Sum­mer trea­sure at Opal Reef

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Shane Ni­chols

“I THINK Fe­bru­ary is my favourite time to be on the reef,” says reef nat­u­ral­ist Paul O’Dowd of Cooya.

“Peo­ple think that the wet sea­son means it’s cloudy and hor­ri­ble off­shore as well, but in fact with th­ese norther­lies the wa­ter is nice and calm and the clar­ity is phe­nom­e­nal — I reckon it is up to eas­ily 30 me­tres quite of­ten.”

This week, out on Opal Reef about 35km north-east of Port Dou­glas, aboard Wave­length, Paul and the vis­it­ing tourists ex­pe­ri­enced what can be a typ­i­cal day of en­joy­ing the reef at its best.

In a one-hour snorkel the vis­i­tors saw some of the best co­ral gar­dens any­where on the Great Bar­rier Reef, and abun- dant wildlife en­coun­ters in­clud­ing tur­tles, squid, a sleepy tawny nurse shark, small la­goon rays and vast clouds of colour­ful fish.

So who says the reef’s a washout in sum­mer?

An anenome pro­vides a safe haven.

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