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Great Barrier Reef Day Trip or Stay Aboard

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#1 humblefish



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Posted 27 February 2013 - 08:53 AM

My father and I are travelling to Austrailia in late April. Diving the GBR is on his bucket list and we want to do this right. That being said, I know he is weary of a live aboard because he has never spent that much time out on the ocean nor dove that much in such a short time. My father does have multiple vertebral fusions. We always have done day trips wherever we dive. Is it possible to experience the reef on a day trip?


If so does anyone know a good charter out of Cairns or Port Douglas?


If liveaboards are the way to go I have heard that Mike Ball and Spirit of Freedom are good companies to use. Anything else anyone can add? Coral Sea vs Cod Hole, which is better, etc.?


Thank you.

#2 eyu


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Posted 27 February 2013 - 04:35 PM

I would not suggest a day trip, but would opt instead for a live-a-board that goes to the Coral sea.  The Great Barrier sites within a day trip are beaten up from boat and diver traffic like the near Key Largo sites.  Do a smaller live-a-board boat, not one of the 40 plus diver cattle vessels.

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#3 pmooney



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Posted 27 February 2013 - 04:46 PM

I would do the 4 day trip on Spirit of Freedom.  


You can do the Cod Hole / Ribbon Reefs only or combine it with the Coral Sea & Osprey Reef.

#4 Aussiebyron


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Posted 03 March 2013 - 08:30 AM

I have been on Spirit of Freedom several times over the years and highly recommend them.  To get to see the best parts of the barrier reef the further away you have to travel. Day boats basically get the closer reefs to Cairns and Port Douglas which sees alot of traffic from divers. I personally prefer Osprey reef as its a sea mount out in the middle of the Coral Sea with walls dropping miles down either side of the reef and crystal clear water due to no run off.  If its your fathers buckets list do the 7 day trip and see it all. The 7 day trip leaves Cairns and dives through the ribbon reefs of the GBR and you arrive 3 days later at Lizard Island then the next 4 days you head out to Osprey Reef and if lucky some of the other outer reefs like Bougainville on the way back. 


Another plan is to see how your father goes is to do a day trip with the same company which runs Spirit of Freedom. Tusa Dive. They have larger boats with alot more divers and the diving isnt as good but it gives your father an idea and see how he handles that before spending alot of $$$$ for sefveral days out at sea.


Any more questions just pm me


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#5 SteveB



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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:36 PM

Obviously, if you can get to the outer reef and Coral Sea, it's a no-brainer. Do it.

However, I think that the day trip reef destinations are nowhere near as bad as people make them out to be. We went out with Deep Sea Divers Den out of Cairns in November and I was expecting a pile of dead coral and one very annoyed looking nemo. But that wasn't what we got. The reef was in really good condition and had plenty of life in and around it.

The company we went with is one of the smaller ones and do a one night (or more) liveaboard on the ribbon reef which gets you a night dive and couple more dives than doing two day trips. If you do go with them, the live-aboard boat requires a giant stride entry from about 5-6ft, which may be a factor for you.



#6 Pete L

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 11:40 AM

I have also done the deep sea divers den & it was quite good. They also offer a liveaboard that stays on the inner reefs & i was quite impressed.

It is a very cheap option for a liveaboard.

Spirit of freedom do have a good reputation & i wouldn't hesitate to jump onboard it one day.

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