June 3, 2013

Facebook
Twitter
INSTAGRAM
RSS

May 2013:  The Mission Blue film crew and Dr. Sylvia Earle left port from Cairns, Australia to explore and document the remote Holmes and Osprey Reefs in the outer Coral Sea (over 250km offshore mainland Australia) – with a planned stop on the Great Barrier Reef on the return trip in.

Heavy winds and weather restricted us to the seldom visited Holmes Reef for the majority of our trip.  The water quality was incredible at Holmes, but the poor health of the corals and shortage of fish life left a real concern.  Some have blamed the weather and cyclones for the coral die off – but even with the minimal time we had there, we were surprised at our how much of the area seemed to be struggling overall.  We did see some healthier corals (in water deeper than 25-30 meters) as well as the occasional snapper and grouper cruising by – but not in any abundance.  Sharks (Silvertip, Gray Reef and Whitetip Reef) were present, but in lower numbers than expected.  Holmes was also home to a good population of fearless boobies and gannets – who take residence on the only sand spit in the area.

Photo:  Bryce Groark  and the Mission Blue film team (Hope Spots Media)
Photo: Bryce Groark and the Mission Blue film team (Hope Spots Media)

We spent our last day on the Ribbon Reefs of the Great Barrier Reef.  We found an incredible spot in Steve’s Bommie, which was loaded with life – so much diversity, abundance and high end predators present.  Ironically, we were expecting to find the more healthy system farther away from land at Holmes Reef, but the more thriving reef of the trip turned out to be on the inside, closer to land, where the area is more protected from outside pressures.

Fisher Stevens, Dr. Sylvia Earle & Bryce Groark: Photo: Mission Blue film team (Hope Spots Media)
Fisher Stevens, Dr. Sylvia Earle & Bryce Groark: Photo: Mission Blue film team (Hope Spots Media)

The Coral Sea is an epic spot – a massive space home to so much life.  The Hope is to increase the protection from parts of the Great Barrier Reef to the outer Coral Sea area – and get spots like Holmes Reef back to where it should be.  To learn more about potential new laws which will protect the Coral Sea and make it the world’s largest permanent marine park, go to: http://www.protectourcoralsea.org.au

Bryce Groark – May, 2013

Photos: Bryce Groark and Mission Blue film team (Hope Spots Media)

Facebook
Twitter
INSTAGRAM
RSS

3 thoughts on “Trip Report: Mission Blue – Australia’s Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef

  1. Hello! I am currently doing a marine biology project which consists of speaking about a prevalent issue that needs to be solved in our oceans. Even since watching your documentary over the summer while I was interning at the Aquarium of the Pacific, I have been inspired. I am looking for recommendations for websites that I can use in order to obtain more information on the current dilemma that has affected the quality of life in the Coral Sea, more specifically the Holmes Reef.

    I am glad that you were able to find life further inland, and I hope the initiative to protect our oceans continues to gain momentum in our society.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We've Updated Our Privacy Policy

Read our new privacy policy here.