Did you know that the 8th of June is World Oceans Day? It is a United Nations-recognized day set aside for celebrating our planet's oceans and taking action to protect them. This year, the theme was "healthy oceans, healthy planet" - which was well timed in New South Wales with the recent release
of a draft for new regulations on fuel use in the state's ports.
In honour of the day, Google debuted an amazing new function of Street View called Oceans
, taking users beneath the waves to explore the underwater vistas in forty locations around the world, including of course Australia
's own Great Barrier Reef. The stunning images were taken by divers and include crystal-clear portraits of turtles, whales, sharks and more, as well as coral reefs, underwater hot springs and shipwrecks.
To bring users the new ocean view feature, Google worked closely with XL Catlin Seaview Survey which has been in operation since 2012, surveying reefs the world over in order to establish a scientific baseline against which global change to underwater conditions can be monitored.
On the Google Maps blog
, Jenifer Austin and Brian Sullivan wrote: "This World Oceans Day, we hope that you're inspired to learn more about ocean change. So dive into the depths of the sea and become engaged to protect the ocean and understand how it supports us, so that all of us can better support it in return."
Revisit your favourite underwater vistas
If there's anyone who loves the oceans, it's cruisers! We can see this new function being quite the distraction for anyone sitting in the office and dreaming of their next snorkel excursion on the Great Barrier Reef or glass-bottomed boat trip in the Isle of Pines
. Available to view are locations in the Cook Islands
, the Great Barrier Reef, Samoa
, the Solomon Islands
, Sydney and the Komodo Islands
as well as many places in the Northern Hemisphere.
With the warm waters of the Pacific Islands and Queensland right on our doorstep, Aussie cruisers on the whole are very keen on snorkeling, scuba diving and enjoying the oceans in a myriad of ways. Here are a few of our top spots for getting underwater in the South Pacific.
Of course, the Great Barrier Reef is a prime spot for getting submerged - it is the world's largest coral reef system and easily accessible. There are plenty of cruise ships visiting, and P&O's Barrier Reef Discovery is a popular itinerary for those who want to experience it.
Lifou in New Caledonia is a common inclusion on many South Pacific cruises, and perfect for a snorkeling safari at Jinek Bay which is not far from the tender jetty. Keep an eye out for turtles!
Fiji is well known for great snorkel and scuba opportunities. Cruise lines visiting Port Denarau generally offer day trips to outer islands where you can enjoy the crystal clear waters. Captain Cook is a good line for those keen to get underwater in Fiji, with intimate ships visiting the small isles where you can get up close and personal with coral and sealife via snorkel or scuba.
Tahiti and the surrounding islands are a paradise for snorkelers and divers, and with Paul Gauguin Cruises you can benefit from a watersports marina giving access to the water directly from the ship! Dive certification is offered onboard.
Head over to Google Oceans and be inspired for your next cruise.
images from Google Oceans