Australia is known around the world for many unique features, including the Coral Gardens of the Great Barrier Reef. The clear waters provide good views of the coral that grows there, along with a wide variety of fish. Visibility ranges 50-98 ft. in most locales and the reef spans approximately 1,429 miles in length, while reaching a maximum of 40 ft. wide in some places.
The variety of terrain differences provides ample opportunities for dramatic vertical dives and driftwalls. It’s the world’s largest coral reef, larger than Italy, and it’s the only living organism that can be seen from space.
Multiple shark species congregate at the natural wonder, along with barracuda, tuna, rays, and mackerel. Those seeking more colorful specimens will find butterfly fish, coral cod, parrotfish, rabbitfish, sweetlips, and wrasse. Night divers will see lobsters, turtles and crabs. There are more than a dozen locales from which to begin underwater explorations.
As with any location, different points of access each have their share of pros and cons. Some are best suited for experienced divers, while others are better for those that are relatively new to the pursuit. The Great Barrier Reef boasts 600 different types of hard and soft coral types. The formations in some places are more spectacular and colorful than others.
The Great Barrier Reef is a natural wonder that every diver wants to visit at least once. Many divers fear the reef will be dead and essentially gone in the not so distant future due to climate change. About 30 percent of the corals in the reef have already succumbed to bleaching.
Those that want a truly unique experience can visit during a full moon in November for a night dive during coral spawning. The exact timing of the event varies, but offers a sight that few have witnessed as the corals engage in a synchronized ritual that’s been called magical.
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