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April 2019 on the Great Barrier Reef

Good For a Look

Captain Trevor Jackson

I almost choked and fell from the skippers’ chair in the Spoilsport wheelhouse! There it was in the 2019 Queensland tide book, written in black ink in an official government publication. I had joined the ranks of Captain Cook, Matthew Flinders and Abel Tasman. I had named a place in the sea, and it seemed that that name had become official.

A few years ago I walked into a corner hardware store. It was the type of store that came before the giant hardware chains. The kind that sold nails by their weight and fiberglass resin in a jam jar. The owner was a lovely old veteran with weather-beaten hands. He stood talking to a policeman about the fact that the night before some vandals had thrown a cement garden ornament through the window at the front of the shop. Once the police left, the store owner picked up the ornament and wrote on it…For Sale $5. I grabbed it up, slapped a $5 note in his hand and said “This is just the thing, this little cherub”. The old man enquired what I meant and I told him about a cave we had recently discovered off the coast and how sometimes, our divers had difficulty finding the entrance amongst the kelp forest. “I will paint this statue white and use it to mark the entrance of the cave, that way we will be able to find it easily”.

And so, it was that the cave soon became known as ‘Cherubs Cave’. A year or two later the Queensland Government decided the site was to be designated a Grey Nurse Protection Area and drew up a 500 metre no-fishing zone around the cave entrance. Naturally they had to make the public aware that the zone existed, so in their official notifications they kept the name ‘Cherubs Cave’.

It’s no big deal really, but it got me thinking. As we drive up and down the coast in Spoilsport we pass multitudes of islands and headlands that all have a name. Indeed, most of the reefs we dive at also have a name. But all of these places can be seen from the deck of a boat. Once you are in the water, all it takes is for you to go a slightly different way than someone has gone previously and you could literally be exploring someplace that has never been seen before. Think about this for an experiment. If you were driving along in a boat just about anywhere in the world and you just randomly stopped, put your dive gear on and jumped in, there would be a 99% chance you have just jumped in and explored something that has never been explored. It is by its very nature that the sea cloaks its contents in a curtain of blue, that has only occasionally and sporadically been lifted.

In a small but very real way, diving can sometimes give us the opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with the famed explorers of yesteryear. There aren’t many places on this earth that haven’t already been named, or are there? Maybe we just have to look at things from a different perspective. It’s fantastic to work here in an environment that allows us to put the ‘expedition’ back into dive trips. I guess that’s why they call us Mike Ball Dive Expeditions. Come on, get your gear on, let’s go for a look!



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