Imagine this: You’re standing on a bobbing catamaran above the Great Barrier Reef on a once-in-a-lifetime snorkeling excursion. You rub a few loogies into your goggles to keep them from fogging, clamp your teeth down on the plastic tube, and make sure your bathing suit is on tight so you don’t expose your goodies while diving in — you’re ready to go. That is, until you step to the edge of the boat and look into the aquamarine waters below. As your brave companions jump in one by one, you freeze up, thinking about being exposed to the mysteries of the deep. Noticing your panic, the tour operator pulls you back from the edge. You’re not going in today.
“Goddammit!” you think to yourself in between deep breaths into a paper bag. “Another vacation ruined by your crippling fear of the unknown!”
Calm down, you wimp. Melodramatic scenarios like this are a thing of the past now because, thanks to Google, you don’t need to face the terror of the open sea to experience its wonders.
In a further effort to make the most comprehensive map of the world known to man, Google teamed up with The Catlin Seaview Survey (“a major scientific study of the world’s reefs”) to add underwater panoramic images to the Street View setting in Google Maps. “Street” is a term that Google likes to use loosely, it seems, because there aren’t any highways to Atlantis pictured in the underwater Street View. Instead, the new feature provides 360 degree views of prime snorkeling locations in the Great Barrier Reef, the Philippines, and Hawaii.
You can check out screen grabs from the five undersea destinations below, and be sure to click on the name above each photo to explore further from the comfort (and safety) of your home:
Wilson Island • Queensland, Australia
Heron Island • Queensland, Australia
Apo Island • Dauin, Philippines
Molokini Crater • Maui, Hawaii