In July 2020 we got the opportunity to do a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef with “Down Under Cruise & Dive”. My friend was visiting from Sydney, and being a massive dive enthusiast she had always dreamed of seeing the Great Barrier Reef.
We headed to the Cairns Reef Fleet terminal ready for our check in at 7:30am. Needless to say, we were glad to see cafes open right next to the Reef Fleet terminal. Hallelujah, coffee please!
With directions from the staff at the check in counter, we easily navigated our way through the docks to the gorgeous vessel, “Evolution”. It was not hard to miss, as it was easily the largest and newest looking boat in the marina. Before we boarded the vessel, we had our tickets checked by a friendly staff member, who also took our photo. On board, we were asked if we would be diving on the trip. We did pre-book our dives prior to the day, just to ensure there would be availability. I highly recommend doing so, so you don’t miss out! I had booked two introductory dives for myself, and my friend, who was a qualified diver, had booked three dives.
Once we settled ourselves into an indoor booth, we helped ourselves to some tea and cake, which was laid out on the bar/galley area, where staff members supervised the spread and ensured social distancing was followed by all. There was plenty of hand sanitiser provided around all areas of the boat. The boat departed at 8:15am sharp, and we were off! During the 2-hour trip to the Outer Great Barrier Reef, we decided to shift ourselves outside onto the generous sun beds. There were plenty of outdoor spacious seating areas, shaded or in the full sun.
It was approximately 10:30am, when we arrived at our first site on the Great Barrier Reef. The “Down Under Cruise & Dive” staff held safety briefings for all guests, depending on the activity you would be doing for the day. Waivers and questionnaires had to be filled out by all divers. With no other boats in sight, there was an air of excitement, as people were eager to get into the water. I could not blame them either, the water was an invitingly deep blue and the visibility was stunningly clear.
We were treated to amazing sights of Giant Trevally, Anemone fish, White Tip Reef sharks, giant clams and Bumphead Parrot fish. At the 2nd site we even saw a Green Turtle! I managed to sneak in 3rd introductory dive, due to low numbers of divers on the boat that day. Payment was accepted on board, which was very convenient. Lunch was served around midday, with a selection of salads and steak or fish as options. The staff served you, so there was no communal handling of the food utensils, which was encouraging to see.
During the dives, my friend was part of the advanced diving group, where they visited sites a bit further away from the boat. She thoroughly enjoyed the dives and had plenty of videos and photos to share. When I asked her about her overall experience, she said she was definitely coming to visit again and started looking into Live aboard experiences available in Cairns! Keen much?
Overall, our experience on the Outer Great Barrier Reef day trip, was a wonderful one. I highly recommend, if you are a first time diver, to try and get in that second dive. Especially, if your first introductory dive was enjoyable. On the introductory second dive, they do not require you to link an arm, which makes for a more adventurous experience!
Don’t forget there are plenty of ways to experience the Great Barrier Reef as a tourist. If you are unsure of what experience is best for you, you can always visit our Tour Desk at Southern Cross Atrium Apartments and ask our friendly staff members for advice.