Every diver dreams of going to Cairns and diving the great barrier reef. One of the most commonly asked question to the Abyss Staff regarding dive travel is who to dive with when I head up to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef.
We certainly are here to help you with all your travel questions. We not only do the travel or self, so can give you first hand information, we also have diver coming in every day telling us about there experiences. As we send a of people up to cairns so we can generally get better deals that you can get direct from the operators so next time you are planning a trip to Cairns or any where else drop us an email and use our knowledge and get a free quote… hopefully you will save some money!
So anyway on to Cairns.
Who to dive with really depends on what you are looking for and what experience level you are. In a lot of cases you get what you pay for…
Here are some questions you should think about needing to know the answers off before you book. Once you think about these questions who to book with will be come a little easier.
Do you need a guide to stay with you on the dive? If you do, do the operator provide a guide, how much does this cost, how many people will be with the guide?
Do you have diver, snorkels, no water people wanting to catch some sun shine, people wanting to try diving in your group or are you a keen diving just wanting to get out there do the dive and get back? If your group is keen divers with no on lookers maybe a dive operator like Tusa dive. They use 16 different locations so they are always going to new spots and generally they will be the only boat there. If you have a mixed group maybe an operation like reef magic who go out to a pontoon might suit you better. There is generally more people on this day trip but they do cater better for a range of divers, snorkels, glass bottom boat uses etc. when I went out with reef magic there was
only 10 divers so although there was a lot of people on the pontoon there was not a heap of divers and you really got the whole reef experience. Great for a family or some one with a non diving partner.
Should I do a day trip or a love a board? If you have the time a live a board is always the best option. You will see better reef as they go out further, not as many people go there etc and it is also better value for money. When you work out you can do 5 dives a day and it cover all food as well as accommodation.
How far out does the operator take you? For example Mike Ball do not dive any sites below cook town. The better dives sites can be reached by live a boards rather than day boats. Mike Ball offers a low level flight on one of the legs of the trips so basically you are sleeping while they are driving the cairns to cook town part and you do not do the same site twice. The flight over the reef is pretty cool as well, but really it is the fact that you get to the best spots that really makes it worth it. Some of the live a boards really only go
out as far as the day boats. Look at a map and work out where they are going to take you. The best bit is the coral sea (big fish action, really Clear water) and the Cod Hole.
Do you want to do a course while on the reef? Think about this seriousually. A course like enriched air (you can do the study prior) or
photography might be a good idea, do not do a rescue course. Enjoy the diving, check out the marine like do not be stuck with your head in a book on running search patterns etc. if you are keen to do a course book a boat that offers it. If you are an experienced diver I am sure you do not want to be on boat with a heap of people doing course especially try diving experiences. On the other hand maybe you best mate is joining you are you want him to give it a try as well.
A lot of people will only dive the reef once so make it a great memorable experience and book with a reputable operator so you have fun both above and below the water!
Mike Ball. www.mikeball.com/
If you want the best go for Mike Ball…This is my favorite one. The staff to customer ratio is excellent. The boat is nice and comfortable with lots of room on the dive deck. They have been operating for a long time so they have the good mooring sites. They do a flight on one of the directions so it limits traveling time and allows for more diving. They even put chocolates on your pillow before bed.. they do 3 or 4 night trips to the outer reef. They do not dive south of cook town so all the diving is excellent outer reef diving.. they will provide guides if you want them but give a lot of freedom to the experienced diver.
Taka Dive www.taka.com.au/
If you can not afford Mike Ball but still want a live a board maybe this is a good option, This boat is a cheap option to the above. The dive sites are similar but more rushed as they do not do the low level flight there is a lot of steaming on the boat so you are limited on time underwater as they have to move on. the food is not as good and the staff numbers are not as good. If mike balll is out of your budget this would be the next option. They do 3 or 4 night options.
Deep Sea Divers Den.- OceanQuest
If you are limited for time but want to sleep at sea. This is a chance to stay at sea but you do not really get to the outer reef where the excellent diving is. You can do from 1 to 5 nights on this boat. It departs daily so is very flexible. It is good value for money. But you are definitely not seeing the best of the reef.
Tusa Dive day trips
If you only have a day and are keen to get a few dives in check out tusa dive. This operation have a max of 60 people on board. They really cater for the diver as they do not go to a pontoon. The advantage is that the reef may be in better condition as they have 16 different locations they go to so there is not a heap of people out there every day. If you have non divers with you they are stuck on the boat.
Reef Magic www.reefmagic.com.au/
If you have a range of divers, try divers, no divers this is the best option for you. This is a big boat that takes you out to there big pontoon, there is usually over 100 people on board. It offers snorkeling, diving, try dives, sun backing, glass bottom boat experience & a great lunch. I had a good day on this boat. Although there is a lot of people on board there is usually not that many divers so you get look after. It is a full day trip and great for diver and no divers.
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