Fabulous Flynn Reef

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.

Below Anui

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.

Clown Triggerfish

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.

Scissortail Sergeants & friends

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.

20 thoughts on “Fabulous Flynn Reef

  1. Great pictures as always. I am wondering what you are using as your reference for identifying the fish.

  2. I see cities down there, cities made of tall rock and coral, the depths always changing. The citizens are beautiful in their water world!

    • We love your metaphor, John! It is so apt… there are streets, shelters, farms, dwellings, there are systems too, to use energy, reuse byproducts or waste, provide food… In fact the best book that explores this analogy is « Coral Reefs -Cities Under the Sea » by Richard Murphy.

  3. Ahhh … my favourite of all fish … the clown triggerfish! Sometimes called the Picasso triggerfish. I discovered the clown triggerfish in New Caledonia on the drop-offs. Mostly a bit deeper but I did manage some pics. Saw other triggerfish varieties too but it was the clown triggerfish I fell in love with. The patterns and colours on this fish are amazing. Haven’t seen any here yet! 😦 If you are interested … my blog post … Aug 7 2015 “Clowning Around”.

    • Hi Amanda! They are stunning, aren’t they. We just love the bold patterns and colour. Flynn Reef is sensational for the variety of species. If you get up here, be sure to go there.
      Thanks for the link… great title too!

    • Oh and by the way, I just realised I misnamed the Clown Triggerfish photo and forgot to include the Yellowmargin Triggerfish photo. So all corrected. Thanks for the gentle mention!

  4. So nice to follow some local sailors/snorkelers (apologies, what is the plural for snorkeler?). It always bring a smile when I see a notification for the latest from sv-anui. I understand it is very quiet along the coast this cruising season with the strong winds. Not quite the same but I feel your trepidation when anchoring alone, I feel it when my wife and I camp in the bush with no others around, being woken by that strange noise during the night.
    On another note, it must be amusing to see Take it Easy sailing with you and following her new adventures through YouTube!

    • Hi Richard, really glad you enjoy our posts. We are so excited by what we experience and love sharing this through our blogs. So it is nice to know they are appreciated. You are right, the stronger conditions have made it challenging to be out there, but we are finding that if we want to see the reef, we have to put up with conditions we would not normally entertain! And we are realising that we can cope with stronger stuff on Anui – the advantage of a larger cat.

      And yes it has been fun to stay in touch with Take It Easy and share anchorages from time to time. They are very adventurous and are taking her to new territories: headed for the Solomons!

  5. Great captures, Chris. What colors! The brown noddy is beautiful! Fantastic times…Lucky you. 🙂

  6. I am finally catching up with your posts. I loved the Noddy. Flynn Reef looks magnificent and little damage as well which is great. Continue to enjoy

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