July on the Great Barrier Reef
That Blue and Lime Line
By Captain Trevor Jackson
The wheelhouse of Spoilsport stretches width wise right across the whole vessel. Long and thin and wide, it resembles what would have once been known as a “Bridge” in ye olde nautical terms, rather than a wheelhouse, which you might find perched atop a fishing boat or tug boat. Windows which face the sides of the boat are the end caps of this bridge and it is here that I often find myself staring out to sea after an overnight crossing to Osprey.
As the crew are busily preparing the deck for the first dive, I stand there in wonder and simply take it all in . The dramatic azure soaked cliff edge often lies directly underfoot; a stark contrast of pale lime green , and then, whoosh, it drops off to almost blue black. Here the deep meets the shallow like a brisk slap across the face. There’s no warm up , it’s just a defining …‘WHACK”!!!!… At the joining face of these two contrasts, all manner of marine life, large and small, congregates and merges to the surface. Sharks and bait balls, reef fish and mantas. Collectively they marvel at the oceans abrupt halt as the reef stretches from a thousand metres up to ankle deep, in the space of a boat length. I often stand at that window and just stare at it for ages, like it’s the greatest show on earth. It’s hard to describe what its really like but just last week my daughter asked ‘what’s it like out at Osprey Daddy?’…In an effort to simplify it so she could understand I replied , ”Well darling, it’s like a besser block in a bath tub’…… She didn’t quite get it, but the expression reminded me of what a spectacle Osprey Reef really is.
Right now in the Ribbon reefs north of Cairns we are experiencing another stunning natural wonder; the annual peaceful interlude between humans and dwarf Minke whales. We call it, Minke Season, and it lasts for 6 weeks each winter, a must do on every divers calendar. But for me the real marvel lies out there… 100 miles into the vast Pacific Ocean, where terra firma crashes vertically into the depths, where even the fish seem in awe. Back where we can perch the boat right above that slap in the face …….and stare disbelievingly at …..that blue and lime line.
Photos of the Month