Postcards from the minke expedition pt 2

By Andrew Burns 7 November 2013
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AG creative director Andrew Burns blogs from aboard an AG Society sponsorsed expedition to research minke whales.

WE HEADED TO A dive site called Acropolis, on the outer Great Barrier Reef near bottom of Ribbon Reef number 10: Lat 14-53.664 south; Long 145.39.996 east

Dive number three and I am now a little more confident in the water: less flailing and little more controlled in my descent. Here we dive on a huge pinnacle too large to swim around so we go instead around one side and then over.

Maybe it’s because I’m more confident now, but the diving is incredible. There is so much to see – every colour and hue of swaying coral as well as feather stars, towering fans and giant clams.

As  we descend I see a grey reef shark darting of into the depths. It might have been a different matter if it had been coming towards me, but my first shark encounter is a magical moment, not of fear but of excitement. It’s the first shark I’ve ever seen while underwater and rather than wanting to flee I feel the urge to get a closer look – but it’s off with a burst.

We also see pipe fish, leather jackets, coral trout, flute fish, pipe fish and sea squirts.

Back on board the, minkes are being observed from the bow. Three animals ‘motor boat’ (when the head of the whale comes out the water, bringing the eye above water in a few short rises. This is thought to enable the whale to check out surface activity). ‘

They were watching us watching them. They have the whole ocean to frolic in but they choose to hang out with us – maybe hoping, like we are, that another close encounter with these strange floating beings might happen soon.

Read part 1 of the expedition here.

AG creative director, Andrew Burns, blogging from aboard the ship. (Photo courtesy of Todd Tai)