To­day Show host tells na­tion of beauty of our Whit­sun­day reefs

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

THE irony of im­mers­ing her­self in the spec­tac­u­lar beauty of the Great Bar­rier Reef on a pic­ture-per­fect morn­ing – ex­actly three months af­ter Cy­clone Deb­bie tore through the Whit­sun­days – was not lost on Sylvia Jef­freys dur­ing her re­cent trip to the re­gion.

The Chan­nel Nine To­day Show pre­sen­ter said vis­it­ing the reef, from a re­opened Hamil­ton Is­land four weeks ago, was a “re­mark­able” ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It was so nice just to put my head un­der the wa­ter and see all the marine life. It’s all about be­ing up close and per­sonal with the reef and there is some­thing truly awe-in­spir­ing when you first see all that life un­der the wa­ter. As soon as your face breaks the wa­ter and you see all th­ese mar­vel­lous fish and colours zip­ping around the co­ral, you re­ally have this hum­bling feel­ing of ‘this is their ter­ri­tory and I’m re­ally lucky to be here’,” she said.

Her com­ments and the re­lease of her pho­tos from the trip came as the United Na­tions Ed­u­ca­tional, Sci­en­tific and Cul­tural Or­gan­i­sa­tion (UNESCO) voted not to add the Great Bar­rier Reef to its list of sites in dan­ger – a re­lief to the tourism in­dus­try with the reef now es­ti­mated to be worth $56 bil­lion.

Tourism Whit­sun­days chief ex­ec­u­tive Craig Turner said the reef re­mained a “world-class” des­ti­na­tion. He said vis­i­tors were still get­ting the best when it came to snorkelling and div­ing, with fa­cil­i­ties such as the pon­toon at Reef World im­proved.

“The Whit­sun­days on their worst day are bet­ter than most places on their best day,” he said.

Mr Turner said the in­dus­try was de­ter­mined to re­turn to record pre-cy­clone vis­i­tor num­bers.

PHOTO: NINE NET­WORK AUS­TRALIA

FLY­ING HIGH: To­day Show host Sylvia Jef­freys said vis­it­ing the reef in the Whit­sun­days post Cy­clone Deb­bie was a re­mark­able ex­pe­ri­ence.

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