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Five star diving off Cairns

AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 1 August 2009 | Views [2536]

The turtles do come this close diving on the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns with Silver Swift

The turtles do come this close diving on the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns with Silver Swift

Diving on the Great Barrier Reef is an experience you should never to turn down. I have been diving in many places around the world, and the reef still has some of the best combination of hard and soft coral, giant clams, hawkesbill turtles and schools of fish I have seen.

While recently in Cairns, I had the chance to go diving with Silver Swift - a luxury catamaran and day-trippers dream. Silver Swift is one the best dive boats I have ever been on. It's purpose built for diving and snorkeling and is a pretty smooth ride, despite the choppy conditions out to the reef. 

I went on 3 dives on Flynn Reef and all of them were impressive. Each dive was different and had different highlights - coral bommies filled with schools of baby fish, lion fish hiding in crevices, turtles swimming amongst us (despite accidently being kicked in the head by one of our group - and no, it wasn't me!) and some of the biggest clams I have seen since I was a kid.  I was expecting the sites to be well worn considering the number of boats and people that dive and snorkel there every day. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the impact on the reef was marginal. 

It's such a pleasure to go diving with a professional boat where the crew actually go out of their way to help and are friendly and informative. It's nice to be given a dive briefing which actually sets you up for a great dive, not just drop you in, wondering what's going on! I am used to dive trips where you are pretty self sufficient, where you're responsible for your gear, changing tanks and generally getting sorted. When you don't dive very often, this can all be a bit stressful, particularly on the first dive. On Silver Swift, however, there's no need to worry as the crew do this for you - it's so easy! Just step out of your gear, head inside to warm up, enjoy a bit of food or hot cup of tea, and then voila, your tanks are changed and you're ready to go again! Nothing was too much trouble, and it made for a great day of diving. 

It wasn't a blue bird day, and it was quite choppy and chilly on the surface, so I was pleased to be underwater rather than on top. Despite this, there were still lots of snorkelers on the trip, including two colleagues, who despite turning rather green on the way out and back, jumped in and got stuck in. 

Our dive master, was helpful and made sure we all stuck to the plan. I am pretty good on air, so thankfully he made an exception for me, and we were able to see a lot more than others in the group who had to surface after 30 minutes.  My only concern was his tendency to pick up and play with the wildlife. I like sea cucumbers and nudibranches - I like them even better when they are left to their own devices, hanging out on the coral or sea bed where they belong. When dive masters pick stuff up, you're giving other divers permission to do the same. Needless to say, despite this one personal gripe, I had a fantastic day, and would definitely recommend this to anyone visiting Cairns.

A huge thanks to Steve from Pro Dive Cairns who made this day possible.

Tags: cairns, diving, great barrier reef, pro dive, silver swift, snorkeling


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