Do you know what Google Underwater Street View is? Check this out. Google Underwater is an interactive 360-degree self-guided tour of the world’s most breathtaking coral reef views that you can enjoy anywhere and any time you want.
Would you agree with me that watching corals and saltwater fish is captivating? For me, the reason I set up my first saltwater aquarium was to bring that experience into my home.
Did you know you could immerse yourself into 360 degrees of an underwater reef and fish experience right from your phone or computer? It’s called Google Underwater Street View, and it’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Part Google Map, part 360 virtual reality, you can dive right into 140 locations without getting wet.
Google underwater street view delivers an immersive, interactive online experience so that you can experience the reefs from the comfort of your home.
How does it work?
The images below are actually ‘maps’ like you would have on your phone when you are trying to see the street view of an address or location. You can move around, zoom in, zoom out and take your own tour of each of these reefs the navigation works just like the street view feature. Here are a few instructions to help you navigate the underwater view.
Use the plus and minus buttons to zoom in and out of a particular section:
Look around in any direction you want by left-clicking with a mouse, or touching the screen on your phone or tablet and ‘swim around’ by clicking the white navigational arrows on the reef that look like this:
After spending way too much time jumping from dive to dive, here is a collection of 7 of my absolute favorite Google Underwater interactive videos.
Amazing orange, pink and purple corals viewed on Google Underwater Street View
Check out the brilliant orange, pink, purple, and white Dendronepthya and similar soft corals in Seogwipo-si, which is a reef off the waters of South Korea. For many of us, a trip to scuba dive the waters of South Korea are well beyond our means. But you can take a look right here from this page without all the travel hassel.
Look around and see if you can find gorgonians. Find a gorgeous shoal of Yellowtail snappers swimming near the edge of the reef. See if you can find the scuba diver with white swim fins and note how the corals are growing on the sides of what looks like a sheer rock wall.
So much fun. What else did you see?
Google Underwater Street View of the Great Barrier Reef
When you’re done checking out South Korea, let’s take a flight down to Lady Elliot Island, in the Great Barrier Reef. What you’ll notice right away is that this is a shallow water dive. It reminds me exactly of the view with goggles on as you float on top and take a break from snorkeling.
I love this underwater view because it gives me the sensation of booking an exquisite Air B&B right on the beach (you can see the house if you look around for it), swimming out, and literally putting my face in the water to get a view of Seargent major damselfish and many different brain corals and a sandy substrate that are everywhere in waters like this.
There are a few SPS coral species too. Hard for me to identify, but maybe some Millepora platyphyllia (fire coral). There are even a few butterflyfish if you look closely. Let me know if you find them.
Since we don’t have to worry about packing up or dealing with airports or the costs of travel, let’s jet-set over to Eastern Tobago, to take a look at these amazing reef views.
Trinidad and Tobago are off the coast of Venezuela.
This reef has a ton of interesting coral life. You can see calcareous coralline algae encrusting the live rock. You can find a yellow coris wrasse, an impressive jewel damselfish, encrusting Porites, imposing and impressive Elkhorn corals, which are an Acropora species, Gorgonians and so much more. You can get lost on this reef for an hour noting all the different reef life. Don’t take my word for it, explore the next reef below.
Other amazing dive sites
Check out this amazing view of the reefs off Lizard Island, which is part of the Great Barrier reef ecosystem. There are several great Google underwater
A haunting reminder of the impact global warming is having on the world’s reefs. Coral bleaching is what happens when distressed corals expel their zooxanthellae, a photosynthetic symbiotic organism that lives within their tissues. This next video will help you see the impact coral bleaching is having on our reefs.
For more information
There are far too many reefs to showcase them all here. If you want to dive deeper into the Google Underwater Street View content I recommend you go here first:
A few more reefs to visit:
Go take a dive and see some of the world’s most spectacular reefs, without getting wet. Thank you for continuing to blow our minds, Google Underwater. Great work with this one.