Here in the Whitsundays our beautiful weather has remained hot, sitting on 30 degrees most days so I am still able to visit the Lagoon for my Aqua Aerobics workout. It is such a delight. The injury to my right knee sustained in the accident in Paris has improved immeasurably and I am feeling so much better.
This month I would like to tell you about our beautiful inner Coral Reef that surrounds the Whitsunday Islands and the outer Coral Reef just 2 1/2 hours Ferry ride from Airlie Beach.
Worldwide there have been many news reports regarding the condition of the Coral along the Great Barrier Reef. It concerns me greatly to hear that there is extensive Bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef from New Guinea to Cairns. Further south between Cairns and Townsville there has been 30% bleaching as well but the good news today is that this is likely to recover in time.
Here in the Whitsundays as reported by Sir David Attenborough we have dodged a bullet and our Coral is still as beautiful as ever.
In the Whitsunday Times Newspaper dated 19/5/16 a headline stated “Operators say Reef is still full of Colour” A special article uncovering the latest findings with observations by the our local tour operators was reported.
The tour operators who regularly visit the Reef commented on the state of the Coral. They believe that there is a small proportion of Coral that is bleached but that the “majority of our Coral Reef is untouched. It is still beautiful. It’s still lovely” one operator is quoted as saying.
Living in the Whitsundays and constantly talking to our visitors, I get to appreciate once again the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef. Travelers are amazed by the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef and take home with them the treasured memories of their time spent in the Whitsundays.
It also brings back the wonderful memories I have of when Barry and I lived on our Yacht for 3 1/2 years when we first arrived in the Whitsundays back in the year 2000. I never tired of sailing out to the Islands and looking through the clear azure blue waters to the Coral below as we drifted by. The colours were spectacular. Every Island seemed to have its own variety of coral each with differing colours and shapes. We would switch on the Depth sounder as we sailed across the coral because there was no way of telling visually how close the Coral Reef was to the bottom of our hull. I would be surprised by the great distance between our keel and the Coral as it always felt so close.
One particularly wonderful memory I have is when we dropped Anchor just off Thomas Island during the Wet season during what is known as the “Spring Tides”. This means that the Tidal range fluctuates greater than usual. In North Queensland we usually have a tidal range of 5 metres daily but during this time it is much more.
On this occasion the tide had dropped so low that the Coral Reef was exposed above the Ocean waves. The water was so smooth it was like glass. As the evening settled and I looked out over our stern, I saw what appeared to be masses of colour on the horizon.
We waited until morning and very early took our tender to see this beautiful Coral garden that had emerged over night.
We followed a Green Turtle who was swimming amongst the Coral Reef and so as not to damage the Coral, we rowed gently in and around this beautiful Coral garden. As I sat in our Tender, with the Coral at shoulder height, I was amazed to see the beauty of the many shapes and colours that surrounded me.
The Coral has names like Brain Coral and I could make out the shapes to identify with each description. The colours we saw that day were soft pastels of Mauves, whites, pinks and oranges. Some Coral Reefs that I have seen surrounding other Islands are much more vivid in colour with strong reds, purples, yellows and greens on show.
We spent about 1 hour rowing around our Coral garden but I will never forget that amazing sight.
I have snorkelled many times amongst the Coral and love the sensation of swimming with nature as the colourful fish swim beside you to welcome you to their playground.
It is so important to protect our Coral and to save our magnificent Great Barrier Reef for future generations to enjoy.