Scuba and snorkelling enthusiasts hoping to make a dream dive into Australia’s Great Barrier Reef will be happy to know the cyclone damage to the sensitive marine ecosystem is less extensive than feared. According to marine scientists, Cyclone Yasi, which struck the Australia last month, left only a “patchy” trail of destruction. The category five storm lashed the east coast of the country with powerful winds reaching speeds of up to 285kmph. Some of the century-old coral clusters toppled over in the impact.
Dr Paul Marshall, assessment coordinator at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, said the cyclone caused serious damage to only around 13% of the reef, the remaining areas escaped largely unscathed. He said: “The good news is that the damage to these reefs has been patchy. “Cyclone Yasi tracked between the main tourism sites in Cairns and Port Douglas and we were very pleased to find that those areas are still healthy and thriving.”