As you have probably noticed, we are absolutely addicted to snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, with its magical sights and endless discoveries. We have done dozens and dozens of snorkels and never tire of the experience, and we hope you don’t grow tired of our posts.
We feel so privileged to be out there and are amazed at the health of the reef in the areas we have visited to date. It seems the damage to the reef is more localised than we expected. But we are very much aware it is all very fragile and we cannot be complacent.
Take Flynn Reef for example, where we have spent three days: there are areas of rubble, more so than at Milln Reef, but it appears to be storm damage rather than bleaching or crown of thorn starfish predation.
Flynn Reef is one of the outer most reefs on the edge of the continental shelf and the Coral Sea Trench. Because of its location, it feels remote, wild; it feels deep and immense; it feels different to any other reef we have been to with its great visibility and dramatic underwater seascapes.
It is the sheer size of what you are navigating through that seems most striking here: huge boulder corals, terraces of coral plates, deep trenches, big drops, and all surrounded by deeper water. You do have to dive down further, but it is so worth the effort. And the water is so blue and so clear!
It is brimming with colour and fish: large schools patrolling the trenches, a greater variety of fish of all sizes, many we had not seen before.
Have a look at these. First, a few of the species that were new to us. Click on the first image to display in full screen slide show and to see the name of the species.
And we still like the old favourites, even if we see them often:
We were the only yacht at Flynn Reef. Two or three dive boats visited there for a few hours but moved on. We dived in different spots each day, we fished, we cleaned the hulls, sea birds came to rest on Anui, we washed their droppings off the deck, Wade caught a large coral trout on the line – so tasty and it fed us for four meals!
It felt a little eerie at night, knowing we were alone out in the middle of the ocean, with the wind through the rigging, the water slapping at the hulls and the constant movement. But that is part of the reef experience. We felt safe, being on a public mooring, despite less than ideal conditions.
We are lucky it is not too windy to stay out and we don’t have to return to Cairns quite yet. So in the next post, we will take you to a few coral cays for a change of scenery.