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Great Barrier Reef
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Dive and Snorkel Trips to the Great Barrier reef
Dive and Snorkel Trips to the Great Barrier reef

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Coral Trout were a threatened species due to over fishing.  Before 2004 only 5% of the Great Barrier Reef was declared marine park so many parts of the reef were over fished.  In 2004 however the government expanded the protected green zones to include  30%  of the Great Barrier Reef.  Today the total biomass of the Coral Trout has miraculously recovered.  Not only are there more #CoralTrout in the green zones but they are  bigger and the population in un-protected waters has also increased.  
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A vaccine made from Bovine bile has been effective in the control of the Crown of Thorns Starfish outbreaks.  The single shot injection administered to a starfish by a diver causes the starfish to break up within 48 hours and has no affect on other marine life.  This along with reduction in the nutrients in run off entering the reef has reduce the food supply of star fish larvae.  However one Crown of Thorns starfish can produce 60 million eggs per year so the labor intensive nature of  a single shot injection will only play a minimal role in controlling the problem.  Scientists at James Cook University have made a new discovery which may be the game changer.  They have discovered a protein on the surface of the sperm that they can bind to a molecule which will render the eggs sterile.  The project is now ready to trial and hopefully in two years time we will have a #CrownOfThornscontraceptive   to control the numbers of these destructive pests.
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The threat to the Great Barrier Reef  by the Crown of Thorns Sea Star has accelerated with the discovery that warmer ocean temperatures  is increasing the numbers of the sea star.  In addition one of the main predators, the giant Triton Sea Snail has been over fished due to the demand for the shell  by collectors.  Shells contain sea creatures which are important to our marine ecosystem.   If you are diving or snorkeling and find a living creature,  please leave it where you found it  - it  has a role to play in our oceans.   In addition if shopping and you see a shell for sale, don't create a demand for these items - this may have unforeseen effects on the ocean ecosystems .    #BoycottSeaShells  
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Sea Cucumbers are found in abundance on the Great Barrier Reef in a variety of colors and some adorned with fleshy appendages .  They are the insinkerators of the ocean cleaning up organic matter and bacteria.  Considered a delicacy in some Asian restaurants and named because they are shaped like the vegetable - I think I will stick with the vegetarian option in my cucumber sandwiches.
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2015-02-08
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Today on 4 Mile Beach thousands of moon jelly fish were stranded.  These jellyfish are harmless however there are other dangerous cousins along the coast of north Queensland at present. The pint size Irukandji jellyfish is around one cubic centimetrein size is a species of box jelly fish which can inject venom into their prey.  The venom causes severe pain, cramps, nausea, heightened heart rate and blood pressure and victims will require hospitalisation.  So play it safe if you are venturing into the ocean and swim in netted areas.  If you are taking a trip to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef  make sure you are well covered - however because the reef is 45 nautical miles from the coast, the water is generally too cool to encounter Irukandji and box jellyfish. Talk to us about safety on the reef #CoralSeaVillas  
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2015-02-02
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If you are walking along 4 Mile Beach around  six o'clock in the morning you may be lucky enough to spot our resident pod of dolphins.  A pod of 8  dolphins swim parallel to the shore in search of breakfast.  Watched and loved by local joggers and walkers, it is amazing to think that 41 cousins of these dolphins have been slaughtered en mass  in Taiji Japan in an annual barbaric act.  Fisherman herded five pods of dolphins into the cove and then captured 52 for the lucrative captive trade market with little regard for the welfare of these beautiful, intelligent creatures.  Sea Shepherd Foundation has been drawing international media attention to this cruelty in an effort to pressure the Japanese into outlawing this practice. #taijidolphinsmassacre   Support Sea Shepherd and maintain the rage.
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2015-01-21
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Flowery Rockcod are found in the tropical waters of the #GreatBarrierReef.  These cod grow up to a metre in length and eat smaller fish.  They are bottom dwelling fish often hiding in caves and ledges in coral  and rock reefs .  Scientists have concerns about the overfishing of these large cod and groper species - researchers have suggested lowering the bag limit from 5 per species rather than the expansion of the marine park areas.  Hopefully we will have these giants swimming among us for years to come with sensitive controlled fishing and tourism.  Talk to us at  #CoralSeaVIillas about a reef trip to see cod in the wild.
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A live aboard vessel such as the Reef Encounter gives divers the opportunity to participate in a night dive.  Recently scientists have completed the first survey of biofluorescent marine creatures.  There are over 180 species of creatures that glow in the dark in neon colors.  This is due to proteins in the creatures body which absorb and change the light before  re-emit it.  Other bioluminescent animals such as angler fish, make their own light using chemicals in their bodies.  These proteins are of interest for biomedical research in the treatment of AIDS and brain disorders.
So take a night dive and watch the light show unfold.
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Reef Encounter is a live aboard dive and snorkel boat.  It has recently been refurbished and offers private or share accommodation for 1 -3 nights.  The  rates are very reasonable including meals , accommodation and gear starting at $410 for a two day, one night snorkeling adventure.  Reef Encounter caters for beginning resort divers and certified divers alike offering five dives over two days from $640 - $500 respectively.
Talk to our staff at #CoralSeaVillas to hook up a #LiveAboardDiving tour on the #GreatBarrierReef  
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Manta rays inhabit the temperate and tropical waters of the globe.  They have recently been protected under the United Nations Environmental Program by the Convention on Migratory Species Act - this is an inter-governmental response to protect threatened species from extinction.  The Manta ray populations off the coast of Mozambique have declined by 88% in the past 10 years due to the hunting of rays for the gill rakers for the purported  Chinese medicinal benefits in curing immune deficiencies and cancer.  Little was known about Manta rays until 10 years ago - we now know they have the largest brain of the fish family, they grow up to 8 metres in width and live up to 50 years.  Each ray has individual markings - so photographs or diagrams of markings by divers can be entered into a global scientific database called Mantra match www.mantramatcher.org   This will assist scientists to ascertain the approximate numbers , global movements and habits of these amazing creatures.  
I saw a Manta ray while snorkeling on the #GreatBarrierReef off the coast of #PortDouglas .  TIP for all you day boat snorkelers - get in the water first if you can - this is how I have spotted a manta ray, reef sharks and turtles. 
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