There may be precious few opportunities to leave our homes right now, but hundreds of Sir David Attenborough fans are using the internet to dive beneath the clear, tranquil currents of the Pacific Ocean to explore the beauty and biodiversity of the Great Barrier Reef with the acclaimed English broadcaster.
The calm, dulcet tones of the great naturalist are proving a soothing tonic for those currently stuck indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as viewers digitally explore the colourful majesty of Australia’s most famous landmark via attenboroughsreef.com.
The interactive website, which brings to life the famed coral reef with video, audio and additional context from marine biologists, was first created in 2015 to coincide with the release of the BBC One documentary Great Barrier Reef.
However, it has found a second wave of nature fans who have been re-joining Attenborough online as he visits five dive sites on the east coast of Australia and gets up close to the reef in a Triton submersible, a submarine capable of reaching depths of up to 1000m.
On the website, there are opportunities to hear what a healthy coral reef should sound like and a chance to see the world through the eyes of a kaleidoscopically-coloured Mantis Shrimp.
The site is a great educational resource too, with Attenborough discussing the reef’s delicate ecosystem and the impact climate change is having on the coral reef system.
The latter point is even more pertinent in 2020 as experts recently announced that the Great Barrier Reef had experienced its third mass coral bleaching event in five years, with rising sea temperatures to blame.
“60 years ago, I dived on the reef for the first time and ever since it has held a deep fascination for me,” said Attenborough, speaking at the time of filming. He went on to call it the most spectacular, complex but fragile ecosystem in the world.
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