The Reef

As the largest living structure on the planet, the Great Barrier Reef is incredibly rich and diverse.  The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park stretches approximately 2300 km along the coast of Queensland in north-eastern Australia – this is about the same length as the west coast of the US from Vancouver to the Mexican border.

A shallow lagoon separates the coastline and the natural formation of 540 barriers consists of over 600 offshore islands that surround the reefs. It is a home to four hundred coral species of different colors: various shades of red, yellow, brown, purple, and even black. The Great Barrier Reef of Australia is a home to 1,500 species of ocean fish and 500 species of reef fish, including whale shark, the largest fish in the world. Waters around the reef are inhabited by several species of whales, dolphins and sea turtles, not to mention a great variety of shrimps, lobsters, and other small fauna. And finally, the reef provides shelter for more than 240 bird species. It is no wonder that this huge formation can be seen perfectly from the outer space.The spectacular vitality and beauty leaves a lasting impression an all who submerge themselves in her waters.

We went diving and snorkeling in 9 separate places on the reef.   The camera cannot do the coral justice, it was so colorful and varied in its make up.  It is jellyfish season here, the locals call them stingers.  The boat companies require you to wear “stinger suits” which is why we are dressed so funny.  The highlight was swimming with turtles.   The turtles are beginning to lay their eggs so there are many more than usual about.  Some just look at you and if you give them space, the swim can last 20 minutes before they dive and blend so perfectly with the dabbled water.