There's definitely no keeping the Great Barrier Reef a secret. Everywhere I go, the first question that comes out of people's mouths when they find out what I do for a living is, "Have you ever been to the Great Barrier Reef?"
When I say yes, the next question is usually, "What's it like?"
That question is a little more difficult to answer, considering the fact that the destination stretches for 1,200 miles along the Queensland coast and encompasses more than 2,500 named reefs.
I usually reply, drolly, "It's like diving in a nonstop crowded place like New York City -- if New York City was 1,200 miles long."
There's not much to say to that except, "Wow," which is usually the next thing that rolls out of their mouths as they try to wrap their heads around such a place.
It's pretty much the same for me when I try to wrap my head around the Great Barrier Reef. I've been traveling to Queensland for several years and have a couple hundred dives along its coral folds, and I feel like I'm just beginning to somewhat understand a very small corner of the this massive rampart. Even after nearly a dozen trips, there are loads of famous dives I'm still dreaming of.
The descriptive "world-famous" usually precedes the names of most of the dives you'll experience along this gilded underwater kingdom. And it's not hyperbole. Some of my favorites are The World-Famous: Steve's Bommie, Cod Hole, Osprey Reef, Heron Island Bommie, SS Yongala, Flinders Reef, Miln Reef and Raine Island.
As you can tell, that's not yet a comprehensive list, which is what keeps me coming back. That and Queensland itself. I'm always torn between the land and sea. Both are UNESCO World Heritage destinations, and the rainforest, tablelands and outback have the same magical tug as the Great Barrier Reef. I truly can't get enough of this corner of our dive world. No matter where else I go, I always seem to be planning a trip back to Queensland and have never lost that fun little tingle of anticipation while wondering what magic the reef will show me on the next trip.