At last came the day many of the group had been looking forward to the most. At 8:00 a.m. a bus took us to the speedboats. From there it was a 90 minute trip to the eagerly anticipated Great Barrier Reef. The view which met us there was awesome. A dreamlike reef with hard coral gardens at the highest level. At the very top of the reef we could make out some leathery corals. Despite the cool water temperature of 23 °C we managed two dives in the morning and one in the afternoon.
We were surrounded by blacktip reef sharks, Napoleon fish, a lot of clown and damselfish and butterfly fish. Particularly impressive was the discovery of a one meter long giant clam. The time underwater flew past and there was always something new to discover.
Of course we didn’t neglect the documentation and examined the water between the dives. Roland and Meiko made the examinations on the wavering platform at the stern of the ship. In the process one analysis sheet fell into the sea. Courageously, Heiko jumped in after it and saved the results. All that in the service of science.
- Density: 1234 (very high)
- KH: 5 (very low)
- pH: 8.1
- Ca: 400 mg/l
- O2: 100 %
The feeding tests we carried out here also had widely differing results. Again we noticed that the food is not very well received, when fed by snorkelers at the water’s surface. When the divers stay still and quiet for a long time in deeper waters, the food is, after initial hesitancy, well and eagerly accepted. Unlike at Moorea, fish are rarely fed here, so that they are not used to it.
In the late afternoon we returned to the harbour and were taken back to the hotel. The group had dinner together. Didier tried a local speciality called Barramundi, a predatory fish from the family of perch-like fishes. Result: very tasty! In the evening we packed our things for the rainforest. And charged batteries, checked equipment, organised some provisions for the next few days (no matter how exciting life is, some people just can’t live without chocolate!).