Norman Reef, An Outer Reef Of The Great Barrier Reef
Norman reef is a destination that most of the day operators from Cairns have high on their list of preferred dive sites. This 430 Hectares reef is on the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef and is the northern most reef routinely accessed by the daily operators. Technically it is considered a planar type reef. A Planar type reef is an older reef, categorize as senile, the reef original structure has been changed over time and the lagoons that it may have formed has been filled in by sentiment and new coral growth. This type of reef has a flat top to it with large extensive gardens. While the reef is visited by over 100,000 tourist in any given year, the Great Barrier Reef Park Authority considers it one of the most pristine reef in the park.
Norman Reef Dive Sites
Divers, as well as snorkelers, find that the reef is very versatile. The Park authority has allowed one public morning and twenty-eight private moorings around the reef. The variety in the names will give you a clue as to the variety that you will see under water. Names such as: the Ski Slope- a sand bay with corals on three sides that slops from just a few meters down to over thirty meters in depth, Secret Gardens- a coral garden starting at about eight meters down to twenty meters and over a full range of soft and hard corals and one of the most divest selection of small tropical fish on the Australian coast, Turtle bay and turtle sanctuary- homes for green and hawkbill turtles endangered species, and shark mountain- well really it not a mountain of sharks but a Bommie that is shaped like a shark but you will find many gray reef sharks like to rest in this area. The dive sites that take you around the north end of the reef is a dream for experienced divers who want to see the Big fish. The north end of the reef is very close to the continental shelf. The shelf marks the edge of the geological continent of Australia, and it does it in a dramatic manner, dropping down hundreds to thousands of feet. Those fish such as sharks and tuna who prefer to live in the deep water, come to the shallower reef areas to feed from time to time. The northern edge of the reef is a direct path from the deep to shallower outer and inner reefs.
Some diver, especially macro-photographers, like the smaller things in life. Norman reef is considered one of the top dive site for Macro Photographers in the world and many consider Troppos dive site as the best site on the reef to photography. One of the leading reasons to support that claim is the wide variety of Nudibranches that are found here. A Nudibranch is a sea slug, basically a snail without a shell. Like a slug on land the Nudibranch does not move very fast. While slugs are not very favorable to look at, the Nudibranch is an explosion of color and designs. They can be as small as your thumb nail but a few species get as large as your foot. Over 3,000 different spices have been found around the world. Each one of the species with different colors and patterns. The colors are produced from the food that they eat.
Non-divers At Norman Reef
Norman reef has a mooring for a pontoon where visitors can take a look at the reef from observation deck. An even better way to see the reef and still stay dry is my watching the reef from a glass bottom boat, designed for this very special reef.
From the smallest Nudibranch to the largest sharks, Norman reef is a place to find them all. From shallow coral gardens for beginners to walls and drop offs for the advance diver, it is all here