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Reef Report for Friday, June 13, 2003

Rays of Mystery and Beauty

For those of us lucky enough to have dived or snorkelled the Great Barrier Reef, many times has more than likely had a special or rare sighting or two. Well this was the case for local photographer Kevin Coombs. © Keving Coombs Kevin has been diving in this region for years and managed to capture on film an Eagle Ray with the most unusual markings. The markings on this ray are peculiar to say the least, in comparison to the markings of a white spotted eagle ray which has a more even spread of circular spots or pattern. Eagle rays can be identified by their projecting snout which they use to dig for molluscs and also pectoral shaped fins which allow it to literally fly through the water. Maybe it is a common eagle ray, which has the ability to change its patterns but all attempts to research these particular markings have been unsuccessful. If any one can shed some light on this for us please contact me.

Cairns: During the week Reef Magic Cruises visited Saxon Reef, which is one of the many reef sites they visit. This is an excellent back reef with several day and night dive sites. Snorkelling over the many bommies, reef tops and edges is excellent. Saxon Reef is located approximately 90 minutes NE of Cairns aboard Reef Magic, which makes for a comfortable day’s diving and snorkelling. For certified divers you can reach depths up to 20 metres but it is not necessary with the coral walls, swim-throughs and gullies which lie between 8 - 18 metres. Common marine life sightings at Saxon Reef are lion fish, reef sharks, turtles, giant clams and anemones to name a few.

Port Douglas: The local Nautilus Club went for a dive with Calypso, out of Port Douglas last Sunday visiting Opal Reef. Everyone had plenty of interesting sightings including whaler sharks, moray eels, sting rays and a variety of aquarium fish. Also spotted were schools of fusiliers and bump-headed wrasse. The club was also entertained by a pod of dolphins as they moved between dive sites.

Coral Sea and Northern Reefs: Moving further north now on board TAKA II there were some magnificent sightings at the Ribbon Reefs and Osprey Reef. Sightings included pipefish, and garden eels, as well as the usual large cod and white tip reef sharks. The shark feed at Osprey Reef provided divers with plenty of excitement as many grey whalers came in for the feed.

Well last weekend the weather turned out to be quite good for going to the reef despite the strong wind warning. Good weather is forecast for this weekend so make the most of it and as always safe diving! Steve Brady

Diving tip of the week!

Depending on which Diving Training Agency you refer to (i.e. PADI / S.S.I) it is generally recommended you do not exceed an altitude of greater than 300 metres for at least 24 hours after diving. This includes flying and activities such as ballooning, skydiving and driving up ranges greater than 300 metres. By going to altitudes after diving may cause pressure changes great enough to bring decompression sickness.

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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