Discover Liveaboard Snorkeling Vacations on the Great Barrier Reef
For decades, Liveaboards had given Scuba divers the opportunity to travel and explore coral reefs and other dive destinations beyond the range of day trips.
A smaller number of Snorkelers have also ventured out on these scuba diving Liveaboards. However, in the past the snorkeler had a very limited experience.
In the Cairns area that is no longer the situation.
The outer reefs of the Great Barrier Reef presents unique opportunities for the snorkeler that they can not find elsewhere.
The Cairns based Liveaboards offer a range of comfort levels that appeal to most people.
These two factors combined gives the snorkeler the same opportunities that a scuba diver has had for decades, but now the Liveaboard activities are matched to their own interest.
Snorkeling is a very easy sport to learn and just about anyone can learn the basics.
Perhaps because it is so easy to learn many people do not see the benefits of snorkeling and how one can proceed well beyond the basic floating on the surface.
A snorkeler with a little training and practice can spend a couple of minutes five or ten meters below the surface examining a reef or playing with a turtle.
Many Snorkelers relish that they do not need the extra gear and expense to enjoy a site that the diving brothers and sisters do.
A minute or two to don the mask, snorkel, fins and perhaps a vest then they are over the side and amongst the corals and its inhabitants.
A shallow reef site such as many of the outer reef mooring sites are as equally welcoming to the snorkeler as they are to the diver.
What Makes Cairns Snorkeling Liveaboards Different
As mentioned the scuba diving sites in the outer reef area are equally enjoyable by both diver and snorkelers, however, it goes beyond just great sites.
The Liveaboards in Cairns have always been at the leading edge of the industry.
While in some places the activities are still focused on the scuba diving, many of the Cairns Liveaboards understand that the diving has to be balanced with other activities.
This refocus is what also allows the Liveaboards to offer Snorkeling Liveaboard excursions, often mixed with scuba divers also on-board.
The MV Reef Encounter snorkeling Liveaboard packages are an outstanding example of what a snorkeler can experience on-board.
The MV Reef Encounter is a floating bouquet hotel that offers a range of Liveaboard packages for scuba divers, those wanting to learn to scuba dive and those who wish to snorkel.
Each day the vessel has five water sessions, that the snorkeler can enjoy.
The first one is an early start as it is a sunrise trip to the reef.
As the Liveaboard is in fact on the reef overnight, the early riser just steps off the snorkeling deck into the crystal clear waters of the reef as the sun rises.
Sunrise is really the busiest time on the reef, the night creatures are still out but starting to find places to hide for the day.
The day marine life is active, and the sun rays bath the reef and its life with the best lighting of the day.
The colours of the reef are strongest at day break as the light is not as harsh and the water seemly filters out the colours differently.
In addition to the sunrise swim, there are two morning water session and another two in the afternoon.
The MV Reef Encounter will move during the day, offering the snorkeler two or three different reefs to snorkel on each day.
While the five water sessions will take care of the snorkeling side of things, those on-board will expect other things besides that.
Starting with meals the MV Reef Encounter will dazzle the guest with a nice array of freshly prepared meals and teas (snacks).
After the sunrise water session, guest will find that the chef has prepared breakfast for them which is readily available in the dining area of the main saloon.
While there are up to 42 guest on-board, there is never a need to wait for a table as the ship is designed to be able to sit all guest for meals at the same time.
It is not however a ridge schedule so just show up during the meal hours.
Besides the three meals, breakfast lunch and dinner, there is a snack served between each of the water sessions.
A great way to restore the energy you just used. In the evening meal, the desert is delayed and served a little later after sunset.
A nice way to slow down the evening: a sweet desert, maybe a cocktail, all under a sky full of stars.
The reef is alive at night and you can see some of that life as you look over the sides and down into the water each night.
Many people on a vacation at a resort like to spend time alongside the pool, while the MV Reef Encounter does not have a pool the sun deck can be a much better alternative.
The sun deck provides both open and shaded spaces to enjoy a good book or to just chill out.
The Main Saloon has a lounge area with soft overstuffed chairs and couches if you rather stay inside in the air conditioned space.
A hot tub overlooking the bow is another alternative.
Since the MV Reef Encounter visited more than one reef each day, it would be a shame to miss seeing one, but another water session might be too tiring.
The alternative is to take a glass bottom boat tour of a reef site.
The MV Reef Encounter has a glass bottom boat available for those who do not want to get wet or would just like a guide tour from above.
It does not matter how accomplished a snorkeler you are, the Snorkeling Liveaboards are a vacation option that will truly give you an unforgettable vacation.