I help with Melbourne Perl Mongers.
I spend an awful lot of time talking about Perl, and have had my picture in the Australian newspapers with a camel. That's rather scary.
General thoughts while diving off Bundaberg
The diving here is great. The water is warm, we've got a huge variation in sites, and visibility is good. We've seen white-tipped reef sharks, huge wrass, an octopus, a ray that's wider than my desk, and more sea turtles than I can count. Even the dull dives have been exceptional.
However, looking at all this beauty also makes me aware of the damage that divers are causing to the reef itself. Most divers are quite environmentally aware, and have a 'look but don't touch' attitude. However, I've also seen plenty of divers that have poor buoyancy control and awareness. They go crashing into the bottom, they knock things when turn, and if they're distracted they'll drift into coral and other obstacles. I've been determined to avoid doing the same, making a concerted effort to stay aware of my buoyancy and situation at all times, but in in strong currents or crowded situations I find that mistakes still happen, so I'm certainly not blameless.
However, none of this damage compares to that done by the boat itself. While the skipper tries very hard to drop anchor on sand or rock, it's not always easy to tell by the sonar, and the anchor will naturally drag along the floor until it sticks. Sometimes it's quite clear that the anchor has caused significant damage, or will cause damage when it is lifted.
In the Whitsunday Islands (further north, and more protected) this problem has been solved by the deployment of permanent anchoring buoys. Ships are not permitted to drop anchor, instead they must attach to a buoy instead. If no buoy is available, then the ship is required to wait until one is, or move on. I'd love to see a similar policy in place for the rest of the Great Barrier Reef region.