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Friday, 28 June 2013

The Great Barrier Reef

Written by Antoinette Marie
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       I have a few obsessions in life, most involve making sure I pick up the latest book by my favorite author or setting the DVR to record the latest zombie show but an obsession closer to my heart is the Great Barrier Reef. I’m the person who watches every episode containing anything and everything to do with this now fading into existence nature’s gift of art. There are unlimited sites to see in the world, many being man-made. As I’ve said before I’d love to see the Seven Wonders of the World. Yet, there is something intriguing and simply magnificent about the Reef. It is located in the Coral Sea next to Queensland, Australia.  While it’s not part of the official Wonders of the World, it is part of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. It has close to 3,000 individual reefs and over 800 islands.

       The Great Barrier Reef is made completely from nature. These tiny little organisms called coral polyps are what builds and makes up the Reef. That is only the beginning of the life that lives here. Whales, dolphins and many kinds of tortoises have made this their home along with over 1,500 different kinds of fish. Salt-water crocodiles and seahorses have also been spotted. Not only are there these species of life as well as sharks, mussels and just about anything else you can imagine, there are also birds. Many different types live on the islands surrounding the Reef. Unfortunately the crown-of-thorns starfish has established this as its home as well. The source of its food is the coral polyps and without the polyps there is no longer a Reef.

 This is not the only threat to the Reef. Between the weather climate changes, boating accidents and oil spills there is a great possibility the Reef may not be with us in later years. Of course there have been and are attempts to save this extraordinary place. One of the ways is through tourism. Another reason to travel? Absolutely. You can visit the Reef by boat or helicopter. If you want you can scuba dive into the sea to be as close as possible to sea life or snorkel on the top and peer down below; whatever you desire some of the proceeds go to saving the Reef. While I’m not here to preach about saving the world, it is nice to know that when on vacation the money you spend to see the Reef is going to its future and may even save this beautiful site. There are now even resorts that support the livelihood of the Reef.

 If you don’t want to stay at a resort or a hotel, you can take a cruise up to seven days and visit different islands while snorkeling or swimming in the waters. Really, the choice is yours how long you decide to spend in this colorful world under the sea. And when you’ve had enough for the moment, Australia is right there, waiting to be explored.


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