Coral is the same animal group as jellyfish. Their skeletons form beautiful coral reefs found in warm, tropical and semitropical seas. In Australia, the most famous attraction in Queensland is the world’s biggest coral formation, the Great Barrier Reef. In the South Pacific, Fiji Island‘s coral coast has the second-biggest reef, a fringing coral reef off Viti Levu. Mexico has the world’s second biggest barrier reef – the Meso American Reef – beginning at Yucatán.
Image: USFWS Pacific
The Great Barrier Reef covers 1800 miles along the Australian coastline. Scientists believe it’s approximately 30,000,000 years old. One of the bases for best exploration is Heron Island.
If you go scuba diving here you are likely to come across dangerous sea life such as man-eating sharks. However, there are lots of spots where diving and swimming in beautiful paradise underwater gardens is safe.
At Heron Island it’s best to discover the magnificent coral reef in a glass-bottom boat. You will have a thrilling experience looking at the many colored exquisite formations. There are not only red, white and pink corals, but also green, lavender and blue. Combined with the marine life, such as tropical fish, molluscs, sponges, dolphins and turtles, a breathtaking sight is presented.
Coral reefs in Mexico – the Earth’s most ancient
The Meso American Reef, with over 100 species of soft and hard coral, is nearly 750 miles of coral gardens with barrier, fringing reefs and atolls. The Caribbean waters are warm and clear and draw divers and snorkelers to see the wonderful corals and marine life.
At Cancun, the Isla Mujeres has a great lagoon which is a protected marine park. The Cave of the Sleeping Sharks is nearby where you get to see passive sharks. The most colorful Cozumel reef is Cedar Pass, a good place for divers with swim-throughs and marine life such as turtles, barracuda and eels. Another veritable coral garden, with awe-inspiring colors, at Cozumel is the Palancar Reef, with its caves and swim-throughs.
Fiji is known as the capital of soft coral. The best coral reef is the Namena Marine Reserve. Jean Michel Cousteau advocated this reef as a diverse and beautiful diving experience. With 400 corals, this reef is home to diverse marine life including dolphins and various whales. Namena’s two best sights and diving sites are a wall known as Grand Central Station and pinnacles called the Chimneys.
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