Expedition update: Ribbon Reef 10

Spring tides and strong winds today forced us to pick our sites carefully – it can be dangerous surveying the exposed side of the reef in these conditions if they are not judged correctly. You can easily get caught by a strong current raging through the narrow channels between the reefs. On the outer edge of Ribbon Reef no.10, we were surrounded by Marlin fishing boats. Interestingly, the outer edge of this reef is only a conservation zone (which allows some fishing), while the inner reef is a marine park. We carried out two full surveys today on the outer edge and saw many pelagic fish and turtles, including three large male Loggerheads. The team noticed a big difference between this reef and those further south which were affected by Cyclone Yasi. Here at the Ribbons, hard coral cover had suffered much less damage and the coral colonies were larger and more diverse. At the more exposed sites massive boulder corals (Porites species) were seen, whilst at the more sheltered parts branching species (Acropora and Porites species) were abundant.