In the Coral Sea east of Queensland and south of the Solomons lie many plateaus of coral that rise to the surface and are capped with coral islands. They are so remote and rarely visited, and yet they are beautiful islands abundant with nesting birds and turtles.
The difference between these islands and their counterparts on the Great Barrier Reef, is that they sparkle wit greater color and contrast. The backdrop to the white plumage of the nesting birds is of green foliage, a pure white beach, and a blue lagoon of amazing clarity.
Scuba divers have voted the Coral Sea the best dive location in the world. The visibility is a standard 50 metres of better. That’s exceptional!
All these attributes draw Ben Cropp to these coral isles, in the month of November when the seas are calm, cyclones still absent, and the islands come alive with nesting birds and turtles.
All this activity draws the predators. Sharks patrol the beach, circling the bay over and over in the hope of scavenging a helpless chick. Such is the visibility that Ben can wait with underwater camera on the beach, see a shark coming 50 metres away and duck under the water and view the oncoming shark that seemingly is right there in front of him.
The green turtles mate in the coral lagoon and draw the tiger sharks in. The females are exhausted from laying at night and mating in the day, and are easy prey. The males are more alert and less likely to be eaten.
Ben and his team scuba dive these crystal waters with wonderful coral gardens, big fish, and many sharks, that go into a feeding frenzy when food is available.
Down in this silent world, its difficult to imagine that back in 1942, this area exploded in the deafening roar of the Battle of the Coral Sea, a psychological turning point in the Pacific war.
It has always been a harsh world for the island wildlife in this beautiful tropical setting. The Coral Sea spawns cyclones that devastate nesting birds. Early sailing ships struck the jagged rampart and left their bones on the coral reef.
Ben Cropp and his family explore this wonderful area in his vessel Freedom. It’s a voyage of discovery and adventure to these emerald isles in a rainbow sea.
Release Date: 21 September 2009
Certificate: E - Exempt from Certification