Let us dive into the Heritage Landmark of Australia – The Great Barrier Reef
Ever wondered how old is the largest found coral reef system on earth? Interestingly, The Great Barrier Reef is among one of those natural wonders on earth observable from outer space. The reef is home to countless varieties of species. It is said that almost 10% of the planet’s fish colonies live in this coral reef. A long-standing fact about the Great Barrier Reef is that the formers of this reef ‘corals’ now are 20 million years old. But unfortunately, this reef experience continuous threats like climatic change, rising sea level, pollution, and most effectively the contaminated waste, which may lead this reef to death.
1. Great Barrier Reef and its Vast Boundaries
The natural wonders embrace the underwater ecosystem. Besides leisure diving opportunities, coral reefs play an eminent role in protecting marine life. The Great Barrier Reef made it to the list of world heritage in 1981. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system extending from the tip of Cape York to Bundaberg south, covering almost 2,300 km. It is one of the natural wonders of sheltering 1,500 fish species, abundant marine life, and over 200 kinds of birds. This reef displays the finest example of marine life conservation in the world.
Great Barrier Reef originated in the base of the mountains, the Great Dividing Range. When the water level rose, the corals filled the mountains, leaving behind small islands. All these reefs including this great one have their core origin by a single coral polyp when it rests on the rocks and sticks to the rock for its lifetime. Polyp lives around the bony structure, it secretes, providing a home to many diverse organisms. The beauty of Corals is because of the algae that stick with it, providing food and color.
Distinct types of coral started settling in the same place. It began fighting for the resources, and a seasoned coral reef established. Many diverse marine animals and plants became drawn to the coral reef, one of the richest marine habitats known to man.
2. Discovery of Great Barrier Reef
Let us turn back the clock to the 70s when a British naval officer, Captain Cook and his colleagues were on a sail to discover the world on the eastern coast of the continent. He came across some shoals neighbouring the Keppel Island but continued his voyage. Tragically their ship, Endeavor got stranded in the reefs, giving captain and his crews a rough patch. The crew after a long hard work freed their ship by tossing heaps of loads from the ship. They quickly fixed the wrecked ship to continue their quest of the southern continent.
They sent captain Cook and his crew members from England on a particular scientific mission. Along with that, they sealed orders by the navy to search for a continent that lies somewhere in the south. Unluckily or luckily, instead of discovering the continent, they stumbled upon the Great Barrier Reef system and the history of Australia changed from then onwards.
3. Where Did the Title Come From?
Cook after fixing Endeavor tried to continue his journey but became trapped by the reefs. He and his crew member found the break in the reefs after receiving an eye from a high mountain. In his honor, they called it the cook’s passage. Many recorded shipwrecks proved that undoubtedly coral reefs were one of the great natural barriers, hence Matthew Flinders recommended the title The Great Barrier Reef.
4. What’s so Great About The Great Barrier Reef?
The Great Barrier Reef contains unique natural features enhancing its exceptional beauty. The magnificent universal value compelled it to be declared a world heritage area in 1981 by UNESCO. The coral reef system expanding approximately 3,444sq. km was under the eyes of Australia’s native or aboriginal people a millennium before Captain Cook put light upon its existence. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders community trawled in the water for years. The aboriginal people of Australia devoted cultural values to many regions in the Great Barrier Reef.
Great Barrier Reef a unique and naturally diverse habitat of marine creatures having about 900 different islands. A scenic flight above the Australian coast or a dive in the reef system allows visitors to explore this magnificent natural landscape. One of the key challenges remains to protect the reef from any destruction by humankind.