A ‘strange sea plant’ is brought to the surface – especially to impress Kay, aboard \\Careelah\\.
50 years of diving pictures by an Australian expert
This is a real picture that would be expensive to replicate. How can you tell? The snorkeler is not a model posing in position for the camera. The ripples on the surface show he is moving. A posed model would not have water movement near him or her.
Does it matter? Not a bit. But in this case it is a REAL picture, not staged for advertising purposes.
If this picture were on a travel brochure it would **not** say, as I will here, and with 100% honesty, that ALL THAT BEAUTIFUL CORAL (IS TODAY), DEAD AS DOOR-NAILS.
Just after the picture was taken, the Crown of Thorns starfish had a great feed here. This is/was Ellison Reef near Mission Beach, south of Cairns, Queensland, Australia.
It did not effect tourists at all – they go to different locations. Nobody speaks about dead reefs.
“Anyway, there’s plenty of coral in Queensland”. the skeptics have said.
An ‘expert’ might comment that coral reefs regenerate – indicating everything will return to how it was, eventually.
These are just words we like to hear – distorted words they certainly are.
The coral pictured at Ellison Reef will never look like this again, never ever. It’s too close to civilization.
That reef is finished in this form.
Something else, a poorer version, will replace it. Not as beautiful, but nobody will know the difference. That’s the way it is.
Don’t be fooled that everything (the coral reef ecology) is OK and will stay like this forever.
It won’t and it can’t. Learn to live with the changes. (\\from **fathomOZ.com**\\)
Mission Beach was put on the national map in the 1960′s when our then Prime Minister **Harold Holt** had his holidays at Bingle Bay. The whole region of Mission Beach, Clump Point and Bingle Bay is rain forest by the sea.
Harold Holt was said to have a red phone, a hot line to Canberra installed.
I was shocked to be in town and witness his former holiday residence being quietly demolished.
**Harold Holt** was an active spear fisherman and free diver. He vanished in Victoria in the sea he loved, December 1967 while still in office as Prime Minister.
When \\Friendship\\ departed Clump Point, Mission Beach with day trip passengers for a Barrier Reef trip, it wasn’t long before a trolling line was put out to catch a fish.
Spanish mackerel would be ideal. The fish would be for one of the giant groper at Beaver Cay and reef.
Skipper and owner **Perry Harvey** would provide an energetic and informative commentary over his PA system during the day and especially when something interesting suddenly appeared on the surface.
A whale, a manta ray, a school of dolphin. Something was always to be seen during the 40 minute journey to “the reef”.
This kind of personalized day-trip service has since vanished as larger boats with temporary staff are more likely to exist today.
Perry Harvey was a local celebrity and for many years had the only regular, every day, boat trip to the Great Barrier Reef.
Consequently he became outspoken when issues like crown-of-thorns starfish threatened the reef he loved.
Other commercial reef tour businesses in Queensland “buried heads in the sand” and pretended the problem didn’t exist. None would speak to the media – except Perry.
(I was touring the Queensland coast with underwater films at this time, showing the starfish plagues, and spoke with some of these ‘silent locals.’ They feared negative publicity more than wanting to understand the long term inevitable consequences if nothing was done. That’s what exists today with dead reef everywhere. The positive side of this is – there is still sufficient live reef to satisfy demand).
Space does not permit the whole story – global warming and coral bleaching having replaced starfish who eat coral as the key problems of coral reef ecology. Is there a connection?
Shown about 250 Crown of Thorns starfish – part of 1000 strung onto two spear lines by a couple of divers using a single tank of air each.
This was the infestation near Mystery Cay that shocked those on that dive.
Many thousands or coral eating starfish covered the reef – impossible to guesstimate their numbers in the short time we had there.
Our last dive after 14 days at sea before returning to the port of Yeppoon, 12 hours travel time away.