Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument

Another day, another wonder, and this one will also stir the debate about whether wonders should be man made or natural.  Regardless of your position on that issue, there is no doubt as to the beauty of the underwater world of the Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument.

The national monument encompasses nearly 140,000 square miles of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and provides for protection and preservation of the marine area.  It is the largest single area dedicated to conservation, and the largest protected marine area in the world.  To get a sense of just how big we are talking about, it is larger than 46 of our 50 states. 

The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands include ten islands and atolls, and stretch over nearly 1,400 miles.  The undersea forests and mountain ranges of this area comprise a coral reef habitat that exceeds 4,500 square miles, and is the largest, most untouched coral reef system in the U.S. 

Living in this undersea bliss, are over 7,000 marine species, a quarter of which are found nowhere else on earth.  The area is the primary home for the surviving Hawaiian Monk Seals (critically endangered with about 1,400 still living), and is the breeding ground for the threatened Hawaiian Islands Green Sea Turtle.

This is an amazing world, which most of us will only be able to see and learn about through photos.

Photo credit:  flickr

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Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast, and is the founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Stockholm, a Baltic cruise, and Universal Orlando Resort.

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