In July 2002 I was helping teach an underwater photography course for students at James Cook University. Day trips to the outer barrier were organised from Port Douglas. On the reef I mostly saw dead coral smothered with rafts of brown algae, and struggled to find any living invertebrates for the students to photograph. It was depressing.
However, in October 2007 I made a live-aboard cruise up the reef, and a day trip out of Cairns, which cheered me up enormously. All along the outer reef there were dramatic signs of coral regeneration. There were reefs covered with small plate corals of various species, and other corals, which looked, from my experience in Papua New Guinea, to be of the order of 1-3 years growth. Here are some of the photographs I took.