Hardy Reef

by John on January 19, 2013

Every picture tells a story. Here is just one of my tales snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef.


The images that you take while traveling are treasures. Perhaps they are not perfect from a professional point of view, yet to you they are priceless memories of a moment in time that you will never forget.

My Canon Powershot D10 underwater camera has been a trusted friend on many snorkeling trips to the Great Barrier Reef. On our latest cruise to Hardy Reef in the Whitsundays, I realised it has some shortcomings.

To be fair to the camera, the king tides and time of the year did not bring about perfect conditions for good underwater photography. In fact the opposite was more to the point.

Sometimes you just have to make the most of the existing conditions. Certain situations bring about circumstances that you perhaps could normally control, such as traveling when tides are more normal and the season not so unpredictable. However, there are times when you may not have the luxury of choosing the perfect season to visit the Great Barrier Reef.

On this occasion, family members from Melbourne had Christmas holidays and came to Airlie Beach early January, the only time they could because of work commitments. We couldn’t let them depart without experiencing a least one cruise, with snorkeling on the coral reef.

While we couldn’t do anything about the tide heights, we could however look at the weather forecast a week in advance and choose a calm sunny day. Then it was just a simple matter of booking our seats with Cruise Whitsundays and we were set for a great adventure.

Honestly, we have never experienced a “bad” day on the reef. There have been times when the seas between the mainland and the reef have been rough, clouds have darkened the skies and like this latest trip, there were things in the water that equated to poor photos.

The king tides meant we were further away from the coral and fish at high tide while snorkeling and there was a swarm of jellyfish on the day. Luckily they were not the dangerous type, so were a kind of unique attraction that gave great interest to many of the snorkelers.

This is where I noticed the shortcomings of my Canon Powershot D10. It wouldn’t focus through the tiny jellyfish swarm unless it was a very large subject I was attempting to shoot.

My partners underwater setup has no such problems, easily cutting through sand, silt and swarms of thousands of jellies. Sometimes you just have to go with what you have and get memories of the day in other ways. That’s life and you have to swim with the tide so to speak.

While I didn’t get any quality images that I can use on this blog, I did get some shots of the family that are priceless memories of their first adventure to the Great Barrier Reef. I also got some fine examples that will clearly show what I am saying about the focusing abilities of the Canon D10.

(Click on any of the images below to view the larger size.)

This curious creature is called a Salp. It is made up of numerous individual members that can easily be broken apart. Salps or sea sprites have a kind of backbone which scientists say can be linked back to humans in the evolutionary tree of life.

You can see in this image the trouble that the Canon D10 had focusing through the swarm of jellyfish.

This is a jellyfish about 6 inches across that belongs to the group called Ctenophores
This is a jellyfish about 6 inches across that belongs to the group called Ctenophores, sometimes called sea gooseberries or sea walnuts.

Showing the Canon D10 before going snorkeling at Hardy Reef.

One of the better shots for the day. Huge Maori Wrasse.

Snorkeling memory of family at Hardy Reef.

This image was taken with my partners gear. Canon EOS 7D DSLR, Tokina 10-17mm fish eye lens, Ikelite underwater housing. You can see the undoubtable quality that this setup gives over the cheaper point and click Canon Powershot D10.


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