Spend a week on the Great Barrier Reef diving a variety of sites and you can send home quite a few video postcards. We did just that aboard the Coral Expeditions II which makes a loop north to Lizard from Cairns and then south to Hinchinbrook and back to Cairns.
Here’s Dory on Ribbon Reef 9.
The advantage of a boat like Coral Expeditions II is that you spend most of your day at your destination, rather than getting to it as with the days boats. This means we could get a number of dives in each day and spend time with the friendly locals.
Another advantage is the fact that because we were off the beaten track, typically we’re the only ones for miles around – so we have every bit of Ribbon Reef 9 to ourselves.
Up to Lizard, the boat hugs the coast, and south bound, Coral Expeditions II travels along the inside of the outer reef down the Ribbon Reefs all the way down to Ribbon Reef 3. The ride, as a result, is pretty smooth all the way.
After calling back in at Cairns, the sound bound leg takes us as far down as Pelorus and Orpheus islands, with an opportunity to dive their fringing reefs – normally only accessible if staying at one of the swish resorts on the islands.
Heading north bound again along the inside of the outer reef, we get to dive Nathan Reef – another of those reefs that see very few visitors. Certain the locals were surprised to see us.
Our last stop on the outer reefs was Sudbury Cay, which is very close to Fitzroy Island, where the guests of the Coral Expeditions II get a private tour around the turtle sanctuary there. Coincidence then that we should bump into (literally – the vis wasn’t crash hot) a lonesome turtle on Sudbury Cay.
There are a number of different liveaboards plying the Great Barrier Reef. If you want to dive a variety of sites – that has to be the way to go.
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