The Tour Specialists Tour Blog
Posted on December 29, 2009 by admin
Ocean Freedom is a newly refurbished 20m, 5 star luxury cruiser. The trip can be described best as a phenomenal 6 hours of diverse fun activities that allow you to get up close and personal to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef out of Cairns City.
My day began with a pick-up at 6:50 am out of Palm Cove going directly to the Marlin Marina, Cairns for a 7:30 am check-in at the Ocean Freedom boat and an 8:00 am departure. The friendly staff are make contact with everyone and direct them towards the coffee/tea/pastries/muffins/croissants upon boarding Ocean Freedom. As Ocean Freedom took off, the staff furthered their hospitable ways in a humorous but informative safety briefing for snorkeling and diving. Unlike many other boats where you choose yourself which size of snorkel gear may fit you and may not, Ocean Freedom is different and the crew go around person to person fitting them for the accurate sizes. The boat was not cluttered at all, as there is a separate room to store your bags and belongings therefore allowing for more space to move around and a roomy air-conditioned saloon. Ocean Freedom even has extra seating area on the roof for 10 lucky people at a time to relax. The forward deck is an area you can set down a towel and face into the warm wind and be the lookout for the sandy coral cay in the distance. The forward deck and aft is also a great place to snap a photo of the picturesque Great Barrier Reef.
The boat ride was just over an hour until we reached our first destination Great Barrier Reef destination “The Wonder Wall”. The wonder wall is the edge of the Upolu Reef and is fantastic for both snorkeling and diving. Here you can experience one or two dives, partake in hours of snorkeling, take a ride on the marine naturalists glass bottom boat tour or even the guided drift snorkel tour, where you are taken out in a dinghy along the edge of the coral garden and snorkel your way back along the wall of the reef. This is definitely an adventure and you never know what you will find from starfish to turtles, anything is possible. I took my first certified dive of the day here where I was really able to appreciate the beauty of this wall from the bottom to the top as it was crawling with marine life including numerous clown fish and even a giant crawfish amongst the elephant ear corals.
Next up, the bar was opened and lunch was served shortly after. Lunch consisted of many delicious salads, prawns, salmon, cold meats, cheeses, breads and chicken. The fresh food really hit the spot and left us feeling energized and ready for the rest of our day.
The next stop in our day was supposed to be the Upolu Cay but due to tides not being what they were supposed to be, the cay was much smaller than usual. The skipper simply said “no worries” and veered the boat towards the Vlassoff Cay. The Vlassoff Cay gives only officially exclusive rights and privileges to Ocean Freedom for reef charter boats. The boat moors 400 meters away from the island and offers constant ferries back and fourth from the cay to the boat. The best recommendation here is to snorkel from the boat towards the island as the best corals are in the vicinity of the boat. I personally indulged in a second certified dive here where I was very impressed with the variety and colours of elephant, spaghetti & plate corals. We also saw 3 lagoon rays.
From this point, I felt it was time to relax for a bit on the cay, where the sand was as soft as sugar and the calm waters were shallow and warm. The lifeguard walked the cay continually to ensure that everyone was safe and enjoying themselves.
Unfortunately after a fantastic six hours at the Great Barrier Reef, it was time to make our way back. Cheese/crackers/fruit are served throughout the whole ride. I highly recommend this tour as they take a maximum of 50-65 people when the boat is actually surveyed to fit 109 people. The staff are so attentive and personal and just love their jobs which makes the day enjoyable for everyone’s needs. Ocean Freedom is one reef boat tour I would highly recommend as a boat to choose to see the Great Barrier Reef if you are a first time snorkeler or diver as the crew is right there ready to help you with any concerns. Ocean Freedom spends less time in transit and more time at the reef including a fun packed six full hours. Ocean Freedoms activities are great for anyone as they give you the chance to experience the reef in many ways including the guided snorkel tours, the glass bottom boat, snorkeling straight off the back of the boat as well as the privilege of going to a secluded sandy coral cay.
No matter what your preference is, there is something for everybody on Ocean Freedom and the magic is simply awaiting you.
For more information about this tour please visit The Tour Specialists
By: Blythe Rallo, Tour Consultant at The Tour Specialists
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