Underwater Photo Essay – Great Barrier Reef

As much as I love my digital slr, now and again its fun to use a disposable camera especially when it means taking photos underwater for the first time. Of course I could have bought a case for my camera but I wouldn’t risk even the most expensive one just in case it had a leak. While we were Sailing the Whitsunday Islands we had a chance to snorkel and dive the fringing part of the Great Barrier Reef and as I briefly described when blogging about the sailing trip the experience was terrifying.

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I was so excited to finally see the Great Barrier Reef I forgot to think about the masses of fish that were going to be in the water below me, jumping in off the boat was okay until I put my head under water and saw the fish swimming all around me – I have an irrational fear of fish and that along with trying to breathe in a snorkel caused me to panic.

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Clicking ‘snap happy’ out of pure fear of being surrounded by fish, it was only when we got these back I realised how close George had gotten to me. George is a Maori Wrasse fish, super friendly with all humans and before he became the ‘male’ leader of the pack he was female. When George dies the strongest female will change in to a male and become the new leader. The guys and girls that went diving were able to stroke him as he loves to follow the divers and knows that the boat has food.

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F1000019 editThe fish continued to swam around us the whole time I was in the water, I later found out this was because they know that the boat has food. So they stay around the boat hoping to get a mouthful or two of food. This was certainly true when one of the crew members threw fish food right at me casuing hundreds of fish to flock around me. Had it not of been for the stinger suit I was wearing I would of freaked out even more – if they had of touched my bare skin.

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My boyfriend on the other hand loved the fish and after having a go at diving fell in love with George.

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Being able to look in to the water and see the divers below us was incredible, this was taken from the little boat we were riding around on above them. When divers are in the water the boat had to put out a flag and anchor it where the divers are basing themselves this is a flag which links to the boat so that other boats know where the divers are and to which boat they belong.

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After freaking out because of the fish I realised I had forgotten to pay any attention to the actual coral. So hours later I went back for a second go. Keeping my distance from the boat so that the fish didn’t bother me too much I was able to concentrate on the coral and how beautiful it all was. No piece seemed to be the same if shape, size or colour.

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This has to be my favourite image of the set, the colours are so vibrant and you can clearly see all the different types of coral there are in just this one area. I look a lot closer to the coral than I actually was yet the detail has come up amazingly.

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More images of the coral I could see below my feet, as you can see most of the fish had left me alone and I spent a good 20 minutes just staring at how amazing it all was. The colours were incredible, some of the coral was a real florescent blue or orange – something I never expected. You weren’t allowed to touch the coral as this would kill it – repair takes up to 100 years! It was also illegal to take any part of the Great Barrier Reef home with you.

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