Around the Reef - Reef Check Australia - April 2022

September 05, 2022

Dear {{recipient.first_name_or_friend}} 

The rains continue for some but we have been able to get out and do some much needed beach clean ups in SEQ and have many more activities planned. Our GBR team have been busy surveying our sites around Magnetic Island and were happy to report that there were low levels of coral bleaching observed.

This months email includes:

  • Action of the Month: Make Someone Smile
  • News from the Field
  • Brain Food
  • Current Coral Affairs
  • Get With the Program

Make Someone Smile 

They say laughter is the best medicine, and after months and months of limited travel and exploration coupled with fires, floods, and everything in between, we felt like April seemed like a great spot to start. It is April fools that kicks off the month after all.

For this month's action of the month, we want to encourage you to make someone smile :) There are plenty of small scale pranks that you might have tried out on the 1st to varying arrays of enjoyment, and although we 100% condone the ongoing use of funny memes and dad jokes to lift the spirits of those around you, we want to encourage you to think outside the square a little, and see if you can make someone smile.. without them ever knowing who it is. There is goodness in the ability to do something for another without having to be acknowledged. We are all so quick to capture the moments rather than being present in it, so this month, let's flip that around. We don't want to see any evidence of any of the things you did to make someone else smile. You will know you did it. And who knows, maybe we will start an anonymous movement of laughter when we most need it yet.

#smilelikeyoumeanit #makethemsmile #whatwillyoudo

News from the field

Stories and updates from our teams out & about. Check out some of these regional stories on our website!

Ocean Film Festival Townsville, Cairns and Noosa

We recently had the pleasure to attend the Ocean Film Festival during their tour travelling around Australia and overseas inspiring, educating and entertaining ocean enthusiasts with independent ocean films about conservation, education, sport and so much more. These events are great opportunities for our ambassadors and surveyors to connect with other thalassophiles and spread the word about Reef Check Australia events, activities and initiatives. Thanks to Julia, Jenni, Nathan and Jules for running the Cairns and Townsville desks and Jodi and Julie for running the Noosa desk. Brisbane, you're next!

South East Queensland

Vacuuming a Beach Sucks!
By Kane James. Envirotech Vocational Officer and RCA volunteer.

The contents pluming out of Brisbane river and all the way up and down our coastlines since the recent floods is absolutely shocking! Entire pontoons of concrete combined with kilograms of polystyrene have been washing up (among many other things) on northern beaches from the Sunshine Coast all the way up to Fraser Island. Seeing such beautiful beaches contaminated with waste is an eye-opener to our contribution to pollution and environmental impact. It’s hard not to get mad, especially when alternatives exist.

Cranes, trucks, and maybe Helicopters are having to get involved to clean this up, contributing huge costs to clean up efforts everywhere. On ground however, It’s been awesome to see the community get involved to help out with the clean-up. An attempt to collect the exploded dusty array of tiny Styrofoam balls rolling across kilometres of beach is no easy feat. Volunteers and companies like Reef Check Australia and Ocean Crusaders have been stepping up and doing some amazing work (amongst so many other groups!)

After a call out to RCA volunteers, I found myself on a giant vacuum with Andy from Ocean Crusaders in an attempt to rid Perigean beach of its Styrofoam problem, whilst others hit the beach with sieves and bags and plenty of sunscreen. With the vacuum attached to the trailer of a Surf Life Saving buggy we drove up and down the high tide line sucking up as much of the devilish substance as we could. It felt amazing to play a part in restoring a local beach, however, it was hard to not let the reality of the situation hit me too deep.

It was a small role to conserve, but humanity has really got to step it up and start making some significant changes to the way we operate as a whole. Maybe this can be some motivation.

There are beach clean-ups organised by the community almost every week. If you have the time and energy to assist, please do so. Remember, you don't have to wait to join an organised clean up. Next time you go for a walk, take a bag and see what debris you can remove from your local patch.

If you want to donate to Reef Check Australia, to help them clean up our beaches, oceans and waterways, head on over to:


Clean Up Australia Day on Straddie

A group of 50 amazing humans got together for a delayed Clean Up Australia Day event on Stradbroke Island in late March. They collected around 230kgs of rubbish plus an animal hutch, but a lot of that rubbish was weightless polystyrene and lots of plastic bottles and caps. Thanks to everyone for making this day a success #Hutchinsons builders, #Straddie Brewing Co #SeaLink Stradbroke Island #Point Lookout Surf Life Saving Club #Allure Stradbroke Resort #CleanupAustraliaday #Sea Sisters of Minjerribah #SIMO

Beach Clean Up - Stumers Creek

As part of the "Great Coastal Cleanup" that is happening at the moment in SEQ, we sent a small team off to the beach north of Stumers Creek. Whilst the weight of rubbish collected was not huge, there was so many tiny plastic fragments and polystyrene balls. To make the problem worse, the polystyrene was interspersed with small bits of pumice stone. In water, both of these float, making it an arduous process to collect the polystyrene.


