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The Tour Specialists Tour Blog

Jul 13

Great Barrier Reef Tour an Underwater wonderland with barracudas and sharks

Posted on July 13, 2015 by

Agincourt Reef With Poseidon

June should normally be the start of the dry season in Cairns but not this time. After 3 days of relentless torrential rain and 25 knot winds I was getting a bit doubtful about my snorkeling trip to the Agincourt Ribbon reefs from Port Douglas in Queensland Australia.

I wanted to be excited as this was the first time for me to go to the reef from Port Douglas as I had never been snorkeling so close to the very edge of Australia’s continental shelf before and I had read it is classed as one of the ultimate scuba diving destinations in the world. Divers from all over the world come to here in their thousands to see the myriad of marine life and amazing coral structures and even Sir David Attenborough classes it as one of Mother Nature’s most amazing achievements.

After all it was the start of the Dwarf Minke Whale season and Agincourt Ribbon reefs are one of the best places to meet these graceful ocean giants and have the potential opportunity to swim with these whales.

I won’t lie the 90 minute cruise to the outer barrier reef with Poseidon was bumpy on that particular day, but I had prepared and been drinking lots of ginger tea in the morning and was feeling reasonably fine.

Here at The Cairns Tour Specialists we always advise our guests it is best to go to the chemist the day before going on the ocean to get some ginger tablets which will assist you if you are prone to sea sickness.

Muffin and sandwich mountains

Upon boarding the Great Barrier Reef tour I was really surprised to be welcomed with the muffin, pastry, cookie and sandwich mountains as Poseidon don’t really advertise their breakfast and their brochure has got just a humble statement – morning tea and coffee available.

Let me tell you – if you forget to have breakfast before you head out on a reef tour with Poseidon, there is no need to worry. There is more than enough and even though the boat was full (80 people max) the food was continuous.

Poseidon Reef Cruises Boat

Poseidon Reef Cruises Boat

Calm, sunny and gorgeous

Being out on many different reef trips around Cairns I knew that even if the ride to the reef is not smooth, once sheltered behind the reef, conditions are usually much better.

It wasn’t any different this time either. As soon as we got to our first snorkelling/scuba diving site called Castle Rock, the heavens opened the sky, the sun came shining through and the water was calm and placid as though nothing ever happened.

And what a site that was, just spectacular! Colourful coral gardens, giant trevally’s, barracudas, parrotfish, and clownfish protecting their home along with many other colourful fish in all shapes and sizes that I had never seen before. My eyes were about to pop out from all the beauty I saw around me. Snorkelling and scuba diving visibility was easily 25 metres.

Poseidon has a unique reef permit that allows the skipper to choose from a potential 45 different reef locations each day. The skipper will choose 3 of these locations based on tides, winds, currents, whales and underwater activity.  You will spend around 1.5 hours at each of these three sites so you are given plenty of time to enjoy your surrounds whether you are a snorkeler or a diver. You can also join in on a snorkel adventure with a marine interpreter to learn all about the types of corals and marine life that call the Great Barrier Reef in Australia home.

Everyone loves Barracuda Bommies

School of Barracudas

School of Barracudas

Our next snorkelling and scuba diving reef site is called Barracuda Bommies which was even better- schools of Barracudas, giant hard coral bommies, passes and underwater mazes. I was moving very slowly between bommies as there was just so much going on- two fish dancing and circling around each other, schools of fish escaping from me, clams closing when the shade slides over them and just such a huge variety of different marine creatures.  When our skipper asked at the end of the day which was our favourite dive site without hesitation everyone named the Barracuda Bommies. It is just not possible to put it into words. You just have to come and see it to believe it! Just click here and book now.

As we were travelling to our final dive site Harry’s Bommies, low tide came in and some of those giant bommies came out of water – looking like weird termite mounds in the middle of the ocean. I have never seen anything like that. If you have no clue what a Bommie is it’s a cluster of huge coral formations or plates.

Dwarf Minke Whales and Sharks

Snorkel with The Minkes

Snorkel with The Minkes

The Port Douglas reef tours Skipper chose Harry’s as our last snorkelling site as this is where they had recently spotted the Dwarf Minke Whales playing yesterday. And while travelling there – we definitely saw a Minke whales fin come out of the water but he dove deep down under the sea.  So they were definitely around, perhaps just a bit shy on that day as they did not appear again later so unfortunately we missed an opportunity to swim with the whales which I was really hoping I could do that and experience the whale swimming up close and eye balling me.

Minke Whale

But not o be too disappointed we did spot 2 sharks at Harry’s Bommie! Even a shark fearful person like me was able to stay calm and just stare as they were really beautiful. I seem to forget my fears once I am in the water as there is just so much to take in. Every fish seems to mind their own business and not paying too much attention to my presence.

I am a fully certified scuba diver but I was having problems with my ears which didn’t enable me to dive this time. Even though two thirds of the people on board Poseidon were divers, snorkelers did not miss out on anything at all. And if the visibility was fantastic on a “bad” day then I can imagine how the Agincourt Ribbon Reefs would look on a great sunny day so I am definitely coming back to take another peek…

Aerial View of Agincourt Reef - Photos from Poseidon Cruises

Aerial View of Agincourt Reef – Photos from Poseidon Cruises

I will be returning to Agincourt Ribbon reefs sooner rather than later!

This reef trip with Poseidon is one of the most popular Great Barrier Reef trips in Port Douglas as it offers a more personalised service, has the Dwarf Minke Whale licence where you can swim with the whales if they are around during the months of July to September and it is part of the multi award winning Hall Of Fame company Quicksilver Cruises so come on read all about it and book your seat now and try an introductory scuba dive on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Author: Helen- A Cairns Tour Specialist

Helen: I will be returning to Agincourt Ribbon reefs sooner rather than later! See you there!

Helen: I will be returning to Agincourt Ribbon reefs sooner rather than later! See you there!

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