The Liveaboard Scuba Diving Vacation

scuba diving liveaboards on Australia's Great Barrier Reef
scuba dive

Cairns Scuba Diving Liveaboard Tour

Cairns is the centre of the diving universe when it come to Liveaboard scuba diving vacations.

The Liveaboard scuba diver has more option to choice from and greater flexibility then anywhere else.

You will find flexibility in the number of days, the type of vessels,  the level of comfort and the choice of dive destinations.

Scuba Diving

A scuba diving vacation is of course focused on the diving. From the Cairns area you have two basic destinations for your diving and within those two a wide range of dive sites for all skill levels of scuba divers.

The outer reefs such as Norman, Saxon and Hastings Reefs are the popular destination for the shorter Liveaboard.

These three reefs represents some of the best diving in the Great Barrier Reef park.

As outer reefs they provide the opportunity for some of the best visibility as well as attracting some of the larger species.

Pelagic species such as sharks, tuna, mackerel and rays are among those that rise from the nearby 1,000 meter plus depths to feed in the shallower calmer waters of the barrier reefs. The incoming tides bring fresh nutrients from the cold depths to the corals and reef fishes around the shallow reefs.

The rich feeding grounds for all species results in spectacular corals and marine life populations.

The outgoing tides take any waste out with them.

The Ribbon Reefs and the off shore reefs such as the Osprey reef  are the prime destination of the week long Liveaboard.

The Ribbon Reefs are a chain of ten narrow reefs that stretch for about 55 miles from an area north of Cooktown to the Lizard Island National Park.

The reefs have very few openings between then providing an all most unbroken chain.

The reefs sit on the edge of the continental shelf which means the water in front of the reef is over a 1,000 meters deep.

The reefs themselves are generally less than 20 metres below the surface with many places reaching to five metres from the surface.

The depth of the water behind the reef seldom is deeper than 30 meters.

The Ribbon Reefs are the home of a number of endanger species and at times of the year the playground of Dwarf Minke Whales.

Some of the most famous dive sites in the world are found here including, Cod Hole and Steve’s Bommie.

The Osprey Reef is a further nine hour sail beyond the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. A submerged mountain top that rises from a ocean depth of over a thousand metres, to as close as 5 metres from the surface.

The Cairns Liveaboard Choices

The Liveaboard doing the outer reefs are mostly doing shorter cruises.

The Liveaboard with the short two or three day schedules and the Liveaboard with the flexible schedules will be found sailing these reefs.

While the daily dive boats also visit these reefs, doing so on a Liveaboard brings another dimension to the diving  the reef experience.

Liveaboard are already on the reef at sunrise,  the most active time of the day on a reef.

Also the lighting is such that the colours seem more alive than later in the day.

While the daily boats are racing back to port, a diver on a Liveaboard can still be in the water.

While the daily vessels are docking the Liveaboard scuba diver is preparing for dinner and is pumped for a night dive.

Possibly is fourth dive of the day versus the daily possible two dives. As the sunset the diver on the Liveaboard is there to count the stars.

One concept that is popular in Cairns are the Liveaboard with flexible schedules.

A couple of different companies offer then, each targeting their own segment of the market.

The Liveaboard stays on station cruising between two or three different reefs each day. Instead of stopping the diving to head back to port, guest and supplies are transported to the Liveaboard by a daily dive vessel.

The MV Reef Encounter and the MV Reef Experience is such a combination.

The MV Reef Encounter is a floating boutique hotel that is also a scuba diving Liveaboard. It provides 21 luxurious staterooms to its maximum of 42 guest.

The MV Reef Experience is a daily boat out of Cairns.  Guest for the MV Reef Encounter boards the MV Reef Experience for an 8 am departure from Cairns and are in their staterooms aboard the MV Reef Encounter before 10 am.

Two Scuba diving Liveaboard are the leaders in the week long trips to the Ribbon Reefs and the Osprey Reef, they are the Spirit of Freedom and the Spoilsport.

Both departs Cairns and head towards Lizard Island National Park and return.

The trip to Lizard Island is either a three day or four day trips. The day portions is the segment that includes Osprey Reef.

Scuba Divers can either join or leave the vessels at Lizard Island with a special low-level flight back to Cairns.

Is It All Scuba Diving?

The old traditions of a scuba Liveaboard being focused solely on the next dive is disappearing.

While there are a few speciality excursions that are still just dive related the majority of the scuba Liveaboard provide the diver a balance floating vacation.

In the past, who ever could burn the eggs the least got the job as cook.

Many scuba diving Liveaboard now have trained chefs who prepare the meals.

Scuba Divers can choose vessels from small intimate sail boats what accommodate six divers to Luxury yacht like vessels that will keep 40 guest in relax elegance.

Spacious sun decks balance out comfortable air conditioned saloons.

Some of the Liveaboard have glass bottom boats for reef observation when you are not diving.

Many snorkelers find these Liveaboard an equally appealing vacation.

So for your next diving vacation, skip a land base resort and select a Cairns based Scuba Diving Liveaboard.