Go on a virtual dive while viewing these live underwater webcams of coral reefs, seabirds, sharks, kelp forests and sea lions.
We all know the feeling. There you are stuck at work. Gazing out of the office window at the blue sky outside and just wishing that you could slip on your fins and slide into an underwater world where spreadsheets and team meetings are an irrelevance.
Once upon a time that’s about as far as the thought would have gone. Today though, thanks to some pretty nifty camera technology, you can delve into the deep from the comfort of your desk by logging onto one of the many live undersea webcams posied around reefs and drop-offs the world over.
Here are some of our favourites, but before you dive in remember that most of these cameras only work during the local daylight hours.
Happy virtual diving – just don’t let your boss catch you!
Great Barrier Reef
No coral reef is more famous than Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. This webcam, set in the waters off Port Phillip Bay will introduce you to some of the reef’s inhabitants.
The Great Barrier Reef isn’t the only coral reef with a live webcam. The excellent Utopia Village Underwater Reef Wall camera, set in the warm Caribbean waters off Honduras, offers up an ever-changing cast of characters.
Holiday in Hawaii
Hawaii is a dream holiday destination for many people – divers included – and this webcam, located off the west coast of the island of Hawaii, the main island in the chain. Will whet the appetite of anyone planning on visiting.
Manatees – big, chunky, graceful, sirens of the sea. Once thought to be mermaids, but looking through the lens of this camera at Blue Spring State Park in Florida, that seems a little unlikely!
Giant kelp forest
The giant kelp forests off the Channel Islands, California are a surreal underwater environment. Ocean currents cause the kelp fonds to sway in hypnotic fashion, which entertains even when none of the thousand or so marine species that call these ecologically vital forests home are visible. Note that during the Californian night this video plays a highlight reel.
Sharks in the Atlantic
Come on. Admit it. Watching all the ballerina pretty coral reef fish is cool, but what you, us and everyone else really wants to see is a big shark gliding past the webcam. This camera, beneath the Frying Pan Tower, 54km off Cape Fear, North Carolina, is one where you might just see that happen.
Seabirds and waders
Moving away from underwater life for a while we focus our lens on seabirds and waders in the UK. The Brownsea Lagoon in Dorset is a busy breeding site for both migrants and residents. Avocets and black-tailed godwits in their hundreds are often visible as are common and sandwich terns.
Sea Lion Beach
Once you’re done watching the seabirds of Britain virtually jet off to another cold and beautiful part of the world to watch the sea lions lounging on the rocky platforms of Hanson Island, British Columbia, Canada. During the Canadian night, this camera plays a highlight reel.