Based on Hamilton Island right in the marina, the Explore Group run a number of day boats visiting various spots in the Whitsundays and the Outer Reef. The two snorkel and dive catamarans: the 24m Reef Explorer and the 19m Pure Dive regularly visit dive spots on Bait Reef – the closest of the Great Barrier Reef reefs, and around the Whitsunday Islands running both full day (double dive), and half day (single dive) trips for certified divers, introductory divers and snorkelers.
Outer Reef dive sites visited include Stepping Stones, Paradise Lagoon and Mantaray Dropoff on Bait Reef; and Luncheon Bay on the northwest of Hook Island.
Both boats are spacious custom built catamarans, with dry air-conditioned interior cabins up front, partially shaded observation deck featuring lounge-style seating and a generous dive deck astern. The hydraulically lowered stairs and rear platform that rests just below water level makes access to the Reef (and tender) easy and comfortable.
The Explore Group deliberately keep guest numbers well below capacity to ensure a more intimate experience on the Reef or dive site. Every trip includes a reef interpretative presentation or extensive dive briefing en-route during the cruise to the sites.
When you book in for your trip you can register all your requirements for any gear hire: all the dive gear is recent model, the regs have integral dive computers and wetsuits are provided.
The Dive Shop is located on Front Street and the boats dock in the marina opposite.
Enquiries: please contact the Explore Group directly on: +61 7 4946 9664 or via their website.
Departing at 8.30am the full day tour visits two dive locations on the Outer Reef, with at least three and a half hours spent on location on Bait Reef. The half day trip visits Luncheon Bay, with at least an hour and a half on location in the Bay.
After the boat safety briefing, the divers and snorkelers are separated and given thorough briefings for their activities which for the divers includes safety, logistics and three colourful slates worth of things that we were likely to see at our destination.
Prior to arrival, the divers move to the dive deck and leisurely gear up. Everything is assembled ready to go, so diving can start as soon as the boat is moored up. The snorkelers are kept off the dive deck until the divers are in the water – so it pretty much feels like you have the boat to yourself.
The stern is a wide stepped platform and the tender pulls parallel to the stern so it’s easy to step on-board even carrying camera gear. Within a few minutes of arrival we’re backward rolling into the water for the first dive.
Explore Group’s mantra is intimacy and information – so we are a small group of two buddied pairs and get to see everything the site has to offer that day.
On the full day trip, a sumptuous buffet style lunch is provided aboard the vessel, plus morning and afternoon teas. On the half day trip, we enjoy the smoked cheese, cheese sticks and fruit platter with a drink on the cruise back to Hamilton Marina.
Contact the Explore Group directly to make a booking.