Montage image presented at the recent 88th Australian Coral Reef Society conference in Brisbane.
By James Woodford
Welcome to Tropical Sydney, where a Manly Ferry ride could one day be a coral reef cruise.
Towards the end of her keynote address, at the 88th Australian Coral Reef Society conference in Brisbane, Dr Adriana Vergés, a marine ecologist at the University of New South Wales, flashed a slide onto the screen behind her.
It was a manipulated image of Sydney Harbour, half above and half below the water. The photo looked stereotypically glorious until the audience’s eyes wandered to what lay beneath the surface – a magnificent coral seascape in crystal clear water. There were plate and staghorn corals along with a cloud of tropical fish.
Youcamp is a community of private landholders who welcome responsible visitors…
Are you a traveller looking for accommodation near a festival or big event, a safe place to park your self-contained campervan, a secluded picnic spot, a traditional camping site far from the crowds, or anything else?
Last month found me sailing to the coral sea reefs. I was in the middle of nowhere, not a care in the world; one kilometre of water underneath, no land or reefs for many miles and a fair wind giving life to the sails. As usual my thoughts drifted across the horizon as I settled into the rhythmic pattern of this ocean world. I glanced at the plotter and realised I could be in trouble. I raced back to the stern and began frantically pulling in my trawling line.
On my bike, on my way to work I passed a couple with a homemade telescope out the front of their house in Townsville and they invited me to look at the Transit of Venus…I was skeptical but then made out the disk of Venus in front of the North Queensland Sun and was stunned…I was also amazed when my iPhone captured an image of the spectacle.
And a few hours later I went back for another look…and it looked like this….
I can’t claim to have known Lincoln Hall, whose death from mesothelioma was announced today, very well. In fact for most of my adult life he has just been someone I have admired from afar through his writing, his adventuring and his several scrapes with mortality. But in 1997, for a fortnight, he and I were allocated a shared cabin on a Russian icebreaker bound for an iceberg and mountain climbing expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula.
It was strange to be in such close proximity to someone who had been a major hero of mine for over a decade. He was intriguing and enigmatic and I must have seemed like a pest, nagging him for details about this or that amazing adventure as we pounded across the Roaring 40s.
Considering they’re down to a few dollars a kilogram bananas are surprisingly hard work. I wrote, recently, about how sorely our family’s patience was being tested as we watched a mammoth bunch of bananas – literally the size of my five year old daughter – refuse to ripen on one of the palms we planted last year. Eventually, with banana prices back then still around $12 to $15 per kilogram, I hacked it off in the hope that it would hurry up the process. We hung them up downstairs in the shade and cool under the house and for a month they did nothing. Finally I hauled the huge bunch and dumped it in disgust in the compost, way back in the far corner of our yard. A few days later, upending a load of scraps I saw that some of the bananas I had tossed out had amazingly turned yellow. Brushing aside a few potato peels and tea leaves I opened one up and it was delicious and for a few moments I understood the thrill our resident brush tailed possum must get when he strikes compost gold. For about a week we feasted on bananas slowly ripening in the compost bay.
An Australian environmental news website edited by author and journalist James Woodford: photos, blogs, discoveries and guest viewpoints. James is funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts as the Ocean Correspondent. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org