The aircraft was underwater at near Cape York, a prawn trawler had snagged her remains. She was upside down. Tail missing. Wheels exposed. Visibility shocking. **Dean Cropp** groped his way around, avoiding stone fish, sharks and deadly jellyfish and live ammunition.
At great effort he removed this old Browning machine gun from the fuselage. It was donated to an aircraft museum in his loungeroom. Dean hopes to learn the complete history of this aircraft.
**Photo John H/fathom collection**
On the Great Barrier Reef a windless morning like this makes travel very tricky. The mirror calm surface of the sea carries the reflection of the sky. It’s impossible to see reef which may be just a few inches below the surface.
Usually such reef is easily seen and a course is steered around the coral, but not on a mirror calm day with no breeze rippling the surface.
The only solution, apart from not moving, is to travel at slow speed with someone spotting from the bow for reef not seen until a few meters away. A quick reverse of engines then prevents a collision, but that is never guaranteed.
Captain James Cook ‘discovered’ the great maze of coral reef which he wrongly termed a barrier reef (instead of reefs) by running aground upon one. He didn’t know they were there until he climbed Lizard Island and took in the view. (In 1967 Wally Muller \see ‘feet’ July 12 entry\ climbed the same lookout in his tough bare feet before there was an easier track to the summit).
This picture was taken near Great Detached Reef 2003
**Photo John H./fathom Collection**
How much intelligence is contained within what most would consider ‘a very low-level life form’?
Bathers at Melbourne’s Brighton Baths, which is a bayside ‘ocean’ pool protected by anti-shark steel bars watched in amazement as a large jellyfish changed shape to a narrower form to pass through the bars. The jellyfish had to get out of the pool, somehow it measured the width of the bars without too much trouble.
Off Coffs Harbour underwater photographers ‘harrased’ an open ocean jellyfish giant by taking sufficient pictures to (a) cause the creature to spread its stingers over a much wider defensive area, maybe six times larger than the initial posture, and (b) cause the creature to dive deeper by some ten meters to avoid the bright flash.
While in Taiwan, the human intellingence has found methods to dry jellyfish into a form that is edible when reconstituted. Imagine eating jellyfish?
(How fantastic if the Taiwanese, who are proud of turning any sea creature into food, could find a method of making crown of thorns starfish edible)?
Then there is the box jellyfish with stingers that leave scars on our skin no worse than that which might be from ‘an electrified whip of steel’?
Pictured is an unknown (to me) variety, a relative of the common ‘pink stinger’ Sydney divers know so well. Heavy rains had reduced water visibility turning blue into green.
There is intelligence within a jellyfish, but how they see, why they travel is a human mystery. Some forms on the GBR pulsate with a raibow of brilliant colours within their transparent shapes. If NASA found such creatures in space the tabloids would go berserk. Inner space is taken for granted.
**Photo:JH fathom collection**