Port Douglas/ Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef

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Jan 15th, 2015, 09:39 AM
  #1
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Port Douglas/ Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef

We will be in Port Douglas at the end of October and want to do GBR snorkeling. I do get sea sick so plan to take Dramamine or use the patch. What snorkeling boat would you suggest we use that maybe goes to an island where I can be on land for a while in between snorkeling instead of getting back on a rocking boat. Would also like to have a company that doesn't take too many people. Am I asking too much?? Thanks for any help you can give
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Jan 15th, 2015, 02:31 PM
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I have snorkeled many times from Port Douglas using several different boats, and the best snorkeling boat is, hands down, Wavelength. They are a small boat (maximum 30 passengers) which only offers snorkeling. They go to 3 different snorkeling sites on the Outer Reef which is where you find the most coral and sealife.

The "downside" to Wavelength for you would be that it is a small boat and there is no opportunity to be on land or on a fixed platform. I will say that I also suffer from seasickness, but I take my preferred form of relief (ginger capsules) and I have never gotten seasick on Wavelength. But, if you want something solid under your feet during some of your snorkeling trip, then Wavelength would not be the best choice for you.

But, you have two other options--go on a boat to the Low Isles or go on Quicksilver to their fixed pontoon.

Low Isles: There are a couple of boats that go to the Low Isles, Wavedancer (a Quicksilver boat) and Sailaway (which I have sailed on). Both of these boats are fairly small, so they don't take too many people. You can snorkel from the beach at the Low Isles and see some good sea life and coral (and sea turtles, if you are lucky). However, the Low Isles are not part of the Outer Reef, so you don't see the BEST of the GBR. (But, still, it's good!) These boats also have glass bottom boat rides which are fun.

Quicksilver: This is a very large boat that takes up to hundreds of passengers to their fixed platform on the Outer Reef. They have one area where you can snorkel and they also offer ways to see the reef without getting wet--an underwater viewing platform, glass bottom boat rides and a semi-submersible. On the fixed platform, you don't have the effects of motion as you would on a boat.

So, there are pros and cons to each of these companies, but you should be able to find one that suits your needs/wants.
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Jan 15th, 2015, 09:07 PM
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Thanks longhorn55 for the 3 different options..will look into all 3 on their websites to determine which would work. Can you give me more info on your use of ginger capsules..how much do you take, how long does it last, where do you get then, does it work better than dramamine or the patch??? I never knew of anyone who used them.
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Jan 16th, 2015, 10:45 AM
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Ginger root has been used for a long time for the prevention of nausea, especially that associated with seasickness. It's been tested by the Mayo Clinic (and even the Mythbusters) and found to be effective against nausea. Some people eat crystalized ginger or ginger snaps, but many people find the easiest way to take ginger is through tablets or capsules. These capsules are sold in pharmacies, natural food stores or simply in the pharmacy section of your local supermarket, which is where I buy mine.

Ginger doesn't cause the drowsiness associated with Dramamine. I hated feeling sleepy just to avoid seasickness, so that's when I started taking ginger. The label on the bottle I have suggests taking 2 capsules (550 mg) and that amount seems to work for an entire snorkel trip for me.

I don't know if it will work better than Dramamine or a patch for you, but it's a non-medicinal option that you might want to check out.
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Jan 16th, 2015, 07:12 PM
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I am definitely going to try ginger for this trip which will consist of 2 boat rides and 5 plane rides!! Thanks for the info.
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Jan 26th, 2015, 08:55 AM
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We were in Port Douglas this past November. We loved it. We had the same questions as you. Our hotel staff strongly suggested Quicksilver. They would not have been my 1st choice for reasons like yours...way too many people. She assured us that with so many stations on the fixed pontoon, we would not feel as though there were that many people on board.
She was right. We were very happy with this excursion. It was the only day we had the opportunity to snorkel in PD.
It is approx. 1 hour boat ride to the reef. We chose PD partly because it is the closest to the reef.
The snorkel was very good. I really enjoyed the semi-submersible boat that had available. Food was included and fine. Not motion problems. We did have quiet a bit of swells and waves on the trip out but no one seemed to be affected.
I have not been on any of the others, but I would not have any problem recommending QuickSilver.
Have a great time
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Feb 2nd, 2015, 01:02 PM
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I would highly recommend WAVELENGTH if you want a smaller group and not be with a cast of hundreds from the tour buses. They run a great operation-my daughter is an oceanographer and thought that Wavelength was well run and knowledgeable about the ocean and its wildlife.
Be sure to enjoy some meals at the restaurant called THE TIN SHED. It is considered a "social club" eatery overlooking the water and the food is not only reasonable but very tasty! Their fresh seafood is out of this world. They will ask you to sign the guestbook when you walk in if you are not from PD and after that you go for a table-very popular!My daughter and I loved it so much that we ate there several times.The 4 MILE BEACH is also a nice place to beach comb and relax.
I would also recommend doing a day trip to Daintree Rain Forest and the Mossman Gorge.The paddle wheel boat called the Lady Douglas is also worth going on as you see the crocodiles,eagles,etc. on the trip with a complimentary glass of wine or champagne. It goes down the river through the mangrove swamps and really shows you a different side of the area.Have fun!
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Feb 2nd, 2015, 02:40 PM
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dutyfree--great info about wavelength and it is my first choice if I take the Ginger capsules for sea skickness and don't need the fixed platform that QuickSilver has. We are planning to get to Daintree and Mossman Gorge too. I hadn't heard about TIN SHED so that is now on my to do list while in PD....thanks for taking the time to post!!!
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Oct 18th, 2017, 01:45 PM
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Just make sure you bring your own supply of Dramamine - it is not available for sale in Australia.
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Oct 20th, 2017, 12:59 AM
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We went on the Quicksilver tour out of PD to the Agincourt Reef. There were quite a lot of people on board but the pontoon was roomy enough for all to spread out. The staff took safety very seriously which was good to see. The included lunch was very nice and plenty of food.
If you scuba dive a lot you will be used to open water but out there it was a bit disconcerting to be just surrounded by sea! However it was a great trip and I recommend it.
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Oct 20th, 2017, 04:50 PM
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We used this company. http://www.reefsprinter.com.au They do a quick 15 minute boat trip to low Isles, and you get to actually be on land for a lot of the time if you wish. I had never snorkelled before, and actually panicked when I put the mask on so didn't do any. My DH did though and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had a nice time just lying in the sun on the sand!!! A great way to spend a morning.

They also go early and leave before the bigger boats come in. The boat trip was so fast, there is no time to get sea-sick, and I get sea-sick on a calm day!
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Oct 20th, 2017, 08:11 PM
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Just an FYI: The trip was 2 years ago this month -- the thread is nearly 3 yo.
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