Diving GBR

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Mar 14th, 2006, 01:06 PM
  #1
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Diving GBR

My husband and I are going to be visiting the GBR in April. We are both PADI certified and ideally would like to find an operation that offers a morning and afternoon dive on the Wednesday that we are there. Any suggestions? Also wondering how far in advance we need to book?
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Mar 14th, 2006, 03:38 PM
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lightfoot33 - whereabouts on the GBR do you intend to go diving? the reef extends from far north Queensland, down south to a point just north of Bundaberg, and there are numerous resorts/island accommodation, they will take you out of the barrier reef. Most overseas visitors "only" think of the Cairns area, and nothing else, without knowing there are numerous reef excursions all up & down the Qld coast. If you want a real great barrier reef "experience", then opt to stay on Heron Island, just off the coast from Gladstone. You can fly to Gladstone, and then take a helicopter flight out to the island, or go by boat.
Heron Island is situated in the Capricorn/Bunker Group islands of the southern Great Barrier Reef. Apart from staying on Heron Island, you can take their optional side trip, and also stay a couple of nights on nearby Wilson Island, to get that Castaway feeling.
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Mar 16th, 2006, 01:09 AM
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I second that, I have dived, (albeit snorkeling) off nearly all of the resorts on the GBR and by far the best and most amazing area is just off Heron Island. If you can put up with the smell of Heron it was also a nice place to stay (but that was many years ago). If you are going by boat out to the reef from Gladstone make sure you take sea sickness tablets - virtually no one escapes without throwing up on that journey. I also agree that flying by helicopter was also terrific and besides being faster, you see so much more of the reef.
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Mar 16th, 2006, 03:42 PM
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lightfoot, what jjah is referring to regarding the smell on Heron Island, in fact on nearly all the Capricorn/Bunker Groups coral cay islands, is the smell of birds droppings. The pisona trees which you will find on most of these islands are usually covered by nesting frigates, mutton birds or sooty tern birds, and of course, one must at least expect a bit of droppings directly below the trees, hey thats nature.
Because of the distance between the mainland and Heron island, it a wise to take sea sick tablets before leaving on the boat (both ways). The mainland is not visible when you are on the island, thus a real castaway feel about it. But they do have chefs, showers, nice wine, etc, so its not too rough a holiday.
Apart from the spectacular coral reef diving, birdlife, turtles, and visiting other nearby coral cay islands/or reefs on day trips, it is very pleasant to sit outside the bar with a cheeky white wine watching the mutton birds returning at twilight to nest.
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Mar 17th, 2006, 01:04 PM
  #5
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Thank you everyone for your responses. Although Heron Island is a great suggestion, we will be flying into Cairns and do not have the time to take an additional flight to Gladstone.
If there are any locations closer to Cairns, feel free to offer up suggestions of not only dive sites, but also dive companies. As I said in my original post, we are hoping to dive twice while we are there.
Thank you!
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Mar 17th, 2006, 11:25 PM
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Pity you can't visit Heron Island, oh well, as for Cairns, its a large city, with heaps of tourist operators, that can take you out on diving trips with other tourists. Probably no need to book, just speak to your hotel people when you arrive, and they will book you into a dive visit.
There is a coral cay island off Cairns, called Green Island, but its been loved to death, and is in decay. Pat can explain that to you much better.
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Mar 18th, 2006, 01:24 AM
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Trop, Green Island has suffered because of its proximity to mainland, but it is still a true coral cay. Its eastern side is over-touristed, however on its outer side there is a lovely reef, with only one operator visiting daily - Ocean Free, a yacht which takes a max of 30 people.

However, this is not for Lightfoot who is PADI certified - Tusa Dive out of Cairns is the longest established day dive operator in the far north, their boats are fast and they have permits for at least 20 reef sites. Skipper chooses the best sites of the day in light of weather and tides, only a max of 28 passengers. It is necessary to pre-book on Tusa, with small passenger capacity, they are often full.

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Mar 20th, 2006, 07:38 AM
  #8
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Thank you Pat for the recommendation. We will plan on pre-booking with Tusa Dive. We look forward to staying at your B&B while we are there, and our thoughts are with you (and the rest of Queensland) as you recover from the cyclone.
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