Dive Site: Hardy Reef Coral

The many different corals you’ll see at Hardy Reef Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef snorkelling or diving from Cruise Whitsundays ReefWorld platform

Site Overview

Site Type: Reef corals – Scenic and Photographic
Depth: Top: 5MMedian: 12MBottom: 20M
Location: Hardy Reef is about 50kms north of the Whitsundays conveniently accessible via Reefworld owned by Cruise Whitsundays.

Description

Five dives on Hardy Reef, part of the Great Barrier Reef, were undertaken on two consecutive days in spring during a ReefSleep overnight stay on ReefWorld owned by Cruise Whitsundays. Rather than document what we saw on any particular dive, it seems more useful to illustrate the large variety of corals, fish, nudis and other miscellaneous critters by type, so this 100m stretch of reef is covered in four parts: Hardy Reef Nudis, Hardy Reef Fish, Hardy Reef Coral and Hardy Reef Seastars and other critters. So take your time and read them all. This one is illustrates the great variety of Coral at Hardy Reef.

All around there are little clusters of branching coral, usually housing little headband humbugs. But not this one.

The many different corals you’ll see at Hardy Reef Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef snorkelling or diving from Cruise Whitsundays ReefWorld platform

There are large thickets of Staghorn coral, the fastest growing coral, which make it easy for fish to slip away from me and my camera.

The many different corals you’ll see at Hardy Reef Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef snorkelling or diving from Cruise Whitsundays ReefWorld platform

And stacks of acropora (pun intended), in great condition.

The many different corals you’ll see at Hardy Reef Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef snorkelling or diving from Cruise Whitsundays ReefWorld platform

Periodically you’ll come across the nicely formed Brain coral

The many different corals you’ll see at Hardy Reef Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef snorkelling or diving from Cruise Whitsundays ReefWorld platform

And lots of weird and wonderfully random shaped Lettuce coral.

The many different corals you’ll see at Hardy Reef Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef snorkelling or diving from Cruise Whitsundays ReefWorld platform

Like the blue tinged branching coral, there is also Blue fringed plate coral.

The many different corals you’ll see at Hardy Reef Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef snorkelling or diving from Cruise Whitsundays ReefWorld platform

 

And this elongated disk coral, which looks completely dead by day,

The many different corals you’ll see at Hardy Reef Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef snorkelling or diving from Cruise Whitsundays ReefWorld platform

Comes alive at night with all the little animals coming up to feed.

The many different corals you’ll see at Hardy Reef Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef snorkelling or diving from Cruise Whitsundays ReefWorld platform

Next time you pick up what looks like the dead top of a mushroom, remember it’s actually a living colony.

The many different corals you’ll see at Hardy Reef Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef snorkelling or diving from Cruise Whitsundays ReefWorld platform

Another reef building coral, ahermatypic cup coral which covered the underside of the pontoon.

The many different corals you’ll see at Hardy Reef Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef snorkelling or diving from Cruise Whitsundays ReefWorld platform

Looks more like a plant, but it is an animal.

The many different corals you’ll see at Hardy Reef Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef snorkelling or diving from Cruise Whitsundays ReefWorld platform

Another marine structure, the humble sea fan, is also a colony of animals.

The many different corals you’ll see at Hardy Reef Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef snorkelling or diving from Cruise Whitsundays ReefWorld platform