Rebels to the Coral Reef Cause (Part 1)

From Jennifer Marohasy’s Blog

By Jennifer Marohasy

Everybody claims to care about the Great Barrier Reef, but very few people take the time to actually visit it.  The reports of mass coral bleaching this past summer are mostly from aerial surveys flown at 150 metres altitude in aeroplanes and helicopters. I have repeatedly argued that you can’t see very much from that distance.

The Institute of Public Affairs have a new program that is all about getting young people out to see the Great Barrier Reef – not from an aeroplane but we will be getting into and under the water.  The program kicks off next week and I am so excited to be one of the guides.

The expedition will begin in Cairns with a visit to Moore Reef.  Then we will head down the coast – by bus not boat including with some farm visits along the way – ending up in Townsville.  From there will head south to Ayr and out to Stanley Reef.

Stanley Reef was mentioned back in March, including by the Climate Council, as one of the worst bleached reefs – along with John Brewer Reef it was mentioned as being at the centre of an unprecedented mass coral bleaching.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) ‘Reef Snapshot: Summer 2021-22’ identified Stanley Reef as having suffered extreme bleaching with more than 90 percent of the corals at this reef bleached in March 2022.

Stanley Reef (in the centre of my pink lasso) has been categorised as severely bleached.  This designation is based on an aerial survey undertaken by GBRMPA and AIMS and also following an in-water survey undertaken by Selina Ward and Harriet Spark sponsored by the Climate Council in March 2022.

It will be with some trepidation that I visit Stanley Reef next week.

Will the corals identified in the two survey as bleached now be dead?

Will the bleached corals now be covered in dark green algae?

When we really care about something we should want to know everything about it.  We should be prepared to show-up when things are going well, when they are turning bad, and also when the corals are at their most distressed – even dead.

It could be that all the corals have recovered.

But we won’t know if we don’t visit.  To really know the health of the corals it is necessary to get in and under-the-water.  That’s what we will be doing next week.  We won’t be flying over. We will be in the water – weather permitting.

You can watch this adventure unfold over the coming weeks on the Reef Rebels Facebook page and Instagram page.

The late Rob McCullough was a rebel to the cause of getting out and visiting the Great Barrier Reef, rather than having an armchair opinion.

I will be remembering the late Rob McCullough.

Whatever happened, as the skipper, he always made sure we were safe.  Rob was also a rebel in that he disregarded the consensus view that the entire Great Barrier Reef was doomed because of climate change.   He cared about the evidence, and the state of individual reefs that he would explain cycled through different stages from death to rejuvenation.


The feature image (top) of all the fishes was taken at a dive site known as the Snake Pit by Julia when we dived there in January 2020.

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July 11, 2022 6:44 pm

It will be with some trepidation that I visit Stanley Reef next week.

That sounds like the rough equivalent of having your boss, and his boss, over for dinner and trying a recipe you’ve never tried before. Something like that.

July 11, 2022 7:35 pm

Looking forward to hear about the health of the reef

July 11, 2022 8:07 pm

Is it possible to petition an official name change for Stanley Reef?

I’m thinking that to acknowledge the efforts of the GBRMPA, Climate Council, James Cook University et al, Perfidy Reef would be a more appropriate appellation –

Perfidy definition –
deliberate breach of faith or trust; faithlessness; treachery

Barry James
July 11, 2022 8:52 pm

It should be noted that the Climate Council is Flim Flannery’s outfit, well known here in Oz as the most discredited climate alarmists ever to publish climate porn. Flannery’s failed predictions of climate doom are legendary, at a cost to taxpayers of billions of dollars. I have no doubt at all that Jen’s visit to Stanley Reef will find it to be just as pristine as the nearby John Brewer reef which had been similarly assessed by AIMS and the GBRMPA.

Reply to  Barry James
July 11, 2022 10:12 pm

Flim Flannery (love that designation of him) is a paleontologist, not a climate scientist. Mind you, he did have the guts some years back to point out that Australia’s megafauna ceased to exist at the same time as Australia’s indigenous people arrived. I bet he would not have the temerity to point out that uncomfortable fact now because we all know that the indigenous people cared wonderfully for the land and would never have done it or any of the creatures on it any harm!

Reply to  Quilter52
July 11, 2022 10:22 pm

Tom Foolery

July 11, 2022 9:10 pm

Does Jennifer have a GoFundMe or equivalent for some $ support in this endeavour?
I would be willing to throw in a few US BenFranklins to help this.

Mark Arundell
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
July 14, 2022 9:14 pm

I have in the past donated to a specific fund raising effort by Jennifer, and enjoy the enthusiasm and clarity of her updates (I subscribe to her blog). I had a look at her website and couldn’t find a general web-based funding page. Maybe drop her a line – a quick search will find her email address.

July 11, 2022 10:27 pm

2,170.46 Kilometres by road.

Cape York Northern Queensland to Gladstone Queensland

Reply to  Dennis
July 12, 2022 2:47 pm


And the Reef itself is ~ 2,300 kms long, stretching from Lady Elliot Island in the south to the Torres Strait in the north.

I flew the whole length of it at around 18,000 ft one calm, fine clear day back in the 70s going from Brisbane to Port Moresby.

I count that experience as a sacrament.
(that’s about as religious as I get)

Ben Vorlich
July 12, 2022 2:52 am

Hopefully the young people will find that it’s another case of Mark Twain’s demise. They should come away with a least an understanding of Nullius in verba is so important in everything in life

Tom Abbott
July 12, 2022 4:11 am

We hear these dire predictions about the coral reefs every year, and every year the reefs do just fine.

Coral reef bleaching is a natural phenomenon which climate alarmists are abusing and distorting to promote their anti-CO2 narrative.

Coral reefs will be around long after this set of climate alarmists are long gone.

Last edited 2 months ago by Tom Abbott
Carl Castle
July 12, 2022 12:30 pm

Sea level of ocean at 20,000 years bce during peak ice formation on land was 120 meters below current level so all of current GBR did not exist in current location. Corals have wonderful ability to adapt to local condition changes.

Reply to  Carl Castle
July 12, 2022 2:49 pm

Witness the self-resurrection of Bikini Atoll lagoon coral reefs in just 60 years.

July 12, 2022 9:54 pm

Spent a week on a dive boat out of Cairns in 2005. Fabulous!

The minute you hit the water you are surrounded by literally millions of small, colorful fish.

While there, raft the Tully River – wild, wet and WARM.
Tully_Rafting_Cairns_2_Medium.jpg (850×424) (

For a lot more adventure, try the Kicking Horse River at Golden BC in spring flood. Expect to be scared, wet and COLD. Buy life insurance.
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Last edited 2 months ago by Allan MacRae
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