The Tour Specialists Tour Blog
Coral Sea Dreaming – 2 day / 1 night Sailing Vessel Snorkelling and Scuba Diving on the Great Barrier Reef
Posted on October 9, 2010 by Christina
An experience of the Great Barrier Reef you will never forget! Imagine the feeling of sleeping under the stars on the Great Barrier Reef and to have access to several amazing locations for your snorkelling and scuba diving adventure.
The trip departs every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 8am.
Return is approximately 4.30pm the following day.
8.00am – Board the boat and meet the crew for your personalized adventure. For my journey I had as a crew Radar the skipper, Rob the dive instructor and Tess the hostess.
With only 4 passengers on board for that trip I felt like it was a private charter. We left Cairns and headed South East to our destination Milln and Thetford Reefs. The boat has a permit to access several dive and snorkel locations and the skipper will choose the best ones depending on the weather.
It was a nice cruise chatting with the passengers on board and sun baking until we reached our first
dive and snorkel location called The 3 Sisters at Milln Reef at about 12pm. No time wasted we jumped in for our first scuba dive of the day. Lots of marine life and lucky me I could spot a reef tip shark on my first dive. After 50 min we came back on the boat and lunch was ready for us: Bread rolls, a selection of cold meats, Greek salad and cheese. A bit of time to go snorkelling and it was time to move to another location, The Pinnacles. The weather conditions were so nice: 10-15 knots wind and the water temperature was 26 degrees Celsius! I couldn’t resist so I decided to join the group for another scuba dive. Rob our dive instructor was so professional; he set up the dive gear for us he likes to make his passengers life easy. The second location was also amazing, we spotted clown fish and a Maori Wrasse.
Back to the boat to relax and enjoy the sunset on the Great Barrier Reef. It was so peaceful to be surrounded by water with no one around us! Tess our five star chef cooked us a massive and very tasty dinner a combination of hot and cold dishes.
And then time for an experience I would never forget: The night dive!
Rob went through all the safety and diving procedures with us and gave us a torch and explained to us what we could expect and what to look for underwater. The night dive is completely different from a scuba dive during the day. Different species of fishes are active at night while some others sleep. Some of them like the parrot fishes even produce a kind of mucus and are tucked away in their bubbles for a sleep: It is to protect themselves from predators. We jumped in the water at 7.45pm.
When we came back on the boat it was good to share this experience on the deck under the stars with a few glasses of wine… A magical and special moment!I like to sleep on a boat. After a full day of activities and with the movement of the boat you can be sure to sleep like a baby.
I was also excited to be able to try an early morning scuba dive. The marine life is also waking up and the underwater light is different. Very early morning while everybody was still sleeping the crew moved the boat to another great location called The Whale Bommie. So at 7.30am we were all ready to jump in the water again! I need to specify that the water was still 26 degrees… I dove with a shark along the bommie he was just cruising along and following us. When we came back on board Tess cooked us a big breakfast with cereals, fruits, pancakes as well as fresh toasts with scrumbled eggs. So tasty.
The weather was so nice that Radar the skipper decided to move to another location for our last snorkel and scuba dive of the day before our return trip back to Cairns.
The trip to Thetford Reef took us approximately 45 min so plenty of time for sun baking!
The site called the Mystery at Thetford Reef was my favourite! So many little caves and an abundance of corals and marine life I was really impressed. This one was just a lazy dive cruising at about 13 m for 50 min. We didn’t want to go back on the boat.
Of course Tess surprised us with another beautiful lunch: 2 pasta dishes, coleslaw, salads, bread and massive chicken drumsticks marinated in soy sauce and honey. You will not starve on that boat!
Then it was time for the crew to set up the boat and get ready for our return sailing back to Cairns. We left at 12.45pm and arrived in Cairns at 4.15pm.
The Great Barrier Reef locations
Flynn, Milln and Thetford Reefs are located South East of Cairns and are known for their abundance of marine life combined with plenty of hard and soft corals.
Milln reef offers excellent wall dives and swim throughs. Whale bommie provides you with a good dive with a depth up to 20 metres. A great site to dive at night where you may be able to spot sleeping turtles, reef crabs and painted lobsters.
Thetford reef is made up of coral bommies with some very exciting wall dives and many swim throughs. You can spot giant clams, butterfly fishes and angelfishes.
It’s different down there at night. The first time you descend into the darkness you will realize that it is almost a completely different world at night. Night diving is usually much more relaxing that diving during the day and you also pay more attention to little details with your torch. Some of the walls are full of sleeping parrot fish in their mucus sacks and turtles. It is the best time to see crabs, lobsters, and shrimp going about their business.
One of the most spectacular parts of night diving is watching the coral feeding and when you turn the lights off you will notice plenty of bioluminescence, amazing organisms that glow in the dark!
This is an experience not to be missed if you have enough time in Cairns.
This boat looks like brand new and is spacious. When I begun this trip I had in mind to do only 2 or 3 certified dives and to relax the rest of the time but the reef locations were so amazing that I ended up doing 5 dives. Nice boat, professional crew, delicious meals and excellent dive locations!
I was also very impressed by the friendliness of the crew. Radar selects the best locations and is very conscious about the safety of his passengers (He and Rob even woke in the middle of the night to tighten and secure the boat with another rope as the wind had changed direction during the night), Rob is dedicated to provide the best snorkel and dive adventures and Tess is a really good cook, I couldn’t believe the meals she prepared in her small kitchen!
My favourite spot on the boat is in the hammock. Try it you will understand why…
By: Florence, Tour Desk Consultant
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