One of the world’s most famous scuba diving dive sites is the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The Great Barrier Reef, off the east coast of Australia is the only living organic collective on earth visible from outer space. The other is a man made structure, The Great Wall of China.

This reef is regarded as one of the wonders of the world and was declared as a World Heritage in 1981. It is the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem. Being so huge, magnificent dive spots and beautiful marine life and sceneries abound.

The Great Barrier is more than 300,000 sq km in size and consists of more than 3000 reefs. Deciding where to dive in this huge diving destination can be a gigantic headache. Then again, that is a happy problem because of the many wonderful choices you have.

One of the greatest dangers to the reef, especially to the corals is the Crown of Thorns starfish. This starfish eat corals and have ravenous appetites. Vast stretches of underwater life had on many occasions been destroyed by the Crown of Thorns starfish. Do not try to save the reef by cutting up the starfish. It will not die that way, instead it multiplies just like viruses splitting themselves up to multiply their numbers.

Wreck diving is a favorite scuba diving activity. Amongst the many wrecks are Captain James Cook’s ship “Endeavour”. Another famous wreck is that of the HMS Pandora, which met its fate in 1791. There are about 30 shipwreck sites, most of them are opened to wreck divers.

More than 2 million people visit the reef every year spending about a billion US dollars collectively making tourism as the main pillar of the eastern Australia economy. Since tourism dollar is very important, it is vital for the Australian economy to protect the reef from destruction hence it is protected in many ways. As a form of protection, fishing is restricted in some areas and animals such as dolphins, whales, dugong (a seal look alike animal sometimes mistaken for mermaids) are protected.

For the more adventurous divers, there are dives to view shark feedings, especially the ferocious man eater, The Great White Shark. Divers are put into the water in steel cages to view these man eating sharks closed up. For non divers, there are island hopping cruises as well as whale watching cruises to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef.

Chris Chew