Doug Cook’s Website for Scuba Diving Adventures

and Underwater Photography





The Great Barrier Reef is one of the richest, most complex and diverse ecosystems in the world. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park begins at the tip of Cape York in Queensland and extends south past Gladstone and Heron Island. The area stretches more than 2300km along the north-east coast of Australia.  I had the opportunity to dive there in 1995 (week long liveaboard off Cairns) after a BHP conference in Melbourne.  Having extensive diving experience in the Caribbean, I found the sights here beyond imagination with reefs unspoiled (every inch thriving and alive) and extremely diverse and colorful. The coral diversity and health surpassed anything I have seen since in the Red Sea!!    I know that the 1998 El Nino coral bleaching took its toll but can only hope that the virgin reefs I visited recover to their unspoiled grandeur.   The night sky so far from city lights and being in the southern hemisphere blew me away!  I saw the Southern Cross and the Clouds of Magellan for the first time in my life.  The night sky was so awesome that everyone abandoned their bunks and slept on deck.  We were rocked to sleep by very gentle waves…



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Cairns_1995_Video1_Arrival_1st_dives  (95 mb)


Cairns_1995_Video2 Diversity Beyond Compare  (88 mb)


Cairns_1995_Video3 Divemaster Shows his Stuff  (66 mb)

Cairns_1995_Video4_The Captain Shows us a Wonderland  (81 mb)


Cairns_1995_Video5 Harry the Pet 4 Foot  Humphead Wrasse  (17 mb)


I last had the opportunity to visit the Great Barrier Reef again in 2006 on a geology field trip studying modern carbonate depositional systems (coral reefs).  I took the family with me on this 2 week trip to Port Douglas, Heron Island, and One Tree Island experiencing unique land and ocean habitats. They are almost beyond description.  The following photos and videos are what I brought back but don’t begin to really capture the natural wonders we experienced!

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Port_Douglas_Arrival_Haba_Diving  (68 mb Video)

Daintree Rain Forest and Cape Tribulation  (28 mb Video)

Port_Douglas_Nature Preserve (41 mb Video )


Heron Island is a remote nature preserve and resort.  In November, the action is nesting Noddy Terns, Shearwaters or Mutton Birds, and Sea turtles.  In the shallows you can see hundreds of sharks and eagle rays mingling among the snorkelers.

HERON ISLAND (75 mb Video )


One Tree Island (about 30 km from Heron Island) is a remote nature preserve with a small group of resident research scientists.


ONE TREE ISLAND  (84 mb Video )