These Great Barrier Reef pictures, in the most luxurious of silks, come to life as they move with the wearer.
Across the vast reaches of the Great Barrier Reef, every year, before the Wet season, various types of coral release their eggs and sperm to create new polyps, which are carried by ocean currents to create colonies of coral 'gardens' or to add to existing reefs.
How do coral polyps decide to engage in this frantic activity, all much at the same time? The full moon is involved, the activity usually happening a few days after that event, at night, the same species of coral spawning, spontaneously, across many square kilometres of ocean and reef.
Water temperature is also an indicator but I have no idea what the actual trigger may be. Do you know? This government website may have the answers,
The whole ocean seems to be moving with bright flashes of bio-luminescence as a myriad of little blobs of orange or pink coral polyps plop to the surface, a strange sulphurous smell pervading the atmosphere. The water seems thick and sticky, fish also getting into the spirit of this annual event, emerging from caves in the coral and excitedly zipping about.
Although it was full moon, the ocean was dark, but she headed for the flashing lighthouse on the island.
Me? I stayed in the boat!
If you are fortunate enough to witness this amazing display you will never forget it. My own experience was from a dinghy in the lagoon at Low Isles, an hour’s sail from Port Douglas in North Queensland. Some of my artist friends, who were on the island to learn skills as volunteer rangers and develop artworks about the island, swam back to shore through the ‘soup’, waterproof torches illuminating a memorable experience. Every movement, as they swam, or as we trailed our hands in the water, produced a magical, celebratory phosphorescence. No wonder the fish were excited!
Would you like to see how I adapted the collage painting, above, to make scarves? One click and you're there!
James Cook University in Cairns has an on-going programme of studies of corals of the Great Barrier Reef.
If you would like to see what scientists in other parts of the world are doing to try to re-generate coral reefs destroyed by human activity, watch this inspiring TED talk.