Cyclone part of reef triple blow

CYCLONE Hamish was part of a triple blow to the Great Barrier Reef and scientists and eco-tourism operators are yet to fully estimate the damage to Australia's biggest tourist attraction.

Heavy rains up north, increasing sea temperatures and then the cyclonic conditions were feared to have done irreparable damage to the reef, particularly in far north and north Queensland.

In the Town of 1770 operators who regularly visit the pristine reefs of the southern Great Barrier Reef held fears for the state of their destinations; particularly Lady Musgrave Island, Fitzroy and Llewellen reefs.

However part owner/operator of 1770 Reef Explorers Jada Cavanaugh said she hoped damage would be minimal and that natural events were far less intrusive to the reef than that inflicted by careless fishermen and boaties.

“I hope not too much damage has been done and we won't really know until we get out to Llewellen later in the week,” Ms Cavanaugh said.

GBRMPA Chairman Dr Russell Reichelt said a summer of extreme weather brought a triple whammy of pressures to the reef.

“Historically the reef has been resilient to events like this, but it is rare, possibly unprecedented to have such events in such a short period of time,” he said.

Lady Musgrave Tours skipper Jeff Wilson said he had seen some damage to the reef at Lady Musgrave but the region had got off with relatively little damage.

“There was a bit of rubble on top of the top of the reef and it was a bit murky on Saturday, but by Sunday it (water clarity) had cleared up quite a bit,” Mr Wilson said.

“I think it could have been a lot worse considering there were 50+ knot winds for over two days out there.”

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