great barrier reef

Oct 7th, 2006, 11:19 AM
  #1  
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great barrier reef

I'm going to stay in cairns for 4 days at the end of October. I've planned 1 day for snokelling in the great barrier reef. Any suggestion? I want to go to the outer reef rather than some islands closed to cairns like green island. I prefer to have a tour for small number of guests. Another concern is the seasickness. What type of ship or tour should I choose in order to prevent seasickness. Small or big ship? thank you for your advice.
keithcheung is offline  
Oct 7th, 2006, 05:10 PM
  #2  
ALF
 
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Your desires for a small tour and to minimize seasickness are somewhat incompatible. The best boat for minimizing seasickness would be a larger one that accommodates more passengers. I think that one of the larger catamaran-type boats would be best. Also, some operators travel to a large platform that is permanently anchored next to the reef - this is more stable than a boat and does not move around as much.

There are at least a dozen choices of operators who will take you on a larger boat to the outer reef. We took a group of family and friends to an anchored platform called 'Marine World' (http://www.reefmagic.com.au/). There were about 100 passengers on the boat, but it was quite stable, and there was plenty of room. It has been my experience that few people stay snorkeling in the water for any length of time, so you will not feel like you are with a huge crowd of snorkelers.

ANother good choice would be Quicksilver (http://www.quicksilver-cruises.com/), which also has large cats and a platform.
ALF is offline  
Oct 7th, 2006, 07:47 PM
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We liked Wavelength out of Port Douglas (they can arrange a shuttle for you from Cairnes). We took our trip to the GBR in August 2004. There were only 30 passengers or so-I can't imagine going with 100 people. They provided us with seasickness pills before we departed. Fortunately, to our knowledge, no one on our trip got sick. You will love the GBR!
stragic is offline  
Oct 7th, 2006, 08:54 PM
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Alf is right - generally you'll be less seasick, if you are prone, on a larger boat or a more stable pontoon.

Reef Magic's pontoon is on an exceptionally good reef site and 100 isn't a lot for this pontoon. At any given time only about half will be in the water, the divers will be well away on the drop-off on the edge of the reef. There's plenty of snorkelling space away from other snorkellers once you swim a short distance from the pontoon. For stronger swimmers there's a marine biologist led snorkelling trip over to the drop-off, last time I was on Reef Magic there were only a few on this. Quicksilver's catamaran out of Port Douglas can take 400+, so Reef Magic's pontoon is always less crowded.

If you want small out of Cairns, check out Ecstasea, a motor sailer yacht with a maximum of 20 passengers and usually less than that. Definitely for a calmer day though, it fact it won't go out in a heavy wind. Normally late October should be lovely and calm - it is today, perfect reef weather with only about 10knots, but forecast on Tuesday is 25-30knots and that's not fun. Although reef operators will hand out ginger pills for seasickness, its too late once you're on the boat, you should dose before that and even the night before.

Reef trips won't lie to you about weather, just ask them which day's forecast is the best - they want you to have the best possible day, too.

pat_woolford is offline  
Oct 8th, 2006, 04:15 AM
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We went out to the Reef with Sunlover. We took seasick tablets and were fine, but the Japanese guests seemed to really suffer with sickness. There was plenty to do once on the reef and the time flew by. They had a semi-submersible boat, the opportunity to scuba dive (coast extra), snorkel as much as you liked, a touch tank of creatures for kids, the food was great. Also the opportunity to go in a helicopter over the reef which was a real once in a lifetime opportunity that I would thoroughly recommend. You'll love it!
dizzyb is offline  
Oct 8th, 2006, 04:16 AM
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Hi Keith,
Before you venture anywhere near Green Island, please search this Forum for comments on it. It may or may not help you to make up your mind whether it's the place for you.

Good Luck

Muck
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Oct 8th, 2006, 04:18 AM
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oops just read your post again (properly this time..lol)

Ignore what I said above..lol



Muck
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Oct 8th, 2006, 06:17 AM
  #8  
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Thank you for your suggestion and it does help me much. I'm still searching related information...
keithcheung is offline  
Oct 8th, 2006, 11:49 AM
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Another vote for Wavelength. Our day trip with them was fantastic. I did wear a seasickness patch but my husband didn't and was fine. Maybe we were lucky with the weather that day -- I don't remember anyone being seasick. All we remember is how incredible the snorkeling was!
lisa is offline  
Oct 8th, 2006, 09:44 PM
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Reef Magic also has a semisub and glass bottom boats, another reason why everyone aboard isn't snorkelling at the same time. Helicopter ride over reef from its pontoon is also available. Its all Australian owned and doesn't market to Asia so you don't get mass block bookings.

Mucky, I took my 14month old granddaughter on half day trip Green Island the other day, she's too little for a full day trip to outer reef. Haven't been there for a few years and have to say was pleasantly surprised with improvement in coral and marine life, was only snorkelling for half an hour(on north eastern side) and saw 5 turtles. Sea grass beds on which turtles feed in good condition. Sure, there are loads of Asian tour groups, but they all seem to stay on the boardwalk areas around the pool where there's a few eateries and shops. Or on the little beach near the jetty. The rest of the island was quite unoccupied and rather beautiful on a perfect day.
pat_woolford is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 01:14 AM
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Pat That's great news ! Green has the potential to be gorgeous but the white coral and commercialism that we saw seemed to me to be the sacrifice for the tourists in order to protect the rest.

I really hope it improves sufficiently for you to tell me its great and well worth a visit again.

I will then pop over from Wales and try it out...lol... I wish !!!!

Cheers

Muck
Mucky is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 11:00 AM
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How do ReefMagic & Quicksilver compare? I noticed that Quicksilver seems to be pricier, but there's also an underwalk option for nonswimmers that looks intriguing. I'm a terrible swimmer and my mom can't really swim at all. Apart from the capacity differences (Quicksilver being larger), any other differences? What do you think would be better?

Thanks!
111op is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 02:51 PM
  #13  
ALF
 
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I prefer Reef Magic to Quicksilver, as the former is not as gigantic an operation. I felt like we were with a giant mob on the Quicksilver boat and pontoon. Even if you aren't much of a swimmer, you can still go in a semi-submersible to see the Reef; and you can splash around right at the edge of the snorkeling area.

Can't speak to the 'underwalk' option, as I've never done that.

Here's another vote for the helicopter. At first I balked at the expense, but it was worth it.
ALF is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 03:16 PM
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Thanks ALF!
111op is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 04:58 PM
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Have been on both and second Alf for the same reasons.

The Quicksilver Ocean Walker Helmet diving option on a platform is AU$134pp - that's on top of the already steep cost of AU$199pp. Reef Magic is AU$160 which also includes extras such as government reef environmental charge and fuel levies.

You don't have to be much of a swimmer to snorkle - and life vests are available if you feel the need.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2007, 06:53 PM
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In Sydney now and doing some last-minute Googling to see what I should do in Cairns. I was still interested in the Helmet Dive, but I Googled and came across this damning review:

http://tinyurl.com/yen6og

I'll go with ReefMagic as you two suggested. Thanks.

Any thoughts re 5 min or 10 min helicopter ride? I think 5 minutes are enough? It's 65 AUD or something, I think.
111op is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2007, 08:17 AM
  #17  
ALF
 
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I don't remember which I did, but 5 minutes should be fine, given that you are taking off from the reef itself (i.e. none of that time is devoted to getting you there and back).
ALF is offline  
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