One of nature’s wildest sexs shows hit the Great Barrier Reef last night and unabashed voyeurs turned out in droves to watch this incredibly rare event.
We missed it, but Tourism Queensland were kind enough to fill us in on how it went down, so I thought I’d share some of their amazing images.
The final leg of a massive marathon sex session ended last night as millions of boulders of egg and sperm exploded on Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef for the annual coral spawning season.
For a few days each year, a vast area off the Queensland coast becomes an underwater city of sex witnessed by a growing number of divers and scientists eager to tick this bizarre spectacle off the nature lover’s ultimate bucket list.
Marine scientists believe this year’s November 21 to 24 event was one of the best in years thanks to near perfect sea temperatures of 26 degrees Celsius and a late November full moon, which reduced tidal flow and allowed the eggs to float in calmer waters.
Two Cairns based dive operators, Tusa Dive and Quicksilver, ran special night time tours for a couple of hundred lucky divers, some flying in from all corners of the globe.
Richard Fitzpatrick, a Cairns-based Emmy award-winning underwater cinematographer was fortunate enough to be on Quicksilver’s Silverswift.
“To be in the right place at the right time is a great thing. It is literally the greatest sex show on earth,” he said.
Coral spawning requires almost perfect tides, ideal weather and top temperatures to happen. It also occurs at night while the plankton feeders are asleep.
Sheree Marris, a marine scientist also on Quicksilver’s Silverswift vessel tonight said lots of coral were starting to spawn during her dive.
“It’s like this synchronized orgasm … like fairy dust going up in the water. It was amazing (and) I feel incredibly lucky to actually see (it).”
Richard Fitzpatrick said this year’s event was near perfect.
“It’s a beautiful season this year, the water is clear, it’s warm and it’s really nice and calm so as the eggs are released out of the coral (they’re) drifting up nice and slowly, up vertically.
“Tonight we had a lot of branching and staghorn corals going (and) also we had the biggest corals on the reef, the Porites. It looks like smoke when they release the egg and sperm into water. So you’ve got these massive boulders the size of a car that are just releasing this smoke into the water. It looks amazing.”
Despite the phenomena only been known for 30 years, coral spawning is not hard to spot. There’s a slick on the surface and a pungent smell in the air. Meanwhile the fish life sit on the bottom of the reef with distended stomachs from massive protein hits.
It is like they have stuffed themselves with Tim Tams (Aussie cookies) or chocolate cupcakes.
For more information on Coral Spawning Tours go to www.silverseries.com.au and www.tusadive.com.