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Poseidon. Poseidon conducts guided snorkeling and PADI-style diving trips to sites at three separate parts of the Agincourt Ribbon Reef on a small, usually uncrowded boat, and longer cruises to Outer Great Barrier Reef sites, with excellent pre-dive briefings by a marine naturalist, high safety standards, and a wider-than-average choice of dive sites. A day's cruise is A$195.50, plus a rental fee for diving or snorkeling gear; introductory diving, including tuition, cruise, all gear and up to three underwater forays, is A$250 (with one dive; subsequent dives are A$40 each). For certified divers, a full day in the water, including two or three dives and a buffet lunch, is A$230-A$245. Grant and Macrossan Sts., Port Douglas, QLD, 4877. 1800/085-674 or 07/4099-4772. www.poseidon-cruises.com.au. A$195.50-A$250 cruise, A$5.50 reef tax. Daily 8:30-4:30.
Quicksilver Connections. Quicksilver Connections runs fast, modern catamarans from the Port Douglas marina to a large commercial activity platform at Agincourt Reef on the Outer Great Barrier Reef (A$205), where options include marine-biologist-guided snorkeling tours (A$47-$67), scuba diving (A$99-A$149), 10-minute scenic heli-tours (A$148), and "Ocean Walker" sea-bed tours (A$146). There's also a semisubmersible underwater observatory. A quieter sailing excursion to a Low Isles coral cay, closer to shore (A$150), includes a biologist-guided glass-bottom-boat trip and snorkeling. Everyone pays a A$5.50 reef tax. The staff is patient, efficient, and knowledgeable. The trip includes a lunch buffet. Transfers are available from Port Douglas accommodations, Palm Cove, the Northern Beaches, and Cairns (A$8-A420). Marina Mirage, 1 Wharf St., Port Douglas, QLD, 4877. P.O. Box 171, Port Douglas, QLD, 4877. 07/4087-2100. www.quicksilver-cruises.com.
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