One of the true wonders of the world, and also the world's biggest structure that can be seen from outer space, the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef cannot be imagined unless experienced personally. Made of 2,600 different reefs, it is around 2,000 km long. It starts just south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Dating back to around 18 million years ago, this place was declared a World Heritage Area in 1981. This was primarily due to the spectacular beauty of the place and even because it supports a wide diversity of life, which includes many vulnerable or even endangered species.
The name of this reef was derived because it is an outer reef that reaches a depth of about 60 m. It is situated along the Australian continental shelf with the channel between the coastlines, and is composed of billions of coral polyps. These tiny organisms help in supporting the entire system of the reef. The polyps keep multiplying and their skeletons turn white when they are completely dead. The survival of the polyps is very important for the sustenance of the reefs. The corals need an environment that is conducive for them to survive. Various factors, such as the temperature of the water, the salinity, and even the depth of the water, count in their survival. Today, there are nearly 400 types of coral in this reef. This area is also rife with plenty of species of fish and other sea creatures.
The Great Barrier Reef supports a large diversity of life. The islands are also home to sea birds and turtles. It also records a wide range of whales, dolphins, and porpoises; sea turtles are found in around 6 species in this area. Apart from this, the salt marshes near the coast of the reef house salt-water crocodiles. A whopping 17 species of sea snakes are found close to this reef. Sting rays and sharks are known to even feed off it. With the linking of so many living organisms to this reef, it becomes mandatory that the conditions be maintained by man for the corals to survive. With such a vivid sea life it is no wonder that the colors of all the corals and life found there is beautiful and breathtaking, from the soft pinks and deep greens to bright blues and silver.
The Great Barrier Reef, therefore, is a true wonder of the world. This place often sees people thronging to explore it all the year round. Tourists from all over love to visit this place, and some even go to the extent of scuba diving to explore its depths. There are lots of places from where you can explore this reef. You can travel to the outer reef or visit the islands near the coast. Whatever you opt for, the truth is, it will still have you asking for more.
Scuba Diving at the Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef has truly captured man's imagination, and provoked one's curiosity to explore the depths of the ocean. Many have had amazing and exciting tales to relate from their diving adventures. Scuba diving proves to be one of the most exciting holiday plans for those with an adventurous streak. The smooth seas, the beautiful life beneath the waters, the mysterious underwater tunnels and caves all beckon one to shed their initial fears and dive for sheer curiosity to know a world beyond ones imagination.
Scuba divers and snorkelers at the Great Barrier Reef have had the experience of a lifetime. The dive unfolds vivid marine life like Fusiliers, Silver Bait fish, Butterfly fish, Coral Trout, Turtles, etc. The divers sometimes even end up having a rendezvous with something as dangerous as a shark. Divers need to be aware of the dangers one may face out here. There are also various other options available like boat cruises that have glass bottoms. This can prove to be another alternative, although most experts claim scuba diving to be the most appropriate option for a close encounter with this reef.
So, when you do get an opportunity to visit the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, do make a mental note to visit the depths of the ocean for an experience of a lifetime.