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Recommendations needed for snorkeling daytrips to outer reef from Palm Cove, prefer smaller size

Recommendations needed for snorkeling daytrips to outer reef from Palm Cove, prefer smaller size

Old Apr 23rd, 2002, 04:02 PM
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Recommendations needed for snorkeling daytrips to outer reef from Palm Cove, prefer smaller size

We are planning to stay in Palm Cove for 4 days, 4 nights, and would like to spend one day on a daytrip to the outer reef. I've done a little research and read some reports on this forum, and while some of the amenities offered by the larger operators sound fun (submersibles, glass bottom boats, etc.), we tend to enjoy smaller groups more and don't think we would enjoy a trip with 300-400 other people -- we want something relaxing where we will have the opportunity to see lots of marine life. We have both snorkelled several times before but are not divers. Since this is our first time in Australia and we may not be back again for quite some time, we want to see the best that the outer reef has to offer, to the extent that we can in one day. Obviously we want to go with someone safe, environmentally-conscious, and knowledgable about the marine life on the reef. Other than that we just want a comfortable ride and a decent lunch. Originally I thought it would be nicer to take a sailing vessel rather than a motorized one, but it sounds like the faster boats are necessary to get to & from the outer reef in a decent timeframe to allow good time for snorkeling. Cost is not the primary consideration -- we are willing to spend more if it will mean a more positive, memorable experience. I would be interested in any suggestions, recommendations, experiences anyone has had. Thanks.
Old Apr 23rd, 2002, 04:22 PM
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Hi there, i would suggest Wavelength for your snorkelling experience as they are the only reef operators specialising in snorkelling. The cost is $150 ex palm cove and that includes a guided tour with a marine biologist, a yummy lunch, morning and afternoon tea as well. They have advanced aeco accrediation and go to three outer reef sites specially selected for snorkelling. Oh and they only take 30 people. their web site address is www.wavlength-reef.com.au
sailing to the outer reef is difficult as the reef is located 32 nautical miles from the coast and sailing would take too long. Wavelength takes 90 minutes to get to the outer reef, so you get 5 hours to snorkel.
I hope you enjoy your time here. I am a local in the area and have been for the past 8 years.
Old Apr 23rd, 2002, 05:33 PM
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Hi we went to the reef from Palm Cove as we were staying at the Novatel Palm Cove. We learned about the Green Island tours which take you for either 1/2 or 1 full day out to Green Island on the reef. You can then snorkel, use the submarine or the glass bottom boat. In no case did we have more than 20 people with us. The groups were small and we were picked up in Palm Cove and returned to Cairns with their bus then taking us to Palm Cove. The price was not very high. You can see all the operators at the hotel tour desk (we had researched and decided we didn't want to stay out for 10 hours and so we took the shorter Green Island tour. It was great - lunch was excellent and the tour operators were just what we were looking for.
Old Apr 24th, 2002, 06:54 AM
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Thank you so much Carolynne and Patti for your suggestions. It looks like Wavelength is exactly what we are looking for -- I appreciate the advice!
Old Apr 27th, 2002, 04:39 PM
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Hi there, I have been to Green Islan, Fitzroy Island, Low isles, Upolu Cay, Michaelmas Cay, Snapper Island and Mackay Cay.
If I hadnt been to any other places I too would have thought Green Island was good....but compared to what I have seen on the outer ree...green island doesnt cut it. it is the most popularly visited island in north qld, owned by japanese and 2000 people a day go there. I found the coral close to the island mostly dead, I had to pay extra to go away from the island to dive and see some live stuff. also the visibility around islands is never usually good.
Glass bottom boats and submersibles are for people who dont want to snorkel.
Im glad you have chosen wavelength... they will be perfect for you.
Old Jul 2nd, 2002, 04:01 AM
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Are you back from Australia Lisa? I always enjoy your trip reports and would love to learn about your experiences in Australia. Please let me know how long was your flight from the East Coast to.... Where did you fly to and what arilnes? Any other details will be great. Thanks
Old Jul 2nd, 2002, 07:05 PM
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I believe only one boat actually leaves from the Palm cove pier but returns to Cairns due to wave action in afternoon. All the other companies I checked with pick you up at your hotel and actually leave from Port Douglass, including Wavelenght which I was very impressed with. I can't remember the name of that one company but it only went to Green Island. Palm cove is not a convenient place to catch the reef trips unless you take the buses to either Cairns or PD.
Old Jul 3rd, 2002, 07:35 AM
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lisa ,

i would recommend "passions of paradise" - located at www.passionsofparadise.com - they do a trip to the inner and outer reef (upolu cay) - the people there have been very helpful to my wife and i in setting up our trip - very reasonably priced - and they will pick you up at your accommodation in palm cove and take you to cairns for departure. i've probably e-mailed them about 5 times and have gotten LENGTHY and warm replies. good luck and have a fabulous time snorkelling!
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