Going to the great barrier reef marine Park in Australia was like a dream come true. I had always wanted to go on an Australian vacation even before I had heard of coral reefs. To me, Australia was one of the most fascinating and far out places on the earth. It was known for all of the bizarre, unusual animals and plants living there. The great barrier reef was just the frosting on the cake.

I had actually decided to go to Australia a few years ago. When I was in Hawaii, we swam in some coral reefs. It was a lot of fun. There were brightly colored fish everywhere. We even got to see some sea turtles while we were there. The water was clear and beautiful, and the coral was fascinating to look at. My tour guide, however, told me that it was nothing compared to the great barrier reef. That reef, he said, was the best scuba diving in the world. It is so completely teeming with fish that you could barely see the water!

Beginning that very day, I started to put away money for my Australian vacation. Needless to say, it took a while. Flying to Australia from the United States is quite an expense. Even if you live on the West Coast – which I do – it still takes forever to get there. Still, I was able to sleep for most of the flight. When I got to Australia, I wanted to start scuba diving immediately. I did not want to take any time to rest. There was so much to see, and so little time.

What surprised me was how much danger the great barrier reef faces. I talked a lot of experts on the park there, and they told me that it is one of the most threatened coral reefs in the world. Apparently, a huge part of it has already been damaged or destroyed, and more is a likely to be injured as tourists keep flocking, pollution increases, and the weather changes. It would be a shame to lose such a valuable world treasure as that, and I hope people really start to take care of it. It is difficult to describe to someone who has never seen it, but it is really an awe-inspiring sight. It reminds you just how many fascinating plants and animals live in this world. Nature is truly a marvelous place.