All my childhood, one thing that could keep me glued with the TV apart from the Cartoon Network, was the Discovery Channel. I was amazed to see the underwater world – so full of colours, textures, and patterns. The ocean might look so uniform from the top but underneath it lies the most vibrant and picturesque part of the world. To experience the beauty of nature in the sea world, you don’t have to be an experienced swimmer or diver. Despite being a non-swimmer I have done snorkeling and scuba diving at the Andaman, the only place in India to experience the majestic marine life. When I finished my diving in the Neil Islands it was like waking up from a fabulous dream. I was speechless with the beauty of the corals and the tiny little fishes – to my surprise, Andaman does not feature in the list of the best places in the world to experience marine life. There are places where the experience is even more heavenly.
Here is a list of places where you can experience the marine life at its best.
1. Great Barrier Reef:
The list should not start with anything but the Great Barrier Reef the longest and the largest living coral organism in the world. The entire length of the coast of the Queensland province of Australia is protected by the reef and is the only coral formation in the world visible from the space. The 2300 kilometers (Almost the entire width of India, from Gujarat to Arunachal) of coral reef has uncountable places from where you can experience the natural wonder of coral formation and marine life.
Within half an hour’s ferry ride from the Townsville, the Magnetic Island is one of those places where you can access the reef and get extremely close to the marine world. The most thrilling experience of the reef should come in Cairns, from where you can board a live boat which will take you for a three-day scuba and snorkeling trip covering 16 amazing diving spots. The biggest catch of the trip is that you can be part of two-night dives – yes its true – and experience the beauty of night under the ocean world. Heron Island and Hayman Island are two magnificently beautiful places to experience the marine heaven and if you are lucky enough you may experience the turtles lay & hatch.
2. Galapagos Islands
The Volcanic Islands of the Galapagos look like nothing but the moon on earth. There is hardly any vegetation and human interference is close to none. The Galapagos has a unique biodiversity and the species found here are seen nowhere in the world. To experience the most amazing marine ecosystem in the world, Galapagos is the ideal location. Galapagos is one of those blessed places where three different ocean currents converge and that has created and un-worldly marine life here. Unlike the Great Barrier Reef, Galapagos does not have many corals but the hammerhead shark, sea lion, iguanas, rays & turtles create a totally unique experience.
3. Raja Ampat:
Located in the heart of the Coral Triangle of the world, Raja Ampat Island is surely a paradise under the water. Over 75% of the total known coral species are found there and not only that, a whopping 1000 fish species which include sharks, manta rays, sea turtles are all there to welcome you. While snorkeling at the Raja Ampat islands, the most enriched marine aquarium in the world, you have the chance of seeing the widest collection of marine species all in your arm’s length. Raja Ampat is surely one of the best places to explore the marine life around the world.
4. Komodo Island:
Komodo, a pristine island in Indonesia, is another superb place to get close to the amazing world under the water. Famous of the largest lizard in the world, the Komodo dragon, the island has one of the best coral formations in the world. Its surprising natural beauty has rightly placed it on the list of new 7 wonders in the world. Not only the amazing patterns of the dead corals or the beautiful playfulness of the living ones, the herd of reef fishes, sharks and manta rays, everything is sure to give you an out of the world experience.
5. Sea of Cortez or Gulf of California:
The Gulf of California on the west coast of Mexico is a narrow gulf of the Pacific and is home to some of the world’s largest mammals which include the Blue Whale. Sea of Cortez has two diverse climates and that has enriched the marine world so much that the largest collection of sea mammals takes place here. As many as 32 different types of marine mammals are resident of this proud gulf and close to a thousand fish species live here. To understand and experience the marine world full of fishes, sharks & whales, Sea of Cortez is the ideal place.
6. Beqa Island, Fiji:
Beqa Island, famous for the firewalkers has another magnificent side and that is its marine world. Having shallow water of moderate temperature, Beqa is home to a unique coral reef formation. Beqa island is world famous for chances of encountering a shark while snorkeling. The colourful corals, fishes and sharks make Beqa an undoubted entry to the list of best places to explore marine life around the world.