Saturday, November 5, 2011

Experts Predict The Extinction of The Great Barrier Reef!

A variety of corals form an outcrop on Flynn R...Image via WikipediaHi, and welcome to my video "blog post Experts Predict The Extinction of The Great Barrier Reef"!
Is it true, will one of the 7th wonders on the planet crumble around us during our lifetime.
This article below says that maybe the whole thing has been greatly exaggerated.
Me is am not a scientist, but I do have a passion for theis wonderful underwater nature land!
View the article below from the Telegraph UK and see exactly what these guys have to say!
Great Barrier Reef - Giant Clam
Playing with a Giant Clam on the Great Barrier Reef at Michaelmas Cay. This was on March 25 on Ocean Spirit Cruises.

Australia: All's well on the Great Barrier Reef

Experts predict the extinction of the Great Barrier Reef but the planet's largest living organism is holding up well, finds Cameron Wilson.

The Great Barrier Reef exists in a kind of public relations purgatory, as almost every conference on global warming, every estimate of rising sea levels and every warning about coral bleaching includes the pronouncement: "the Great Barrier Reef could be extinct within our lifetime!" The planet's largest living organism has become a 1,300-mile underwater canary-in-the-coal mine, predictions of its demise shorthand for environmental Armageddon.

In spite of this, I embarked on my first visit to the reef in eight years optimistic that the fish, corals and other marine life had not heard the news and were swimming, feeding and procreating much as always.

It's an odd fact that most of the two million people who travel to see the reef annually go in winter (June-August in Australia), but the reef is actually at its best just before the summer monsoon when calmer seas bring exceptional underwater visibility.

Similarly, because Cairns is well known as the gateway city to the reef, it's assumed to be the place to stay. But unless you fancy backpacker bars, Port Douglas, an hour up the road, may be a better option. Accommodation ranges from modest to lavish and several top-notch reef trips leave from here, too.

 IMG_4137.JPGImage by gnomeza via Flickr

One of these is Poseidon, and I booked myself on for a day's diving to check the state of things on Agincourt Reef. There were 38 other passengers on the trip and 10 of us paired off to dive at a site known as Stonehenge, after a cluster of coral plinths that poke out of the waves. Some of the coral bomboras (offshore wave breaks known as "bommies") we drifted over were largely barren, while others bristled with soft and hard corals and sea fans in an array of greens, blues, reds and yellows. This mix of the bare and the colourful was much the same when I last dived Agincourt Reef nearly a decade ago.

Tropical reefs in Australia and elsewhere can often be disappointingly bereft of giant clams, but at Stonehenge they were everywhere – some more than 5ft across, with fleshy lips in royal shades of purple and green or else creamy browns flecked with yellow. Myriad tiny fish in electric blue, green and yellow darted among gardens of staghorn coral, and I spotted a colony of anemones with 20 or so inhabitant clownfish, the first time I'd seen these endearing little "Nemos" in such numbers.

Lunch was standard fare for the better reef tours: chilled prawns, cold meats and salads followed by tea and coffee with muffins and brownies. Satisfied with both the diving and the food, I settled in for the journey back to Port Douglas, chatting with my fellow divers about their experiences of visiting the reef.

While everyone had seen corals blooming with health and others less so, the biggest surprise for most had been the time taken to reach the outer reef. Most tour boats will travel three hours round-trip in order to spend four hours moored by the coral. This can make a live-aboard trip an appealing option, as you get more time snorkelling or diving relative to time spent in transit. But it does mean committing to a set number of days at sea – which can be a pain if the weather turns or you're not much enjoying the boat.

 Satelite image of the Great Barrier ReefImage via Wikipedia

A more flexible alternative is Reef Encounter, which can accommodate guests for one or several days, as its sister vessel Reef Express ferries passengers to and from Cairns daily. My two-day "Top Deck" package with Reef Encounter included my own dive-guide and valet – a peppy English girl named Lucy. The moment I stepped on board it was apparent Reef Encounter pulls off that trick some boats do of being roomier inside than they appear from the outside. My cabin had a comfortable double bed and a compact bathroom cubicle (there was also a plate of fresh fruit and glass of champagne). Lucy outlined the boat's amenities and dining schedule and then switched roles from valet to dive guide, ensuring I had a properly fitted wetsuit and scuba rig.

After lunch, Lucy and I suited up and stepped off the boat's dive platform, sinking alongside the mooring line on to Hastings Reef. Reef Encounter shuttles between different sites on Hastings and Saxon reefs, so multi-day divers and snorkellers get lots of variety.

As at Agincourt Reef, giant clams were in abundance and while some bommies looked past their best, others teemed with life. We encountered dozens of parrot fish and a pair of hump-head Maori wrasse, each over 3ft long. Lucy spotted a loggerhead turtle on the surface, and we watched it dive past us to the bottom to fossick for food. Occasionally a white-tip reef shark would glide by, and when I found one resting on the sand, I was able to settle almost alongside it.

For my final water session off Reef Encounter, I abandoned the scuba gear and instead spent an hour snorkelling about the reef shallows. Anemones and clown-fish, more giant clams, a turtle and a cruising black-tip reef shark were among the sightings, along with forests of staghorn coral that glowed green, orange and blue.

On the run back to Cairns aboard Reef Express I sat topside with the skipper, who gave me the fisherman's view on the relative merits of coral trout, barramundi and Spanish mackerel as well as the grim outlook for ocean fish stocks.

In the end we agreed we don't know what impact global warming will have on the Great Barrier Reef, but probably no one else does either. It is to be hoped that in years to come, we will be able to say that reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated.
View original article here

Yes, I wish I was more of an expert on this subject.  The truth is I have watched the seas rise over the years and tons of sand taken away from many of our beaches on the east coast of Australia!
All I ask is that you be aware and try your very best to lower any impact that you have on the planet, to save not only the Great Barrier Reef, but many of Islands and natural resources.
I know this is a whole other subject, but we must act and play a small role each to make one BIG ONE!
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