Getting Wet on the GBR …

… made a lightning fast visit to the Great Barrier Reef out from Cairns recently for The Australian.

Journalist Graham Lloyd and I were choppered out to Moore Reef … certainly one of my quickest (and shortest) visits to the Great Barrier Reef !

A twenty five minute helicopter flight … then straight into the water with camera, reef crew Katherine, reef ecologist Eric and journalist Graham … forty five minutes working in the lagoon, the flat and the wall of Moore Reef … then straight back on the chopper to Cairns.

The Australian published a couple of my images to accompany Graham’s story on page 3  (middle pic below) with a pointer from page 1.

In the top two images below Katherine is exploring the ‘wall’ area of Moore Reef which was smashed during Cyclone Yasi in 2011, impacted by Cyclone Ita in 2014 … and then extensively bleached during climate change related extreme temperature events in 2016 and 2017. Damage on the ‘wall’ section is still evident but it does appear that corals are making a comeback (and the fish numbers were astonishing.)

Even on the ‘flat’ area between the lagoon and the wall … where there has been extensive bleaching (which I documented back in May 2017 for @everydayclimatechange and News) … there is some coral regrowth.

Sadly, with more frequent extreme temperature events and cyclones almost a certainty as the planet warms, the World’s largest reef system still faces a distinctly uncertain future.

The reef trip also gave me a chance to use a nice new bit of kit … the Sealife 0.5X wide angle dome lens … on my Sealife DC2000 underwater camera (pic bottom below). The wide angle is perfect for my choice of underwater pics … making underwater ‘landscapes’ much more impressive. If you are interested in any underwater kit (including the excellent Sealife system) may I suggest contacting Tim Hochgrebe at Underwater Australasia for the best range and prices.

Images © Brian Cassey




Tough ‘Day at the Office’ …

Another ‘reef story’ in the Australian gave me the opportunity for yet another day of underwater imagery (I need the practice!)… this time courtesy of the crew of “Passions of Paradise” at Long Bommie near Michaelmas Cay off Cairns.

Journalist Sarah Elks wrote of the latest findings that some corals are hardier than expected when faced with climate change … and the story and pic ran over six columns on page 3 today 14th November.

Once again I have to thank a long suffering ‘dive buddy’ … or, in this case. more like a dive ‘daddy’ – “Passions” Adam O’Malley … without whom I would have found it difficult to get an image! Also a thanks to ex pat Frauleins Judith and Claudia who endured a hard day snorkelling amongst the coral gardens.

As on previous underwater occasions I used – with my heart in my mouth – the Ewa-Marine flexible housing (model U-BXP100), this time with my shiny new (thank you Nikon) D700 and trusty old 17-35mm lens.

Below is a tear sheet of the image as used on the Australian page.



The Reef …

Something a little different from the norm … The carbon tax launch by the Australian Government last Sunday was the catalyst for a visit to the outer Great Barrier Reef at the request of the pic editor at the Australian newspaper.

The requested image – an underwater reefscape – was to accompany a story on the carbon tax and the reef conundrum – the reef desperately needs measures like carbon tax to put a halt to global warming and ensure it’s survival … but any tax may make the reef  more expensive for reef tourism operators and therefore less accessible to reef visitors. The jobs of crew and dive staff may also be in jeopardy in the future.

The full story penned by journo Sarah Elks – and the image (also below) – can be found here in the Australian on-line edition.

I travelled to the outer reef with Tusa Dive on their vessel Tusa5. Their relatively young and enthusiastic crew and staff were extremely professional and amazingly helpful and my ‘wishlist’ was attended to very efficiently.
Special mention must go to my long suffering dive buddy/instructor/sitter – Lindy – who showed amazing patience with a wayward non-certified diver!

For anyone interested in such things, the image was made on a Nikon D3S with lens focal length at about 20mm … and the kit nestled rather worryingly inside my German made Ewa-Marine U-BXP10 (flexible) housing. No idea now of exposure settings although they would be in the EXIF data. (actually looked it up … 640asa, 250 @ 5.6, bit of fill flash)

Image © Brian Cassey 2011