January 2016 on the Great Barrier Reef
To Be Perfect
Captain Trevor Jackson
It’s not called the GREAT Barrier Reef for nothing…..it’s called that because it’s ….well…GREAT… both in size and in content. Trouble is, more and more these days we are hearing about threats to the reef caused by man’s intervention with the environment. Social and news media outlets love to wax on endlessly with stories and articles that invariably revolve around negativity…because negative news is what provokes the most chatter around the office water cooler! In short; they live for doom and gloom! Well I’m not having any of it here! This month I want to talk about something that happened the other week that bucks the trend, in fact, flips it entirely on its head. A GREAT piece of news, and it’s quite simply this… we just found the BEST coral dive on the whole reef. Now I know that sounds like a bold statement, and the kind of thing you might read in a dive company’s promotional blog, but I assure you it’s true.
About a year or so ago, cyclone Nathan went through this area and gave the odd dive site a bit of a tickle. Whilst this is a perfectly natural event, it did have us on our toes and prompted a mindset at Mike Ball Dive Expeditions that we should never rest on our laurels and expect everything would always be alright…even mildly storm damaged coral reef sites are not our idea of ‘World Class’ so we set about spending the year exploring and expanding our itinerary. Month after month we discover sites that are becoming the new benchmark….every trip…but even with all that progress we were still in search of the cherry on the cake….the picture perfect, postcard dive site that would reinvent the notion of what the Barrier Reef was all about. A site that looked more like an exercise in photoshop than a real place; a place where you simply will not believe your eyes…and…in early December we found it! East of the Cooktown longitude but still within the calming protection of the GBR is the fabulous….Trolly Shoal.
We haven’t even had the chance to explore the place thoroughly yet but it has become immediately apparent the Trolly Shoal wants for nothing! The area has simply got the lot, and got it in spades. But it’s the untouched quality and quantity of the hard coral that has us jumping into our fins. I’ve tried but I can’t justifiably put into words how good it is and it’s impossible to try to compare it to any other place. But I will say this…in 35 years of diving the GBR, I’ve never seen anything quite up to this standard. Somehow someone forgot to tell Trolly Shoal, not to be perfect.