Dive Site: Plate Top on Norman Reef

B female parrotfish at plate top on norman reef aboard the sea quest diving the great barrier reef banner

Site Overview

Site Type: Scenic Reef
Depth: Top: 5MMedian: 12MBottom: 18M
Location: On the Norman Reef, Great Barrier Reef

Description

Plate Top on Norman Reef is a great shallow water snorkeling site, combined with a sandy gully between two reef walls for divers.  There’s a map on the SeaQuest page.  In and around the boulders of the reef walls you’ll find plenty to see.

Most fish are quite hard to identify if they face you directly, as it’s hard to see any tell tale spots and stripes.

Great Barrier Reef diving aboard Sea Quest. Scuba diving tips for Plate Top on Norman Reef - where, when, who and how

If you sit quietly for long enough though – they’ll turn sideways on like this coral grouper (squaretail I believe)

Great Barrier Reef diving aboard Sea Quest. Scuba diving tips for Plate Top on Norman Reef - where, when, who and how

 

The blue faced angelfish is pretty easy to identify.  Found nowhere else in Australia except the Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef diving aboard Sea Quest. Scuba diving tips for Plate Top on Norman Reef - where, when, who and how

Great Barrier Reef diving aboard Sea Quest. Scuba diving tips for Plate Top on Norman Reef - where, when, who and how

Parrotfish are plentiful on the reef, and you can often hear them before you see them as they smack into the coral and rip the algae from it. Very colourful and photogenic fish.

Great Barrier Reef diving aboard Sea Quest. Scuba diving tips for Turtle Bay on Norman Reef - where, when, who and how

Butterflyfish are another species of fish that are a magnet for my camera lens.  There seems to be an infinite variety, though in fact there are probably about a dozen varieties found on the reef.

Great Barrier Reef diving aboard Sea Quest. Scuba diving tips for Plate Top on Norman Reef - where, when, who and how

Still, I usually need to double check something like the lined, above, whereas the Dot and Dash below is unmistakable (and has a memorable name).

Great Barrier Reef diving aboard Sea Quest. Scuba diving tips for Plate Top on Norman Reef - where, when, who and how

Another fish with a memorable name on this site at Plate Top is the Lined Surgeon (captured here with a six bar wrasse behind him).

Great Barrier Reef diving aboard Sea Quest. Scuba diving tips for Turtle Bay on Norman Reef - where, when, who and how

Finally fish, identifiable by a distinct feature: in this case the unicornfish’s horn.  Look very carefully at the photo and you’ll see a short stubbie horn. This one is a blue spine.  (Note that you can open all photos on this site by right-clicking and saving, or opening in a new tab; then you can zoom in).

Great Barrier Reef diving aboard Sea Quest. Scuba diving tips for Turtle Bay on Norman Reef - where, when, who and how

On top of the coral is a fish both easy to photograph and identify: the hawkfish lies still looking about for a passing nibble.  Look around whilst you’re doing the safety stop.

Great Barrier Reef diving aboard Sea Quest. Scuba diving tips for Plate Top on Norman Reef - where, when, who and how

As you return to the boat, you’ll often find a couple of curious batfish just hanging around.

Great Barrier Reef diving aboard Sea Quest. Scuba diving tips for Plate Top on Norman Reef - where, when, who and how