Opal Reef spout
A LOCAL marine biologist has captured a dazzling water spout on camera just off Opal Reef.
Suzanne Garrett was with her team out on Wavelength who were just about to jump off the boat to snorkel when they noticed the phenomena about one kilometre from the popular dive site.
“We have been having some impressive squalls out there in the last week,” she said.
“We watched the spout rotate and move along with the squall and after about two minutes it was gone again.”
Water spouts usually appear as a funnel-shaped cloud that occurs over water.
They do not suck up water as often mistakenly presumed - the funnel is created by water droplets formed by condensation.
They are weaker than their land-based counterparts, however they are recognised as serious marine hazards, and a considerable distance should be maintained.
“They’re not an unusual occurrence and more prevalent in tropical climates,” a spokesperson for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said.
“Whenever there are large convective clouds over water there is the potential for them to occur.
“The formations are common over land and usually harmless, named ’dust devils’ or ’willy-willys’, it’s when they hit water that they become more visible.”
On the horizon:
the water spout off Opal Reef