The Great Barrier Reef is the largest and more complex reef system on the planet. Its 2,900 individual reefs are divided up into a complex set of zones comprising the world's biggest marine park, home to more than 1,500 species of fish and 400 species of coral.
Since the reef us 30 to 45 miles offshore, most people visit on a day trip: these operate from resort islands as well as from Cairns, Port Douglas and Townsville. The cost of these trips can be prohibitive, and in this respect the Barrier Reef isn't as satisfying as somewhere, say, such as the Maldives, where you can just stumble out of your room and take a short swim to the reef at the edge of the lagoon.
A recent innovation in marine tourism here has been the introduction of guided snorkeling tours wi
th marine biologists, which give you a 'hands-on' experience of the reef and an opportunity to touch corals and other manne life safely.
Like reefs all over the world, the Great Barrier is not without its share of ecological problems, the most notable of which, is the destruction caused by population outbreaks of Crown of Thorns starfish, which literally eats the reef.
Moreover, the islands of the Hawaiian archipelago are the most isolated tropical islands in the world, which means that a high proportion pf marine species are endemic. Many of these biologically unique fish are very beautiful, indeed, and snorkeling or diving here is a distinctive experience.
On the main island of Oahu, Hanuama Bay is one of the most successful manne parks in Hawaii. Once a favourite fishing ground for Hawaiian royalty, the reefs were severely depleted until the area became a marine life conservation district in 1967. Since then, recovery has been remarkable and there is now an abundance of beautiful tropical reef fish, including the fish with the longest name in the world, the Humukumunukunukuapuaa (Hawaii's state emblem). The one drawback of Hanuama bay is that the water is almost as crowded with people as it is with fish: go early in the morning.
Finally, we can say that our planet is full of mysteries and it is a great pleasure and a unique experience to discover some of them.
In search of the fish with the longest name written by Cristina Nuta for FamousWhy.com
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