Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is an icon. If you are an experienced diver and get to a chance to dive this part of the worl make sure you get to the outer reef and the Coral Sea. The sections of the reef accessible by day trips are much less interesting. The drop offs and clear water further out are great dives. Coral outcrops such as Steve's Bommie and Temple of Doom are excellent dive sites.

The Coral Sea Reefs such as Osprey, Bougainville and Holmes Reefs are in open ocean a couple of hundred kilometres offshore and rise out of very deep waters. On some walls you can look down into a kilometre or more of water. The reefs here are spectacular and it is hard to do a dive with visibility less than 30 m. If sharks, big fish, huge gorgonians and soft corals and monster walls are your thing the Coral Sea is the place to be.

Hints:
If you are going out to the Coral Sea make sure the boat you are using allows diving to at least 40 m if you want to see the best gorgonians and soft corals. Some operations limit dives to 35m and that 5m difference can be significant in the Coral Sea. It is not so important on the Great Barriers Reef.

The trip out to the Coral Sea reefs is across open ocean and can get very rough, no matter what boat you take. Take precautions against seasickness seriously! Most people are fine if they remember to do that and once you are out at the reefs conditions are mostly very calm. But if you think that the calm first few hours of the trip inside the reef are as bad as it is going to get you may get a nasty surprise unless the weather is unusually good or you are the sort of person who is happy to sail solo around the world.


Gorgonian

Soft Coral

A 3m long Silvertip cruises
along the edge of a reef
in the Coral Sea

Fang Blennies mimic
cleaner wrasse so
they can bite pieces out
of unsuspecting larger fish.

Mushroom Coral

Hawkfish

Nautilus

Snapper

Seawhip Goby

Bigeye
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Copyright 1998-2007 Jon Bryan