For many divers, only their love for their significant other exceeds their love of the underwater world. And sharing the aquatic realm with each other is heaven. You don't have to celebrate Valentines Day to appreciate the clear water, warm sand, and abundant marine life found in these romantic holiday destinations: The Cayman Islands, The Great Barrier Reef, and Catalina Island. Here's a brief glimpse.
The Cayman Islands. Whether you opt to go in it, or just sit above it, there's something about the turquoise waters, white sand and refreshing breezes that keep visitors to the Cayman Islands coming back for more. There's no limit to the number of things you can see and do, from the thrill of going underwater without getting wet to the fun of parasailing along the beautiful Seven Miles Beach or just basking in the sun. The ideas are endless when you just add water.
The three coral islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman are actually the exposed tips of a massive submarine mountain range; a result of a tectonic plate upheaval. Grand Cayman is famous for a dive site known as Stingray City located inside a barrier reef on the north shore.
The water is calm and provides shelter for the hundreds of rays that live there. Many divers have enjoyed a memorable interaction with the stingrays. The quality of marine life is higher than the Caribbean average and snorkeling is quite popular in the shallow lagoons around the shorelines. Topside activities include swimming, boating, parasailing, water-skiing, shopping, and sunbathing.
The Great Barrier Reef. Almost everyone has heard of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, and almost every scuba diver has dreamed of diving there. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority protects the famous reef. It's an amazing 1,250 miles (2000-km) or more long, stretching from Papua new Guinea in the north to Lady Elliot Island off Bundaberg in Queensland to the south. Considered one of the world's natural wonders, it consists of approximately 2,000 individual reefs and 71 coral islands, scattered like jewels in the ocean.
The Great Barrier Reef is a home to a remarkable number of sea creatures. The coral itself is made up of the skeletons of tiny, flowerlike water animals called polyps, held together by a limestone substance produced by a type of algae. Hundreds of polyp species form the coral in a dazzling display of colors and shapes. The reef also supports as many as 2000 species of fish.
Catalina Island. Catalina is a small romantic island. With its readily accessible beaches, robust scenery, extraordinary fauna, and charming assortment of wildlife, it's hard to believe the island is less than 40 miles away from Los Angeles, California. The cool clear waters support giant kelp forests. A wide variety of solitary and shoaling fish, including barracudas, crayfish, nudibranches, starfish, and soft corals can be found. Larger animals include bat rays, seals, and sea lions. A wide variety of hotel accommodations offer waterports and island excursions, as well as shopping and restaurants. Shore diving and snorkeling are excellent and several areas can be reached by taxi or on foot.