Hey there, we've survived the Great Barrier Reef and are back in Cairns.
We started off on the Reef Quest, a "small" boat which does the day trips and makes the transfers to the Ocean Quest which is the boat we stay over night on.
We made our first two dives on the reef from this first boat, had lunch then transferred to the Ocean Quest for one more day dive, dinner then the night dive.
This was a very impressive ship, it sleeps 48 people, has a full dining room, a lounge, bar, and two sun decks. The rooms all have private bathrooms, TVs and a bed and rivals some of the nicer hostels we stayed in so far. On the back lowest level is the diving platform and staging area. Everyone's gear was here and in numbered slots so all you had to do was get to your slot, put on your gear and walk down a set of stairs to the dive platform at the waterline. The entire operation was a well oiled machine. From the loading of passengers to the launching and retrieving of divers.
The dives were awesome! The visibility varied between 30 and 60 feet, not the best we've seen but the variety of coral and ocean life was amazing. We saw tons of species of fish, octopus, sharks, coral, and turtles. It was great.
We did our first open ocean night dive and that was pretty cool. We had a Giant Trevally using the lights from our flashlights to find it's dinner. Every time we would see a fish and shine our lights on it the Trevally would come in and try to kill what we were looking at. It was amazing how fast it was, it would swim just under us then just accelerate into the fish. On the way back to the boat we turned off the lights and sat on the bottom looking up at the full moon watching the schools of fish swim by. It was so bright we really didn't need the lights. One the way back up to the surface we saw our first White Tipped Reef Shark hunting the fish which were drawn to the lights under the boat. Very cool to see him, just a beautiful fish.
On the ship we got some of the best sleep, the gentle rocking of the boat and the low hum of the generator put us right to sleep.
We made a total of 10 dives over three days. They feed us three meals a day and showed movies at night after the night dive and desert time finished. If you're ever thinking of doing a live aboard dive trip on the GBR this is the company we would recommend.
Well we met some girls on the boat, one from Holland the other from Denmark and we're going to go to dinner with them here in town. Tomorrow we'll head up to Port Douglas while we wait our 24 hours before flying after diving.
I've tried to upload some photos but this PC is ungodly slow on the connection and keeps timing out while uploading them. You can pretty much just Google the GBR and see what it looks like. I didn't get any under water shots so they're just of the ship and some of the colorful water. We'll have to show you them when we get back.
Hope everyone is doing well and we'll talk to you soon!
Mike & Jen.