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Diving the Coral Sea: a trip underwater was all it took for Lucy Graham to see what is worth protecting.

Diving for me started where I grew up in Cairns. Our family holidays were all about snorkelling and diving on the Great Barrier Reef.

In 2011 I decided my Christmas present to my Mum would be a dive trip for both of us with Mike Ball, to Osprey Reef on the Coral Sea. To be honest, in my naivety it had never occurred to me that there was any reef beyond the Great Barrier Reef.

Our first dive on the way out to the Coral Sea was on the Ribbon Reefs where a huge manta ray circled us while cleaner fish picked out his parasites--a good reminder that the Great Barrier Reef is still a living treasure. But Osprey Reef opened my eyes to real underwater beauty. We saw clear blue water with more than 50 metre visibility, an incredible number of reef sharks and some of the biggest hump headed parrot fish and Maori wrasse I have ever seen.

We also saw small creatures such as nudibranch, leaf fish and hermit crabs. I was overwhelmed by the vast stretches of undamaged and unbleached colourful coral.

I was shocked and saddened when I learned on our last night on the dive boat that the proposed Coral Sea Marine Park will leave most of the reefs in the Coral Sea unprotected. I would like to see them protected as they are for future generations to enjoy and for the fact that they hold so much of the beauty of the underworld in one place.

For more information on the Coral Sea visit: www.acfonline.org.au/coral-sea

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Title Annotation:Eco travel
Author:Graham, Lucy
Publication:Habitat Australia
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Apr 1, 2012
Words:266
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