See the world's biggest orgasm
Rare and spectacular sight: A Japanese tourist was one of the lucky ones to witness a truly spectacular coral spawning display at Saxon Reef off Cairns this week. Picture: STUART IRELAND
THE world's biggest orgasm is about to begin near Cairns.
Coral spawning, one of nature's most spectacular sights, takes place on the Great Barrier Reef this weekend.
The phenomenon was first observed on the Great Barrier Reef in the mid 1980s, and involves corals releasing their eggs and sperm en masse into the water column for fertilisation.
It is cheekily referred to by some scientists as "the world's biggest orgasm".
Coral spawning is triggered by rising water temperature which stimulates the maturation of eggs and sperm inside adult coral, the lunar cycle and the diurnal cycle.
Inshore reefs usually start spawning one to six nights after the first full moon in October, while outer reef areas spawn during November and December.
This year, coral spawning on the Reef is expected to occur from tonight until Sunday night.
Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators executive director Col McKenzie describe the phenomenon as awe-inspiring.
"I've been out there when it's been spawning and it's just been absolutely awe-inspiring," he said.
"You just can't believe there is that much activity in the water.
"All the worms go off and all the corals go off and there is just so much happening. It is fantastic and at other times it's just ho hum.
"It should be absolutely spectacular - an almost explosion of eggs and sperm released into the water."
The best areas to visit to witness the spectacle are expected to be Thetford, Milne and Flynn reefs.
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