Friday, 25 May 2007

Reef fantasea

There's probably no definitive list of the so-called seven natural wonders of the world – one might include Niagara Falls while another credits Venezuela’s Angel Falls, for example - but if there were, surely Australia's Great Barrier Reef would appear every time.

Stretched over more than 2600 kilometres, the Reef is often referred to as the world’s largest living organism – it’s actually millions of tiny things that make up one huge thing spread out over 3000 reefs and 900 islands – and as such it is not only a phenomenal sight to see up close but the only living thing visible from outer space.

We're at the permanent pontoon on Hardy Reef, out in the open ocean about 50 minutes from the Whitsunday Islands. After we took this photo, we dropped over the side and into a completely new world where everywhere the colours of the rainbow are reflected in the tropical fish, coral and clams. A giant 1.4-metre Wrasse named Wally is a plus-sized one-fish welcoming committee, and the swirling bursts of angelfish, damselfish, blue fusiliers, parrot fish, yellow butterfly fish and clownfish (Nemo’s extended family, perhaps) are spectacular.

It's overwhelmingly beautiful, and all the more so because it's just not something you see every day.

I feel certain Annie and Molly will remember it forever.

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