Most divers nurture a dream about going – or going back – to the Great Barrier Reef. The water is warm and comfortable all year round, with high visibility, and the marine life and scenery is simply amazing. It’s no wonder that the entire reef is World Heritage listed and one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world.
The Great Barrier Reef actually consists of more than 2,800 coral reefs outside the north-eastern Australia, covering more than 300,000 square kilometres. The individual reefs of the Great Barrier Reef are divided into ribbon reefs, platform reefs or fringing reefs, depending on where they grow. The ribbon reefs are found on the continental shelf edge, the platform reef lives on the shelf and fringing reefs grow along the islands and mainland. The reefs vary in size from 1 hectare to an impressing 10,000 + hectares.
There are new species of fish and other organisms discovered in the Great Barrier Reef area every year, and today the number of different fish species is close to 2,000. There are 4,000 known types of molluscs and over 350 hard corals. In the Heron Island area alone you can see more than 250 types of shrimps.
While diving at the Great Barrier Reef you can encounter fascinating animals like the green turtles and several types of dolphins and whales. The reef is also home for the charming dugong. Dugongs are huge grey animals that can become up to three metres long and weigh 400 kilograms or more. They are mammals, but spend their whole life in the sea. They never come to land and they surface only to take a few breaths of fresh air. The dugongs are perfectly shaped for a life in the water and swims by moving their broad tail up and down.
December – February is the summer season at the Great Barrier Reef. This period is also known as the wet season, since it’s the rainy part of the year and sometimes even brings some tropical thunderstorms or tropical cyclones. Since it is summer, the air and water temperatures are as high as they get during these months, with an average water temperature of 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29°C). The humidity is also at its peak.
March – May is the fall season in this part of the world. It’s the best time of the year to go diving if you want to watch juvenile fish. The weather is still warm, but less rainy and sometimes cold during the nights. Water temperatures are around 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26°C).
June – August is the winter season. Most divers prefer this season, since there is very little rain and the heat not overwhelming. The humidity is also low, and the water temperatures are down to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24°C). This is the best season if you wish to encounter Minke and Humpback whales migrating.
September – November is spring time. This is the period when you can experience Coral Spawning. During spring, everything starts to warm up again and the humidity is quite high during the end of the season. The water temperatures are around 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27°C).