Jose is one of our education officers at the Reef Authority. For him, one of the most important parts of his job is having the opportunity to share the incredible stories of the Reef and help others to understand the complexity and beauty of what they are looking at. As a father of two, being able to share his passion for the Reef with the younger generations is a dream come true. After falling in love with the beautiful corals of the Reef, he hopes that together we can protect it so that others can have similar experiences.
Tell us about an experience that you have had on the Reef that has stuck with you.
I was out on John Brewer Reef out of Townsville in 2019. It was just after the major bleaching event. I was there with a group of friends and was feeling a bit down because I was expecting to see a really badly impacted reef. There was coral cover everywhere – impacted but not dead. I came back out to the same spot a few years later and it was still beautiful with incredible coral coverage and colours. There were some natural stressors and some broken corals but overall it was just natural in this moment – you could hardly tell it was under such pressure just a few years earlier. I think this really demonstrates the strength and resilience of the Reef, if we can give it a chance to recover.
What do you love the most about the Reef?
There comes a time, when you are working in this industry where you choose to be either a fish or a coral person. I ended up turning into a coral fanatic, working with them in aquariums and in research. Corals are such complex creatures. It is amazing how their ability to thrive is so dependent on the harmony the water chemistry and the environment around them. When I am out teaching, I find I am mostly pointing out all the beautiful corals and those that are endemic to the region.
I'm teaching my kids to swim so that one day I can take them out and they can have some of the incredible experiences of the Reef that I have. I can't wait for the moment I can take them out and see their own reactions to this beautiful place.
What do you do day-to-day to protect the Reef?
As a proud dad, I believe it starts with my community. I love to share and have conversations with those around me and talk about the importance and the beauty of the Reef, but also the pressures that it is facing. I love discussing with those around me and sharing ideas about the different small things that we are doing.
Things like living off the land – having a veggie garden and reducing the pressures that we put on the planet by doing the little things. It’s these little things that really help.