Beach Clean Up - Alex Heads

We also headed off to Alex Headlands to check out this area. The volume of rubbish in this area was not enormous which makes us wonder if the reported rubbish has washed back out to sea and further up the coast. Disappointingly we collected a large number of cigarette butts that had been carelessly disposed of, along with lots of small bits of plastic. And Dog Poo bags containing dog poo! We don't understand why people pick it up then leave the plastic bag on the beach!

Raffles with Your Mates Brewery

Reef Check hosted our first Charity Group raffle in partnership with the awesome Your Mates Brewery this month. We had wonderful support from the crowd enjoying live music and amazing food. Three lucky winners took home great prizes, with the lady winning the $100 gift voucher saying it was the first time she had won anything - so congratulations to all our winners and thank you so much to all those people who supported us at this event.

Great Barrier Reef

Geoffrey and Alma Bay Surveys

Low winds and a full team available meant last weekend Reef Check Australia GBR team were out surveying the coral reefs around Magnetic Island again monitoring for signs of bleaching and other impacts and biodiversity of coral, fish, and invertebrates. On Sunday our team were joined by Joan and Troy from @Geonadir who assisted with surface watch ensuring our team in the water were safe whilst also collecting above water drone imagery data to map Geoffrey Bay. Monday we then surveyed Alma Bay with the assistance of Magnetic Island residents Kaspa and Lawrence. The conditions were excellent. We recorded low levels of bleaching and were visited by turtles, coral trout, and up to 10 meters visibility allowing us to appreciate the excellent coral cover Magnetic Island has to offer.

This survey was made possible by a team of dedicated volunteers who donated their time, support from @Pleasure Divers providing equipment, Heath for providing our team accommodation and the @Townsville City Council through their Creek to Coral program.

#reefcheckaustralia #volunteertoprotect #allhandsondeck #townsvilleshines #townsvillecity #magneticisland #allthedata #citizenscience

New Partnership with Intrepid Travel to inspire domestic travellers

Reef Check Australia is ​trialing an exciting new partnership with @IntrepidTravel, the world's largest travel B Corp and the leader in responsible small group adventures, to inspire local travellers to #volunteertoprotect.

Our Great Barrier Reef Project Coordinator, Jenni Calcraft, took a team from @IntrepidTravel out to Geoffrey Bay, Magnetic Island, for a day of underwater adventures at one of our long-term reef monitoring sites.

The group snorkeled along the marked trail, visited the giant clams, admired the impressive amount of coral cover, and even explored the old Moltke shipwreck (home to many species, like the large sweetlips, batfish, tusk fish, and barramundi cod!). On this particular trip, the group even spotted a small Epaulette shark.

With this new potential partnership, we hope to inspire our travellers to become citizen scientists, contribute to monitoring the health of our reefs, and spread the word about why protecting them is so important.

Brain Food

Reviews and details on books, documentaries, and podcasts that we have come across, & wanted to share.

Cephalopods: of Australia and Sub-Antarctic Territories by Amanda Reid

This amazing identification guide contains colour photos and drawings to aid in identifying those amazing cephalopods we see when diving and snorkelling. It also includes maps showing where you are likely to observe the species. 


Current Coral Affairs

Check out some of the latest news and research about our ocean and waste reduction innovations:

Marine Park for Christmas and Cocos Islands
This is exciting news, two new marine parks will be established off Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands encompassing an area of  744,000 square kilometres providing protection for the amazing array of marine life in this area.Check out more details on ABC News.

Fish are smarter than we think

Check out this fish "driving" to get treats. 


Do you think pink, purple and blue corals are pretty - think again! Check out this video from our friends at Grumpy Turtle;Stressed Corals

Get with the Program

Here's what we've got coming up in the next few weeks, keep checking the website for more updates. 

Tuesday 12 April | Coast to Corals

This month Dr Christopher Henderson will be talking about human impacts on biodiversity. Head on over to our website to register so that you get the zoom link.

Sunday May 1 | Sundays with Your Mates

Our friends at Your Mates Brewery are running Sundays with Your Mates. Come along for some great food (who doesn't love a chicken snitty), tasty beverages, awesome local tunes and pick up a raffle ticket to win some great prizes and support Reef Check.

May 7 | Nurture Festival

A fun festival of music, creativity and activities for families and kids of all ages to connect with community organisations on the Sunshine Coast. Reef Check Australia are one of those community groups who will be there. Visit to get your tickets, which by the way are only $5.00, what a bargain.

May 27-29 | Pranafest

Once again Reef Check Australia is the Charity of Choice for this event. Head on over to to find out more and book your tickets.


If you missed any of our Coast to Coral online events, remember you can always catch-up by taking a look at our YouTube Channel here  


Thanks for reading! If you want to help our work to empower more people to protect Australian reefs, please consider making a monthly tax-deductible donation. 



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