I could not come to Australia and not discover the Great Barrier Reef, so I decided to take a trip one weekend to explore one of the wonders of the world. I took a sailing trip through the reef for 3 days and snorkeled with all the sea animals, and got to see parts of this massive reef.
Some fun facts I learned about the reef while sailing:
- The reef is composed of living coral that is constantly growing on top of dead coral dating back to about 20 million years
- A lot of the reef has been destroyed due to pollution and climate changes
- Environmentalists are trying to recover parts of the reef by replanting and enabling regrowth
- The Great Barrier Reef is half the size of Texas
- It stretches over 900 islands
- It is the largest living thing on Earth and can be seen from outer space
- It is an extremely large and diverse ecosystem
I got to discover a lot of different organisms while snorkeling in different parts of the reef. One of my favorite moments was being able to swim with a giant sea turtle all around parts of the reef. Here are some photos I was able to capture underwater:
Overall, exploring the reef and being able to see how truly amazing the ecosystem is was really cool. For it to be able to continue to regrow and develop with all the damages being done to the reef and the environment was amazing. Thankfully, a lot of the tours and environmentalists try to conserve the ecosystem. Most eliminate potential hazards and pollution while taking tourists out. There are also areas they try to keep untouched from tourism. People are constantly monitoring and watching the reef to ensure this natural wonder does not vanish.
The captain of my sailing boat was explaining that the employees of the tour company go out to sea everyday to the parts of the reefs we would be exploring. They go to see what wildlife is around and to scuba dive to see which parts of the reef need help or regrowth. At one snorkel point, each large animal that was always seen there had a name, and each employee could spot that animal from the boat. The blue big lipped fish in the images was named George. He was the friendliest fish, but you could not touch him because he has an outer layer that is gel-like and protects him from predators. But he would come super close to take photos and was very friendly.