Breaking Patches Reef
Breaking Patches Reef dive sites stands out even in the greatness that is the Great Barrier Reef. One of the reasons it stands out is because it is different from its neighbors.
A little background information first about Breaking Patches
Breaking Patches reef is located west of Michaelmas Reef. It is just outside of the Michaelmas Cay Locality. Michaelmas Reef is a crescent shape reef and Breaking Patches sits inside the crescent. Michaelmas Cay is located on the south west portion of its reef and directly south of the Breaking Patches.
Michaelmas Reef and Hasting Reef to the north are both barrier reefs meaning that they are the first reefs facing deeper waters of the continental shelf. They in effect starts the process of calming the water.
Behind the barrier reefs are areas referred to as lagoons. We use the word lagoon to describe a small bay of calm water on a coral island and the lagoon of a Barrier reef is similar in nature, however, it can all be underwater.
The nature of the lagoon allows it to develop the type of coral and marine life that is different from the ocean side. In fact diving on a barrier reef has completely different species as you travel across the reef.
There is a type of mid-shelf reef that can develop in the protected waters of a barrier reef, is called a patch reef. The Breaking Patches Reef that we have been discussing is of that type.
Breaking Patches Reefs Make Up
To confuse thing further, The Breaking Patches Reef located by Michaelmas Cay is a fragmented reef. Breaking Patches reef can also refer to the Paradise Reef to its north and Long Bommie to its south.
In total there are seven moorings at the Breaking Patches Reef, two of them are at Paradise Reef, two at Long Bommie, and three at the main portion of Breaking Patches. While the lagoon of a barrier reef is relatively calm, the water directly behind a patch reef is even calmer.
This allows the development of a coral reef population that would be normally founded in a fringe reef, one that is close to shore and the calmest waters.
On Breaking Patches Reef, you will find over 400 types of coral, those found on barrier reefs and those found in coral gardens of fringe reefs. Large Sea fans are widely found on the reef and it is common to see turtles among the black coral trees.
As mentioned previously, there is a total of seven moorings located on the extended Breaking Patches Reef. The moorings have lower maximum group sizes compared to the other reefs in the area. These are also only visited by four companies.
The four moorings/dive sites visited by the MV Reef Encounter and her sister ships Compass Cruises and Reef Experience provide the calmest conditions and the greatest variety of both marine life and structure.
These conditions give snorkelers and beginning divers an experience that is normally not available to them. While suitable for the beginners the more advance diver will find chutes and fingers that they will find interesting.
As an all around dive destination, the dive sites of Breaking Patches is clearly a destination that should be looked forward to.