Would you like to dive into the fray and help Protect Our Coral Seas? You Bet Your Wrasse! Nicola Temple is a Coral Sea Campaigner and has made it her life’s work to get into her scuba gear and find reasons to save our priceless marine heritage on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Here is news from her latest trip to the remote Lihou Reef.
When I heard about a research expedition that was headed to Lihou Reef in the Coral Sea, with berths for paying customers, I knew I had to go. For me, this would likely be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I had no idea how special it would be.
We spent 4 days travelling to Lihou Reef, stopping along the way to dive in the Great Barrier Reef and Marion Reef, and it was well worth the journey. The next 4 days we dove around Lihou Reef, one of the world’s largest atolls. I had no idea water could be so clear. When we anchored off Kathy Cay, I watched the anchor drop 20m to the sand bottom and it was still as clear as the moment it hit the water.
4 Days of diving in crystal clear waters, with abundant and diverse coral cover, large pelagic fish including grey reef sharks, black-tips, and silver-tip sharks, it is hard to single out a highlight. However, the dive that remains vivid in my mind was off of Anne Cay. We dove a wall we spotted on the marine charts and when we dropped down 30m, the sheer wall continued into the inky darkness, 500m further. Huge fan corals, 2m in diameter jutted out of the wall just below us. Curious grey reef sharks cruised by and a school of giant trevally gave us a look as they swam by.
I snapped photos continuously, trying to capture the immense diversity of life. As we came to the end of the dive, we were in about 6m of water when I caught sight of a Maori Humphead Wrasse – male and about 1.5m long. My dive buddy pointed to another 1, while I caught sight of a 3rd. We spent our safety stop surrounded by no less than 9 Maori Humphead Wrasse! Of course, my camera had long-since run out of batteries, but the memory is forever ingrained in my mind.
The Coral Sea, beyond doubt, is one of the most spectacular places I have ever been. There is a visionary campaign right now to protect this incredible marine environment, check it out and become a Sea Guardian today!
Nicola Temple, Coral Sea Campaigner