by B. N. Sullivan
After posting the previous article about the container ship that ran aground on Woodhouse Reef in the Tiran Straits, I decided to search our image archive for photos I had taken at Woodhouse that might show the beauty of the reef prior to the recent accident. In particular, I was looking for a 'reefscape' image, rather than a shot of an individual creature. I came across the above image of assorted soft corals on slope of the reef, photographed a number of years ago. My notes did not specify the exact location on Woodhouse, so I can't say it is the spot where the ship damaged the reef.
While browsing through our underwater photos from the four Tiran reefs, I noticed that most of the photos were from Jackson reef and Gordon reef, with fewer from Thomas reef and the fewest from Woodhouse. How could that be? A quick check of our dive logs confirmed that among the Tiran reefs, we have dived on Woodhouse least often. I also noted that most of our dives at Woodhouse were done as one-way drift dives, riding the tidal current along a face of the reef slope. That fact may account for the relatively small number of images from Woodhouse in our Red Sea photo archive. During drift dives on tidal currents, there are fewer opportunities to pause to take photos.
Maybe we need to do a return trip to the Red Sea, just to take more photos on Woodhouse reef? (Sounds like a mission!)