Marine biologist and underwater photographer Johnny Gaskell recently completed a year-long epic journey exploring the Great Barrier Reef in search of the truth on its current condition.
Determined to ascertain the true state of the reef, Gaskell explored random sites every 124 miles (200 km) from Lady Elliot Island at its southern tip to the far northern reefs of Raine Island, traveling 1125 miles (1810 km) along almost the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef.
“The idea of this mission came about when there was a lot of talk around the reef being dead, or almost dead, or half dead, or fine after the 2016/2017 bleaching events,” said Gaskell.
“It was hard to know what to believe with so many conflicting messages. I couldn’t find anyone who could personally speak for all regions of the Great Barrier Reef, so I figured I best just go have a look for myself.
The purpose of this expedition was to get in the water with no set agenda other than to explore and take in as much of the incredible beauty of the Great Barrier Reef as possible. And then film the highlights to inspire others to want to protect what we still have.”
Gaskell confirmed that while the Great Barrier Reef is certainly still vibrant and alive, it is showing signs of stress.
“The key message is clear,” he says. “We have a chance right now to try and protect what we have left, which is still amazing. If we put it off, tomorrow the bar will continue shift and we may soon be talking about protecting a lesser Great Barrier Reef than we have today.”
Gaskell is known for his work in discovering ‘blue holes’ in the Great Barrier Reef, many of which he located by Google Maps and had never been explored before his expeditions.
All images courtesy of Johnny Gaskell