coral Sea: It has been another fantastic week of diving on the Cod Hole & Coral Sea. Divers on board Undersea Explorer in Port Douglas couldnít have had a better time this week. With barely a ripple on the ocean near perfect diving conditions at Osprey Reef and the Ribbons produced some excellent visibility and encounters with Sharks. A school of four metre silvertip sharks, hammerheads and eagle rays were just some of the sightings reported. A fantastic bonus was four minke whales close to the boat, two of which were breaching!

TAKA II produced another great trip for there guests with their shark feed at Osprey Reef bringing in up to 15 grey whalers coming in for a feed. A huge silver tip shark also came in for a bite and put on a great show for the passengers. The dive site "The Entrance" on Osprey Reef was voted a close second to the shark feed with its beautiful swim-throughs and caves. The Ribbons produced some fantastic sightings as usual. Sightings included regal angel fish, unicorn surgeon fish, porcelain crabs, huge schools of trevally and barracuda, octopus, turtles and loads of lion fish. Also spotted were potato cod, footballer cod and flowery cod.

This weekend is shaping up to be still quite good weather conditions with the winds predicted to be between 15 - 20 knots coming from a SE direction. I am certainly going to try and get out myself on Saturday which is supposed to be the better of the two days on this weekend. 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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