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October 2015 Queensland

Discussion in 'Australia' started by skibud, Sep 15, 2015.

  1. skibud

    skibud Registered

    10
    0
    Hi I am touring Queensland coast throughout October with my non diving wife. Albeit she loves to snorkel. We are in Port Douglas, Cairns, Mission beach, Magnetic Island, Airlie Beach, Yeppoon, Noosa Heads, with flexibility built in and days to play with. Should I look for a boat in Port Douglas to get a GBR dive or wait for another place. Ideally we would want quieter with scope for my wife to snorkel while I dive. Many thanks for any help you can give.
     
  2. Aquapro Dive Services

    Aquapro Dive Services Contributor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Cairns, Australia
    608
    79
    Port Douglas is about an hour drive north of Cairns and has a couple of good day boats like Poseidon and Silversonic. Both take around 80 passengers.

    There is Quicksilvers' pontoon, but its a big boat that goes out to a stable pontoon which offers glass bottom boats, etc. Not sure if your wife would like something like this or not.

    Port is a much quieter town than Cairns which is the central hub for trips to the GBR and hence a lot more choices.

    Pretty much all the trips have 60+ passengers to make it economical. These trips are fast and go to the Outer Reef with has some of the better diving out of Cairns for day trips.

    I think if you want a small quieter boat then it sounds like Reef Day Tripper (27 passengers) would suit as its still visits some good sites.

    One of the best day trips would be Tusa and although it does take around 60-80 passengers it offers the most time at the Reef, great service and some really great sites suitable for both snorkel and dive.

    For me in the FNQ look at Tusa or Day Tripper.

    Mission Beach has very little to offer nowadays (diving wise - its still a stunning place to visit and highly recommended for beaches and quiet get away). Since a cyclone caused a lot of damage to the area including Dunk Island (which is still closed for overnight stays) a few years ago, there are no real reef trips there.

    Magnetic island itself has a lot to offer for a getaway but not so much diving either. Not great diving off of the beach (very low vis) so you would need to take a day boat out of there, but the diving is far better in Cairns or down south (Noosa etc).

    I wil let some others who dive more out of the Sunshine coast with better reports (I am based in Cairns now, but owned a dive business in Mission beach for years and also run courses for other dive shops in Noosa, so know a fair bit about these areas).

    WetPup is a regular contributor here and is based in Townsville so am sure will give a far better run down of Townsville and Magnetic Island.
     
  3. WetPup

    WetPup Weedy Sea Dragon

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kiwiland
    1,108
    664
    Aquapro gives the best advice regarding Cairns and Port Douglas :)

    Mission Beach - No longer any diving unless you have your own boat (I have family there - but sadly no boat). The only dive shop in town got taken out during a cyclone. Dunk Island which is just off the coast (and also had a dive shop once upon a time) is not open at all at the moment for the same reason - got decimated in the same cyclone.

    Magnetic Island - But, but, but...The diving around the island itself is mediocre at best. However, Adrenalin Dive in Townsville operate a boat that goes out to the Yongala wreck - and it goes via Magnetic Island to pick up passengers on the way. So, no, I don't think the island itself is really worth diving, BUT, if you're there, you can still dive the Yongala!!! Another option, since it appears you will be driving (given your destinations) would be to drive to Alva Beach (the turn off is near Ayr, which you will be passing through just south of Townsville) and go out for a day trip with Yongala Dive instead. They're more reliable than the boat from Townsville (which gets cancelled with some regularity due to the weather). That being said, the Yongala is at about 26 meters depth, and not really suitable for snorkelling. Worth it if you can get out for a day though!
     
  4. Aquapro Dive Services

    Aquapro Dive Services Contributor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Cairns, Australia
    608
    79
    Thanks WetPup :) I don't know if the Yongala would suit unless your wife is happy to stay on land for the day whilst you went diving. Not suitable for snorkeling at all. With Adrenaline dive even though they do day trips to the Reef they seem to cancel all the time due to lack of numbers. I agree with WetPup about Ayr (Alva Beach for the Yongala). At Airlie beach its beautiful for sailing and seeing the numerous islands around there. That may be worth considering. I am sure some of those trips would run diving as well as snorkelling.
     
