Category Archives: Great Barrier Reef
Along with my reduced frequency of blogging, it’s been hard to find time to get away in the past few years for warm water snorkeling and tropical beach trips. We last went to Port Douglas three years ago and finally made it back in August 2018 after a few aborted attempts to book in trips between house renovations, a wedding and other big events.
It’s hard to believe some people get to dive on the Great Barrier Reef every week (or the commercial dive boat crew, just about every day). Coming from a fairly cool winter where the water temperature was around 9 degrees Celsius, jumping in 24 degree water in a rash vest and shorts was an amazing relief. And the abundance of life on the GBR is well known but no Attenborough documentary prepares you for the variety of fish, coral, sponges, invertebrates… a truly incredible sight every time.
I was one of the lucky few on our Wavelength cruise that spotted a white tip reef shark (in the slideshow below), though most of the snorkelers seemed pretty inexperienced and happy to bob around the surface, far from the hiding spots of the sharks and rays.
Wavelength also regularly maintains a coral garden, where pieces of coral are grafted onto small cement blocks and grown until then can be transplanted onto new ground. A fellow uni graduate working on the boat was pretty enthusiastic about the potential of these coral gardens, though expanding the project to compensate for widespread coral bleaching is nearly impossible in today’s warming ocean (and political climate).
Fellow Deakin Warrnambool marine biology graduate Nicole Nash has had, by the sounds of it, a pretty envious post-university career so far – ranger with Queensland Parks and Wildlife and founder of a campaign to end single-use plastics by tourist boats known as The Last Straw on the Great Barrier Reef.
Plastic straws are one of those absurd plastic implements people may use on a daily, once-off basis, throw away and then forget about – think plastic-handled cotton earbuds, cheap disposable razors.
While there are bamboo and steel straws on the market, like reusable coffee cups they rely on the user having the forethought to take them in their bag to a cafe, restaurant or bar. I have several reusable coffee cups and can count on one hand the time I’ve used a single-use plastic cup in the past year (always because I was caught out with no alternative).
Nicole is having some success convincing tourist boat operators to ditch plastic straws and has the backing of Tangaroa Blue and other partners to produce this video and push the message further. Well done!
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