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Reef Report for Saturday, September 28, 2002

Can Dive Conditions be any More Perfect?

This week I am bit lost for words as to how to describe the weather conditions experienced on the Great Barrier Reef other than to say it was “perfect”! On all reports received divers and snorkellers just had an awesome time. © Great Barrier Reef Enterprises With winds averaging 10 knots or less, visibility ranging from 20 to 25 metres and the sun providing a very comfortable water temperature around 25 degrees.

Divers on Green Island saw white-tip reef sharks, colourful nudibranchs and a Yellow- Mask Angelfish. The latter is an unusual sighting as these fish are very shy species, difficult to approach and usually solitary, rarely in pairs. They can make a very large thumping sound if suddenly disturbed and they have a large dark spot on their tail which is unusual in angelfish and more common to butterfly fish. It is thought this which ‘false eye’ serves to confuse their predators).

Passengers on board Tusa during the week were escorted to the reef by up to 40 dolphins swimming in the bow wave of the vessel as well as sighting a Humpback Whale and calf. Reef Magic Cruises also provided their passengers with a whale sighting traveling out to Thetford Reef. The magnificent weather conditions reached as far as Port Douglas with passengers on board Calypso having a spectacular week diving and snorkeling in warm water and calm seas. Dolphins paid the guys a visit as well. There was plenty of activity underwater with rays, eels, barracuda, sharks, turtles and reef fish. Even my own family received a special treat at Trinity Beach this week with a school of dolphins showing off for them. (Hmm! Another hard day at the office Honey?)

Paddy from Reef Teach reported he and a couple of German divers had the pleasure of diving at Norman Reef and Breaking Patches during the week. The three were extremely excited about a huge Triton shell, about 45 cm in length. The Triton shell is a natural predator of the Crown of Thorn Sea Star. Within minutes into the dive they spotted a juvenile Green Turtle grazing only 2 meters away from them. It rose to the surface for a breath of air and dived back down right beside Paddy's divers to find two tiny Gregory Damsel fish quite upset at the presence of the turtle. They made it very clear to the turtle to leave their garden of algae alone. They also counted 7 different species of sea cucumbers and saw a Lionfish (Pterios volitans - for the scientists amongst us) swimming upside down underneath the dive boat.

I must tell you, I had the pleasure of attending Paddy’s very entertaining presentation on the Great Barrier Reef during the week. This is truly 2 ½ hours of the best information you will ever receive about the largest reef system in the world. You can catch Paddy or Scott at Reef Teach every evening Monday to Saturday at 6.15pm.

Our very own Crystal spent time out on Scubapro II this week and can’t stop talking about it. The weather was sensational and they visited (4) different reef sites over the (3) days. They saw lionfish, blue0-spotted lagoon rays, large white-spotted puffer fish and particularly a large florescent yellow (10cm long) Minor Notodoris” Nudibranch. Well done Crystal!

Hopefully we will be seeing similar weather conditions for this weekend with the winds around 15 – 20 knots. So until next week have a great weekend and always safe diving,

(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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