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Reef Report for Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Advanced Training Enhances Reef Experience

With having logged just over 100 dives in 4 years I still believe I have a lot to learn about scuba diving. Having completed my Rescue Course a few months ago, I certainly came away feeling a much more confident and knowledgeable diver. We covered a number of scenarios that a diver could potentially come across. These ranged from assisting a tired diver to helping a panicked diver and the hardest to manage, a lost diver. The rescue course covers a lot more than I have described above but the point I would like to make is that no matter how many dives you have completed, you should consider furthering your dive education.

Having recently started my Dive Master course I am already fine-tuning my existing diving knowledge and skills. As part of my training I have been assisting Dive Instructors with their open water students, which I not only find challenging but also rewarding. The Dive Master course is the first step to becoming a dive professional and it also involves quite a bit of theory (which I am dreading!). By the end of the course I will have gained a higher level of dive knowledge and rescue skills. © Great Barrier Reef Enterprises Some dive companies run set courses run over 18 days and some operators offer an internship over a 3-month period. In this scenario you will work on a vessel receiving a minimum wage while completing your course. Although my intentions are not to progress to Dive Instructor I can only encourage other certified divers to consider further advancing their diving skills and knowledge!

Port Douglas/Cairns:

Guests on board Poseidon this week had the fortunate opportunity to dive and snorkel with a 2m Manta Ray at Agincourt Reef #4 off Port Douglas (see photo). It appeared to be working its way up and down the reef, feeding on plankton in the water. The team from Poseidon advised that Manta rays can grow to 7m and weigh around 1300kg. The family contains two genera and about 10 species. The cephalic flaps on the front of the fish are used to direct plankton into the mouth. Poseidon returned to the same location the following day and what appeared to be the same manta ray was sighted feeding again. Also seen on the dive were octopus, Leaf scorpion fish and numerous turtles.

Humpback whales are still being sighted with passengers onboard Calypso receiving a great show while traveling to and from Opal and Tongue Reefs out of Port Douglas. While out of Cairns passengers onboard Reef Magic Cruises received a great sighting of a humpback whale traveling out to Saxon reef.

Ribbon Reefs

There must have been something in the water this week at the Ribbon Reefs, as divers onboard TAKA II had quite a few interesting sightings of various cephalopods. Two squid were spotted mating in a nature-ally at the Clam Gardens, while a couple of octopus and a giant Australian cuttlefish were entertaining divers at Steve’s Bommie with iridescent colour changes in amazing variations.

Divers on Diversity had a great drift dive at a new site located on the northern edge of Day Reef, north of the Cod Hole. On entry they found huge plate coral formations while a little deeper, gorgonian fan coral was on display. Swimming 'downstream' the divers passed schools of stationary barracuda who were content to face directly into the current.

The weather for the weekend is forecast to be around 15 - 20 knots with a SE wind, which are certainly the best conditions we have had for a while. So should you venture out 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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