An Island Escape Off Cairns
This full day Great Barrier Reef excursion is a fantastic way to explore one of the Great Barrier Reef’s best kept secrets – Michaelmas Cay.
The day starts out bright and early as the friendly Ocean Spirit staff picks you up from your accommodation and you make your way to the Cairns Marlin Marina for your reef adventure. As you make your way towards the catamaran you can feel the excitement in the air and you can’t help but want to get out to the reef as soon as possible! Upon boarding this luxury vessel, you are greeted by several crew members, one of which takes a classic photo of you in front of the “Ocean Spirit” life saving ring. After checking in, there is time to grab a freshly brewed tea or coffee in the air conditioned saloon, get comfortable, and get excited about what awaits you at Michaelmas Cay!
The cruise out to the coral cay takes approximately one and half hours and time just flies by as the crew give a very entertaining snorkel and safety demonstration. You can choose to sit in the lounges in the saloon or get some fresh air and sunshine on the upper deck to witness the beautiful scenery around you.
Ocean Spirit Cruises offers underwater camera hire available on the boat but they do go quickly so make sure you get in early if you think you would like one to take some personal memories home with you. The crew will explain there is an activities schedule for the day clearly posted on the wall, as well as the semi submersible submarine boat cruise to sign up for. Tickets for the semi submersible are available from around 9:30 onwards at the bar.
The views upon your arrival at Michaelmas Cay are absolutely awe inspiring. You get a sense of just how vast the ocean actually is and how photos of the reef just do not do it justice – it is something that needs to be seen with your own eyes. The water is the bluest of blue and the sand on the coral cay is as white as white can be.
As the crew prepares the boat to moor off the sand cay, be sure to check out the fish feeding frenzy that takes place on the port side of the boat. It is a photo opportunity not to be missed!
Another opportunity not to be missed is the semi submersible submarine boat cruise that departs from the back of the catamaran. Your knowledgeable tour guide informs you of interesting reef facts as you cruise through “turtle lagoon” and you just might be lucky enough to catch a giant green sea turtle or black tip reef shark making an appearance!
This is a fabulous introduction to some of the marine life you will be viewing while snorkeling the afternoon away.
Lunch is a hot and cold buffet that is served on board the boat. There is an abundance of the freshly prepared tropical foods to satisfy all paletes so you’re sure not to go hungry! Enjoy your meal and start getting excited for all your snorkeling adventures.
Upon setting foot on Michaelmas Cay you immediately feel at one with nature. The cay is a protected marine park bird sanctuary and there are several different species of migratory birds that call the cay home for different times of the year. Try and not be put off by the fact that there are hundreds of birds flying around – they don’t interfere at all with your afternoon. All of the vegetation that grows on the cay has been brought over bit by bit by all the birds that reside here to build their nest and to protect them from winds. It truly is a sight to behold!
Michaelmas Cay is a shallow water cay so you are able to wade and snorkel while still being able to touch the bottom. The water does get very deep in some places, which allows the coral to stay intact away from any kind of interference. If you are a confident swimmer you can get out to the more spectacular coral bommies. If you are not so confident then don’t worry as life jackets and pool noodles are provided for those that need a little bit of assistance flotation wise.
These Great Barrier Reef boat cruises cater for all types of ages and experience. If you would like to try to dive for the first time then this is the ideal place to do it straight off the beach in shallow water. For the more experienced certified diver you will be wisked away to an even more spectacular location for you to enjoy the reef at its best.
The marine life at Michaelmas Cay is plentiful, including green sea turtles, nemo fish, parrot fish, bat fish, sea cucumbers and giant clams everywhere. The afternoon just seems to pass entirely too quickly and before you know it, it’s time to board the catamaran and cruise back to Cairns.
The fantastic crew welcomes you back aboard the boat with fresh tea, coffee and delicious cake. Settle in and take a few moments to bid farewell to the breathtaking Michaelmas Cay. Your cruise back to Cairns is perfected by a glass of chilled Australian sparkling wine – Cheers!
Ocean Spirit Cruises are sure to make your reef experience as special as possible and leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
For more information about this tour please visit The Tour Specialists
By: Andrea Teed, The Tour Specialists Consultant