  5. WetPup

    WetPup Weedy Sea Dragon

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kiwiland
    1,108
    664
    Also worth bearing in mind for your non-diving partner is that October is the start of stinger season. Just be cautious about snorkelling anywhere near the coast while north of about Yeppoon, and wear full length exposure protection. Tour operators will provide this if you're out with them for the day, but if you're doing your own thing, just be careful :)
     
  6. skibud

    skibud Registered

    10
    0
    Many thanks guys for the tips, researching now.
     
  7. Steyr

    Steyr Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    75
    38
    skibud, I'm not sure how experienced a diver you are, but if you're fairly new to diving then another idea is a boat called the Reef Encounter out of Cairns. It's out on the reef permanently, with a day boat to shuttle new passengers out or take exiting passengers back. You can stay on the boat as many nights as you like.

    All sites that the Reef Encounter visits are suitable for both snorkelling and diving. In fact with 6 water sessions per day but only being allowed 4 dives, you can't help but get out for some snorkelling even as a certified diver. I spent 3 nights here with a non-diving girlfriend and we both loved every minute.

    The boat itself is fantastic, with private ensuites for all rooms, good dining facilities, heaps of food, comfy lounges, etc, and is surprisingly affordable (you can even stay for free if you are willing to work on the boat). The only catch is that the boat limits itself to half a dozen heavily dived shallow tourist sites. For a newer diver this is ok as everything you see will be amazing and wonderful, but for the more experienced diver after the most pristine and awe inspiring experience then you might be disappointed in the dive sites.

    If you're not fussed about the ultimate diving experience and instead want something comfortable, relaxing, and easily shared with the wife, then I definitely recommend it. Otherwise ditch the wife for a day and go do the Yongala. In fact do that anyway - the Yongala is definitely worth it!
     
  8. WetPup

    WetPup Weedy Sea Dragon

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kiwiland
    1,108
    664
    Just to avoid confusion - the Yongala is not a viable day trip from Cairns. You either need to be in Townsville/Magnetic Island (Adrenalin Dive) or Alva Beach (Yongala Dive) to dive the Yongala wreck. Either way, you're looking at a 4-6 hour drive south of Cairns just to get on a boat out to the wreck. You'd need to leave your wife behind in either Townsville/Magnetic Island (for the day) or Alva Beach (only half a day, the boat returns for a late lunch). The Yongala day trip boat from Townsville only goes out once or twice a week (pax numbers and weather pending), so you're usually better off going to Alva Beach and diving with Yongala Dive, as it's more reliable if you're short on time.

    Diving the Yongala is worth it, but treat diving it as something entirely separate to diving on the GBR off Cairns or Port Douglas.
     
  9. Iralub

    Iralub Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Australia
    210
    108
    I'm currently in port douglas and between this holiday and the one late last year I have now been on calypso, poseidon and silversonic. There isn't much difference between them for either diving or snorkeling. I think calypso alternates between opal reef and agincourt reef, while the other two always go to agincourt. They all have similar equipment, although fins for both divers and snorkelers are better on calypso. (I had my own, so didn't care). All have different sizes of tanks (important consideration for me) and all allow you to satisfy the stupid legal requirement to carry a snorkel by sticking it in your pocket.

    All ops have dives of 40 to 45 minutes, all require you to return with 50 bar (I think it's required by law in qld, but the dive duration and depth means you're unlikely to go below that anyway).

    Calypso and poseidon depth restrict you to 18m on first dive, 16 on second, silversonic didn't. But there is a hard bottom at 20m or less, so it doesn't matter. Also, no one cared when a few divers, including me, went to 20m on second dive to get close to a school of chevron barracuda :)

    All have groups of max of 8 per DM and will go to the maximum if there are enough divers. Silversonic and calypso are larger/more spacious boats.
     
  10. JohnnyRock

    JohnnyRock Registered

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Minnesota
    12
    0
    We are currently staying in Palm Cove and want to dive/snorkel out of Port Douglas. Has been windy our entire stay--and looks like that will continue. Wondering how that affects things on the reef. Captain of a river fishing boat my stepson was on told him not worth it to go diving on the reef. Is this accurate? Probably the only time we will be near the GBR and I think we should give it a shot at least two days. Thoughts?
     

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