Cyclone Debbie snookers reef panic merchants

There had been daily predictions of doom for the GBR from the usual suspects.  It turns out that the cyclone was actually GOOD  for the reef. But false prophecies are a dime a dozen from the Green/Left so that is just a minor thing.  Far more interesting is what current tourist divers on the reef are saying.  It turns out that the Greenies declare a stretch of reef as bleached even if the bleaching is confined to a few small patches.  When have you ever heard mention of patchwork bleaching from Greenies? And what is left once you stop obsessing about those patches is still magnificent: "A million times better than the Mediterranean."

CYCLONE Debbie has been a breath of fresh air for coral bleaching on the hardest-hit parts of the Great Barrier Reef.

As the category-four storm wreaked havoc on Australia’s east coast, it also brought blessed relief to a mass coral die-off on prime tourist dive sites in the Coral Sea.

Surveys of the Ribbon reefs off Lizard Island this week show a dramatic drop of up to 3C in coral-killing sea surface temperatures off the state’s ­remote far-north.

“Cyclone Debbie looks like the turning point to allow the Reef to bounce back from this mass coral bleaching event,’’ marine biologist Jess Walker said. “With water temperatures down to about 28C, there will be less stress on the coral, less chance of bleaching, and less chance of coral mortality.’’

Free-diver Audrey Buchholzer, of France, on a three-day dive expedition aboard the Spirit of Freedom in the Coral Sea, said she was stunned by the “flashy” colours and ­kaleidoscope of marine life on the outer reef.

“I had to see it with my own eyes,’’ the 24-year-old said. “I’d heard negative reports the Reef was dead. That’s not true. There are patches of dead and bleached coral, but so much of it is alive and thriving. “It is an underwater wonderland,” she said.

Fellow diver Jennifer Petrie 31, of London, was disappointed to see the Great Barrier Reef is not like it was depicted in Finding Nemo.

“There was lots of dead bits, but still a lot of beauty,’’ she said. “It’s a million times better than the Mediterranean.”


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