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Island dreams of more than 360 Chinese

More than 360 applicants from China's mainland, including a university student from Shanghai, are competing for "the best job in the world" - "Island Caretaker" for the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

 

The chance of an idyllic occupation has attracted more than 19,000 applicants from around the world.

 

From July 1 to January 1, 2010, the winner will be based on Hamilton Island, living in a luxury oceanfront villa and exploring everything the islands of the reef have to offer. He or she will be snorkeling, diving and sailing - and reporting back on their adventures. They will even be paid - the "job" has a salary of A$150,000 (US$96,302) for the six-month contract, Australia's Tourism Queensland said.

 

The winner will report on their experiences via weekly blogs, photo diary, video updates and media interviews.

 

If all that sounds good to you then, sadly, it's too late. Applications closed this morning at 7:59. Jobseekers had to upload a one-minute-long video and you can see them by logging on to www.islandreefjob.com.

 

Shanghai-native Li Yingjie, an English major at the Zhengzhou Institute of Aeronautical Industry Management in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan Province in central China, sent in her video last week.

 

But the 22-year-old realizes her chances of being chosen are slim. "At least I swim well, which meets one of the requirements of the caretaker," she said. In her video, Li introduces herself, saying she wants the job in order to enrich her life experience.

 

"It's good for our girl to have a try at a brand-new lifestyle," her mother, Han Qi, said yesterday.

 

Wild card candidate

 

A shortlist of 50 applicants will be announced next Monday.

 

Then Tourism Queensland will select 10 final candidates. Visitors to www.islandreefjob.com will have the chance to select one wild card candidate, who will also participate in the final interview selection process.

 

The 11 candidates will be flown to Hamilton Island for interviews which will be held on a number of the islands on the Great Barrier Reef at the beginning of May. The successful candidate will be named at a ceremony on Hamilton Island on May 6.

 

Stretching for 2,600 kilometers and composed of more than 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands, the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia, is the world's largest coral reef system.

 

The World Heritage-listed area supports a diversity of wildlife including whales, dolphins, sea turtles and more than 1,500 species of fishes.

 

The Great Barrier reef attracts about 2 million tourists each year.

 

(Shanghai Daily February 23, 2009)