With so much pomp and circumstance surrounding the greatest wonders of the world on the earth’s surface, somehow, people tend to forget that there are also underwater wonders that are not that easily seen. Underwater wonders are unfortunately, usually restricted to those who can snorkel or dive, whilst the rest of us are restricted to viewing from capsules, glass bottom boats or even just in photographs. Underwater wonders are examples of Mother Nature’s finest offerings and sometimes, with a shipwreck, man gives a hand too. Want to be inspired to learn to dive or snorkel? Here are 8 Underwater Wonders:
Tucked away in the heart of the Pacific Ocean just off the western coast of Ecuador, you will find the collection the Galapagos Islands. Popping up all over the place, the islands are actually fascinating shoots of lava that have come up from the ocean floor. An underwater haven for some of the most incredible marine life, the islands are touted as one of the most amazing ecological finds on the planet. As if the land animals are not incredible enough (after all they inspired Darwin), the fascinating world continues into the seas around the islands. A haven for whales, sharks, turtles and a host of weird and wonderful fish, the Galapagos regularly feature high on the ‘best dive’ lists.
Spreading out over more than 169,000 square miles under the sea, the coral reefs of the Red Sea is one of the most wonderful underwater spectacles. The stunningly colourful coral banks are home to thousands of marine creatures, making for the most varied marine ecosystem not seen anywhere else in the world. Touted as the ocean’s ‘Garden of Eden’, this reef can definitely be classified as one of the most incredible underwater wonders.
Palau is a picturesque island paradise that is situated around 500 miles from The Philippines. It is home to one of the most incredible coral reefs in an underwater paradise of sensational ocean delights. With an abundance of over 200 different species of gorgeous soft corals, and over 350 varieties of hard corals, all in a vivid collection of spectacular colors, the Palau reefs are home to more than 1,300 stunning varieties of reef fish.
Perhaps one would think that Russia would be an unlikely candidate for an underwater wonder, but really Mother Nature did not leave any corner of the world out when she worked her magic. Lake Baikal is the massive fresh water lake found in chilly Siberia, and has an impressive resume. The Lake has more than 20% of the entire world’s surface of fresh water all to itself, and is an ancient 25 million years old. It is the oldest and deepest lake on Earth. With an abundance of sub-aquatic treasures, explorers will have to take their time as the depth of almost 2500 feet, it will take some time to see everything.
There are only a few things that can be seen from the glory of outer space, one of them is the Great Wall of China, the other is the majestic Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Australia. The biggest coral reef structure in the entire world, it boasts more than 900 separate small islands and over 2900 single coral reefs, and the reef itself covers more than 1600 miles of coral networks. Home to a diverse and endangered marine life, the Great Barrier Reef is a major tourist attraction. The income generating tourism industry is ploughed back into the protection and preservation of the reef, making sure this underwater beauty stays exactly the same as it is for many generations still to come.
Right at the bottom of the deepest part of both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, scientists have found the most fascinating hypothermal vents. These are crevices that are found along the bottom of the ocean floor where water boils as it is heated by the lava beneath the Earth’s crust. The huge mineral content that comes from the crust dissolves and deposits around the vents, building up to form a strange chimney from the ocean floor. Most certainly, an underwater wonder to behold.
Stretching all the way from Cancun to Honduras, for more than a whopping 560 miles, the Belize Barrier Reef is part of an even bigger coral reef network, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. Unbelievably, this is the second biggest reef system known to man and less than only 10% of the spectacular coral network has been explored, discovered and documented. The Belize Barrier Reef is definitely one of those rare underwater wonders that are just waiting for intrepid explorers to document it.
For some divers, it is not the gorgeous coral reefs that attract them but shipwrecks. Some would say the ultimate underwater wonder would be the Titanic but that is not reachable by scuba divers, so the next best thing is the SS President Coolidge. This was a luxury liner that was converted into a troop ship for WWII and was sunk off the coast of the beautiful island of Vanuatu in the South Pacific. The ship remains almost whole and still contains a mass of its cargo which includes a 10 wheeled GM truck.
These are just 8 Underwater Wonders of the world. If you are an avid diver or snorkeling enthusiast, you will have a much larger selection of special oceanic wonders that you will deem fit for this list of underwater paradises. Are you a diver? Which favorite depths have you plunged into?
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