At Australia’s most pristine dive spots, the truth of the constant headlines—MORE THAN HALF OF AUSTRALIA’S GREAT BARRIER REEF DAMAGED—can be hard to believe. For example, at Opal Reef off Queensland, you’ll still find a kaleidoscope of angelfish, anemones, and giant clams. “Everyone’s holding their breath and hoping the warning signs are wrong,” says John Rumney, owner of Eye to Eye Marine Encounters, which charters boats in the area. 

But the evidence is clear: In other parts of Queensland, you’ll find giant patches of bleached coral, boneyards on the ocean floor that cover 620 miles. Rumney, for one, isn’t just sitting around. After 30-plus years of seeing the changes up close, he’s launched the Great Barrier Reef Legacy project, and starting next year you can be a part of it. Aboard a 110-foot research vessel, he’ll gather marine experts, students, and travelers to explore the reef and conduct research. Which is a hell of a lot better than just shaking your head and looking the other way.

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