Coral Sea

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Map of the Coral Sea

The Coral Sea is a small sea off the north east coast of Australia. It has Queensland on its west side and the islands of Vanuatu and New Caledonia on its east. On the north edge is the Solomon Islands, and in the south it joins the Tasman Sea. The Great Barrier Reef is in the Coral Sea. It has a warm climate, it often rains and there are often tropical cyclones. It covers an area of about four times the size of Great Britain.[1] The WWF describe the Coral Sea as being one of the last complete tropical wilderness areas on earth. It has beautiful coral reefs with many different sea creatures including grey and white tip reef sharks, hammerheads, manta rays, tuna, barracuda, turtles, whales and the rare nautilus.[1]

Australia claims many of the islands as part of its 780,000 square kilometre Coral Sea Islands Territory.[2] Most of them are small coral or sand islands, and only one has people living on it. This is Willis Island which is used as a weather station with a population of only four.[2]

World War II[change | change source]

Sailors abandon the USS Lexington during the Battle of the Coral Sea

In World War II the Battle of the Coral Sea was the first aircraft carrier battle fought between the United States and Australia against Japan.[3] The battle lasted from 4 May to 8 May 1942. During that time none of the ships saw each other of fired any of their guns at each other.[3] All the fighting was done by aircraft from the carriers.[3] It is the largest naval battle fought near Australia. It was important because it was the first major defeat for Japan, and it stopped the Japanese from invading Port Moresby, the capital city of New Guinea. Many people regarded it as the battle that saved Australia.[3]

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