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The Tour Specialists Tour Blog

Sep 03

My Great Barrier Reef Sand Cay Experience

Posted on September 3, 2018 by

Photo Courtesy of Tourism & Events Queensland

If you are not the most confident scuba diver then maybe taking a dive off the beach from a sand cay is what you should consider…

My day with Ocean Spirit started with a very smooth cruise/sail to Michaelmas Cay and I was (again) very lucky with our beautiful Tropical North Queensland weather… it was the perfect day for my Great Barrier Reef tour; the wind was very low, the sun was shining and the visibility in the water was very good.

Photo Courtesy of Chelsea Keil – Ready for an awesome day!

As a Tour Consultant for The Tour Specialists it is part of my job to go and enjoy all the local Cairns tours and attractions to then be able to share my experiences with our guests; which is lucky because I love discovering and exploring places such as the Great Barrier Reef but also the Daintree Rainforest as well as the Outback. So, when I received an invitation to join Ocean Spirit for a day I just couldn’t say no!

Photo Courtesy of Ocean Spirit

Our host, set us up in the best spot aboard the boat; we had the perfect amount of shade & sunlight with amazing views and we even got to enjoy some light refreshments before we departed Cairns.

As we arrived at Michaelmas Cay, it was absolutely stunning!! The sun was shining, no clouds in the sky and the blues and greens of the water were so beautiful. You could see the coral and there were so many fish! I wanted to jump in straight away!

Photo Courtesy of Tourism & Events Queensland – Michaelmas Cay

Michaelmas Cay is a white sandy island in the middle of the waters of the Great Barrier Reef. As the boats cruises closer and closer to it the mirage like island rises before you with its pure white sand glistening above the brilliant turquoise water.

This sand cay is a very important breeding ground for migrating birds so there are roped off areas where us humans and not allowed to venture. If you are a bird watcher this Great Barrier Reef tour would be heaven for you. If you are terrified of birds then definitely this is not the reef trip for you!

Photo Courtesy of Jeenifer Tofia

An island or a sand cay is also a great reef trip for families with young children or grandparents as the waters are safe around the cay and everyone can just casually stroll into the water and lay around in the shallows.

Scuba Diving at Michaelmas Cay 

This dive experience was like no other. Instead of jumping straight into deep water to dive, we started from the sand cay which I believe is a very good way to start if you are not overly confident. The dive instructor took us through our skills test before we started to descend down to about 8-10 metres.

Our guide was awesome! He took us through to so many nice spots of coral. I had the opportunity to get up close to ‘Nemo’ and I also got to swim with a turtle which is always cool!

Photo Courtesy of Chelsea Keil – Scuba Diving at Michaelmas Cay

Post dive I had a bit of free time which I used to sun tan out on the front deck of the boat before lunch.

Lunch is served on board the main boat we had a lovely hot/cold buffet and washed it down with a chilled beverage. 

Semi-Submersible Submarine Tour

What came next was a first for me… the all mighty Semi-Submersible Submarine Tour. I didn’t quite know what to expect but it was totally awesome! Staying dry and being underwater at the same time it’s the perfect alternative for the non-swimmers and those who do not wish to get their hair wet.

Photo Courtesy of Ocean Spirit – Semi-Submersible Submarine

We saw about 5 turtles (various sizes) and a great amount of colourful marine life and coral.

Photo Courtesy of Ocean Spirit – Semi-Submersible Submarine

After our semi-submersible submarine tour, I made my way back over to the sand cay via the boats tender shuttle that departs to/from the sand cay every 20mins. By this time the tide was low and parts of the coral were starting to surface above the water which was really fascinating.

Photo Courtesy of Tourism & Events Queensland

I wanted to get out there to do a bit of snorkelling and enjoy what little time I had left out at this beautiful part of the Great Barrier Reef.

Photo Courtesy of Chelsea Keil – The end of a GREAT day on the GREAT Barrier Reef

Overall I must say that throughout the day nothing was rushed, I felt very relaxed and I had a great time. We had an awesome host who looked after us well and the crew on board were friendly and helpful too. It was an awesome day and I made some new friends too.

Author: Chelsea Keil – Tour Consultant with The Tours Specialists

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