April 2015 on the Great Barrier Reef

The Odd Gorilla

Trevor Jackson – Spoilsport Captain

Our yearly tussle with cyclones usually begins as the summer months begin to ebb…the water temperature in the Coral Sea has reached its critical point and when everything aligns…a cyclone spins up and begins its often erratic dance towards the Qld coast…when that happens we start to watch…in terms of being at sea, not a lot happens fast. Cyclone are far reaching but slow moving…to be in any real danger in this modern technological age you’d pretty much have to have a cyclone form almost on your position in very quick order, and even then, the watchful skipper should be onto it with 24 hours to spare.

This year was a little unusual in that we had Cyclone Nathan arrive near the east coast and then simply hang around for weeks not doing much……Of course , a cyclone not doing anything isn’t much of a story for the press down south so they tend to beef it up a bit ..”Far North Qld Braces for Horror Wind”…or …”City in Lockdown in path of monster storm’…its a little irresponsible quite frankly…and prompts folks down south to reconsider travelling to FNQ in the summer months. For several weeks in a row we were receiving phone calls on board Spoilsport from relatives of those on board, concerned that we were in harms way. Each time I hung up the phone I would look out the bridge windows at the glassy seas and wonder what the southern press had said this time.

So let me give you my take on cyclones…Cyclones are like gorillas in a zoo…they’re a magnificent animal, intimidating, powerful and they may even be noisy, with all that chest beating…but they are only really dangerous if they get out of the cage….now that being said , when they do get out of the cage …they are VERY dangerous, so we need to keep a very careful eye on them…but if we are doing that….its safe. Yes Safe…it is safe to be in FNQ during cyclone season, its safe to be on board a dive liveaboard way out in the Coral Sea…..and the diving is simply awesome. This season, as Nathan left us in his wake..its been calm seas and 30 to 50 metre viz…that’s fairly typical at this time of year. All our guests have to do is take it all in and enjoy…the crew will take care of them, the engineers will keep it all running and I will point us in the right direction…oh and keep one eye out… for the odd Gorilla.

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