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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Discover the ocean--Christmas corals

Reef Sharks in Christmas Island

The island is a tiny dot in the Indian Ocean that is barely known and even less explored. But soon photo-journalists Shaun and Beth Tierney say Chirstmas Island, a small Australian territory, north-west of Perth, is one of nature's most impressive feats. They first visited the island for a diving trip in 2005. They were so smitten by the natural wonders of the island that they returned several times and even penned a book titled The Essential Christmas Island Travel Guide.

Discover the ocean

In the island, the tip of a volcanic mountain born of an eruption some 60 million years ago, and the island is ringed by a narrow coral reef. "Within just a few metres of the shore, it suddenly plunges to unimaginable depths," says Beth Tierney.

The colourful corals that encrust the shallower waters benefit from strong sunlight and deep-water upwellings that supply rich nutrients. "The diving is amazing, but even snorkellers on the surface can see way down into the depths, admiring the fish such as tuna, trevally, barracuda and reef sharks," she included.

Adapted from: The Straits Times Tuesday 19 August 2008 (Part C)(Page C4)


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