Do you miss scuba diving? Have you never had the chance to do it yet? No problem - now, you can dive from the comfort of your armchair. All you need is a computer.
The Catlin Seaview Survey, in conjunction with Google, is collecting tens of thousands of 360-degree, high-definition panoramas of the Great Barrier Reef. Eight dive sites are already online (these sites are just off the coast of Heron Island). Many more will follow.
As an avid diver myself (picture #1 from this Foto Friday article was taken on the Great Barrier Reef), I must say that these panoramas are stunning. But don't take my word for it - you can dive for yourself here.
Pick a dive site from the map on the right, place your cursor over the image on the left, and be taken to another world.
I've clipped a few screenshots from two sites below. In a word, these are breath-taking.
The Guardianreports that Catlin scientists hope this virtual dive experience will draw the attention of 'citizen scientists', too:
The scientists and conservationists behind the Catlin Seaview Surveyhope the attraction of "virtual diving" will also raise awareness about climate change, coral bleaching, deepwater ecology and the breeding habits of invertebrates that may only be able to spawn once a month by the light of the full moon.
Whatever your motivations are to visit the site, I promise you won't be disappointed.
Take a deep breath, jump in, and enjoy!