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**