Sunday, 10 August 2008

A megalopolis for fish - The Great Barrier Reef

One of the main reasons for visiting Australia is to see the Great Barrier Reef. Larger than the Great Wall of China and the only visible living thing that can be seen from space, the Reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

We visited this place from our first Australian port of call - Cairns. From here, we jumped on a fast boat for an hour long trip to a site about 100kms from the city. As we lay on the sundeck, we spotted a puff of water which turned out to be from a humpback whale. In fact, we ended up seeing three humback whales on our way to our dive site - the first whales we`d ever seen.

All of a sudden, the water turned bright green and we could see the ocean bed. We kitted up ready for our first dive. Amy and I descended into the sea and saw the famous Reef up close. A massive coral mass, where every single inch is occupied by a living creature. A megaloplis for fish that streches 2,300kms down the coast of Australia. Along with this coral reef, we saw hundreds of clownfish (Nemos), stingrays and giant clams. We also spotted a turtle, although sadly only from the boat.

We went on to another dive site where we snorkelled. As the tide went out, the tips of the coral from the reef stuck out from the sea and just below the surface, the reef was teeming with colourful, smiling parrotfish, munching away at the reef (see above!).

One of the unfortunate things about travelling is that you become quite hard to impress. We agreed that there are prettier and more diverse dive sites around, but for pure scale, you cannot beat the Great Barrier Reef.

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