Scuba trip Great Barrier Reef

Old Apr 20th, 2016, 10:34 AM
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Scuba trip Great Barrier Reef

I cannot find any thread on this question when I searched. My husband is a life-long scuba diver, turning 65 in 2016. I would love for him to fill a life's dream of scuba diving on Great Barrier Reef. He has always been interested in "live-aboards" - that is you live on a medium sized dive boat for 4+ days and scuba dive until your eyes pop out of your head. I would not be going - he would go with a friend. I don't dive and 30+ hours on a plane would be a deal-breaker for me. We live in Boston, MA, USA.

Don't even know where to start to research and plan this, so any input would be welcome. thanks.
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Old Apr 20th, 2016, 05:55 PM
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Have you looked at the Australia forum on Trip Advisor? Liveaboards are often discussed on that site.
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Old Apr 20th, 2016, 10:01 PM
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Hi Gail
He should fly into Cairns if he can - Brisbane or Sydney if he can't make the Cairns connection work. There are direct flights to Cairns from both of them. Brisbane is closer, as you will no doubt have seen on the map.

If he has to do a domestic hop - Qantas, Virgin or Jerstar fly that leg.
Qantas or Virgin would be better if they have a reasonable amount of gear, as they are full service carriers, with more generous luggage allowances included in the fares. Jetstar is a low cost subsidiary of QF & has tighter allowances, which have to be purchased. And stricter rules re boarding times etc.

Webjet.com.au is a useful resource to check schedules & fares - but tell them to book direct with the airline.

Many people prefer to stay in Port Douglas, about an hour's drive north from Cairns, but if they are just doing an overnight & then going out on the reef, it probably won't make much difference to them.

Best months are our winter - June - September. It will be gorgeous weather in FNQ then. I've done a couple of live-aboards, but it was a while ago, so not current with who's who. I used Pro-Dive & they were great.

How long would they have? There's an absolute cornucopia of wildlife, rainforests & things to do & see up there.

www.tropicalnorthwueensland.org.au
www.prodivecairns.com/3dayouterreef

It would be a great trip foe a couple of diving friends.
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Old Apr 21st, 2016, 01:40 AM
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You are very kind to organise such a trip for your husband - hope he repays you when it's your birthday.
Google "gbr diving cairns" and you will get some sites and have a look at Trip Advisor.
We did a day trip with Quiksilver out to the Agincourt reef and it was great (snorkelling not diving though). They are based in Port Douglas. Most of our snorkelling is done close to shore but out on the reef it's the open sea and quite a different experience. The staff were very safety conscious which was good.
Don't stay behind - it shouldn't be a 30 hour flight? My friend in New York flew to a wedding in Melbourne recently which was 5 hours NY to LA and then 16 hours LA to Melbourne
Agree with trying to fly into Cairns/Brisbane.
The Kuranda village and railway trip in Cairns was amazing as you are right in the rainforest. There are lots of other things you might enjoy doing in Cairns if you go with him. The Botanical Gardens are lovely.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2016, 07:19 AM
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It's unfortunate that the GBR is undergoing one of the largest bleaching (die-off) events in known history. The effects are most noticeable north of Cairns/Port Douglas where 99% of reefs are bleached (81% severely). Overall, 93% of the GBR has "died." So if you do go, try to stay southeast of Mackay where the effect is the least.

Sadly, I've already removed the GBR from my "bucket list."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/...b0d912d5fde8d4
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Old Apr 23rd, 2016, 02:20 AM
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Thanks all. I new GBR was having issues, but did not realize it was so bad. So where should he go instead. Some exotic Pacific island?

As far as my going with him - not likely. I am comfortable traveling alone, so even if he was on a boat for several days I would be OK. Unfortunately due to family responsibilities, we can't both travel that far at the same time.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2016, 05:34 AM
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If he has somewhat advanced skills, some of the best reef and structure diving out there is in Fiji around Taveuni and the Soma Soma Strait. For great wreck diving, Truk and Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu (for the fabulous SS President Coolidge). Of course, the old standbys are excellent, too: Palau, PNG, Indonesia...
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Old Apr 26th, 2016, 07:32 AM
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I dove the GBR/ Osprey reef about 10 years ago (I'm also from Boston). These 2 links should give you all the info you need.
The 2nd one looks like the itinerary that I used.

It was a great trip!!

Feel free to contact me if you want more info.


http://www.mikeball.com

https://www.divingcairns.com.au/liveaboard17
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Old Apr 30th, 2016, 09:55 AM
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HI Gail. I would suggest you explore www.scubaboard.com. In the "community" section scroll down to "Asia and Pacific Islands". You will find a lot of information. You can also post your question for answers from divers who are in the know.

Cheers,
TC
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Old May 9th, 2016, 01:40 PM
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Hi,
I have never been to Australia personally yet, but I am fanatic diver and my liveaboard diving holidays in Maldives, Red Sea, Thailand and Philippines for the past 8 years were the days of my life, all of them
There is online marketplaces now where you can find reviews, dates, prices - everything you need to choose boat, itinerary and book.
I know and use:
https://divebooker.com/boatsearch?et=2&e=3840
http://www.scubaba.com/
http://diveadvisor.com/australia/liveaboards
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Old Jul 24th, 2016, 02:18 PM
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How did the planning go? I'm sure you got some great info from some of the dive focussed sites that have been mentioned above.

Yes there is bleaching, but don't let those numbers scare you off. These numbers are a little confusing. 99% does not mean that 99% of the reef is bleached. Studies have shown that 99% of coral heads show 'some signs of bleaching', which means that much of it is still un noticeable.

I dive that way a lot, and taught diving in the area for many years aboard both Pro Dive Townsville and Mike Ball Live Aboards, along with teaching on a platform out of Airlie Beach.

I've always found the best diving up north and definitely on liveaboards. You will find Bommies with large white scars, however you will also see the majority in pristine conditions with a huge array of fish species.
Mikeball.com do a great research trip every year with a group of scientists to do some research on the Nautilus which is something pretty special. May be something he wants to look at.
Marineencounters.com.au also do a few great research trips, with scientists aboard that can be a really unforgettable experience.

Its a long way down, but worth it. Best to stay a coupe of weeks also to see other parts of the country, as most people won't go back due to the distance.

The other coast also has some spectacular diving, closer towards Fiji. Ningaloo Reef is smaller but more spectacular than the GBR to dive in my opinion.
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