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The Reef is Great!

Captain Trevor Jackson

A year or two back my brother and I were cleaning out our dear old mum’s house… I happened to glance down into the skip we were filling and spotted a diary, one of mine I confess, I kept a diary in my later teens… and there it was… in fact, there were two. Every now and again I pull one of them out and read of my adventures back then.  Living almost permanently at sea on a boat called the ‘Billy Jo’, we traversed the far expanses of the Great Barrier Reef for years. The thing that strikes me about some of my early scribblings is the revere in which young Trev held the reef. Not a page goes by without some poetic description of its sheer expanse and beauty…and the overwhelming sense of gratitude I had to be living in my coral and saltwater home. In some instances, great detail is revealed about specific reefs, what to see at them, what condition they were in. This was back in the mid-’80s, so a fair lump of time has gone by… the obvious question begs… what changes have there been?


Well, I’m here to tell you… first hand, armed with the written knowledge of my 19-year-old self, and a current-day good hard look out the window… my GBR, the one I call home, well she’s taken some hits, there’s no denying it… but it has to be said… each and every day… I see unbridled beauty, phenomenal resilience… natures greatest wonder is a powerhouse. The reefs we saw bleached two years ago are regenerating, the reefs that weren’t bleached are soaring… last Minke season was an absolute stunner, I’ve seen more whale sharks in the last 6 months than id seen in the prior 35 years, the turtles at Raine Island this year defied belief in their sheer numbers. But the most overwhelming change in numbers I’ve seen since writing those diaries is the sheer volume of people, young and old,  who actually really care about the reef.


As we move into a new decade, there’s a very positive vibe amongst those of us who live out here at sea that things are going to work themselves out. Yeh, we’ve got some work to do, but moving forward I think we can be fairly certain about two things… humans are smart... the reef is Great… and I’ve no doubt that if we use our brains and work together, things will stay that way.

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