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Reef Report for Wednesday, June 5, 2002

Winds Roughen Seas on the Reef

The wind has been a little fresh this week and seas a little rough. 25 knots blew over the weekend but look to be calming down for the weekend. There will be light to moderate south to south east winds dropping 20 to 15 knots winds. © Great Barrier Reef Enterprises There may also be a few isolated coastal showers. Visibility and northern and southern reefs have been around 10 to 20 metres.

As the temperature continues to drop it might be a good idea to consider updating the diving wardrobe and preparing to stay warm under and above the water.

Owning a good fitting wetsuit is the first step in staying warm. There are a variety of styles and thicknesses to suit all needs and conditions. Wetsuits are normally made out of neoprene rubber. The thicker the neoprene the warmer the suit. Wetsuits work by letting in a small amount of water inside the suit. This will be heated by your body and should stay there to keep you warm. A very popular choice of suit with dive professionals is the ďsemi dryĒ suit as this almost excludes any water flow through the suit keeping the diver very cosy.

Even a small edition to your existing garments could be as simple and cheap as a hood. This will keep your head warm and catch about 75% of your potential heat loss under water. New on the market is a titanium vest. This is neoprene coated with titanium and reflects the body heat back to you. This vest can be worn under your wetsuit or as a stand-alone piece in summer. For those that really feel the cold there is a range of accessories like underwater gloves and dive boot socks to keep your extremities warm.

Another option would be a dry suit. These suits use to be very expensive but as their popularity grew their price has come down. A dry suit excludes water totally and you can wear normal clothing under it; a t-shirt in summer or a tracksuit during the winter months. This allows you to spend more time watching those minke whales rather than hanging in the lounge keeping warm. Dry suits have a great effect on your buoyancy and you should practice using them in a pool first.

Remember to stay warm above water as well, dust off your beanie, scarf and wind proof jackets. Despite it being cooler the reef is still as magical as ever. Visibility is great and donít forget to keep an eye out for those minke whales that start to visit our shores this time of the year. You never know when one is going to sneak up on you!

Editors note: This article is written from a localís perspective, and it seems like the longer you stay in tropical Queensland the thinner your blood becomes. Last year we were talking with a friend who told us "Last night it was so cold we had to use...A BLANKET!" Ocean temperatures during the cool months (July-September) range in the low to mid 70ís: warm by Northern Hemisphere standards, absolutely Arctic by Cairns local standards.

(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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