Spirit of Freedom - Coral Sea - Australia
Coral Sea Itinerary!
4 Nights’ accommodations, Transfers To/From your Cairns City Hotel, Flight To/From Lizard Island, Chef Prepared Gourmet Meals Including Australian Wines and Soft Drinks with Dinner, Up To 15 Dives (Not Included Marine Park Levy Administration Fee, Port Fee and Environmental Management)
Travel Period: Jul./Sep./Oct./Nov./Dec. 2022
Price and Room Selections:
$3090 Doub...View Package Details
Spirit of Freedom - Cod Hole Itinerary - Australia
Cod Hole Itinerary!
3 Nights’ accommodations, Transfers To/From your Cairns City Hotel, Round Trip Flight To/From Lizard Island, Chef Prepared Gourmet Meals Including Australian Wines and Soft Drinks with Dinner, Up To 11 Dives, Time Ashore at Lizard Island (Not Included Marine Park Levy Administration Fee, Port Fee and Environmental Management)
Travel Period: Aug. 2022
Price and Room Sel...View Package Details
Spirit of Freedom - Cod Hole & Coral Sea - Australia
7 Nights' accommodations (Double Occupancy), Transfers To/From Your Cairns City Hotel, Chef-Prepared Gourmet Meals with Australian Wines and Soft Drinks with Evening Meals, Up To 26 Dives, Island Exploration Opportunity, All Levies and Taxes
Travel Period: Jul. 22, 2022 - Mar. 31, 2023
High Season Apr/Jun/Jul/Sep/Oct/Nov/Dec/Jan/Feb
Price and Room Selections:
$5555 Ocean V...View Package Details
Australia (Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea)
Climate: From October to April temperatures average around 33°C / 91°F. From June to August temperatures average around 27°C / 81°F. Overnight temperatures average 5°C / 41°F at any time of year.
Water Temperature: 24 – 30°C / 75 – 85°F
Time: UTC +5:00 to +11:00 (CXT, AWST, CWT, ACST, AEST, NFT)
Language: English and Aboriginal languages
Currency: Australian Dollar
Electricity: 230 volts. Most travelers will need an adapter because the Australian three-prong plug is different from those in most countries
Marriage Requirements: Please contact the local tourism board for instructions and requirements.
Airport(s): Queensland: Cairns Int’l, CNS
Queensland: Hyperbaric Medicine Unit
Queensland: The Wesley Centre for Hyperbaric Medicine
From the giant clams to the baleen and humpback whales, everything is bigger in the Great Barrier Reef. Great is right, the reef system is the largest in the world and is home to a diverse and abundant aquatic life. Where else can you potentially swim with the local Irrawaddy and Indo-pacific humpback dolphins, threatened sea cows and large green turtles as well as see cone shells and nudibranches all in one dive?
If you prefer wrecks to reefs, The Coral Sea is a littered with schooners, freighters and more. An ecological delight, the city of Cairns is surrounded by both reef and rain forest. Adventure seekers will thrill at the various activities, including skydiving, the flying leap, helifishing and rapids kayaking. After your pulse returns to normal, you can visit the local markets, golf courses, casino and night clubs.
Home of the world’s largest reef abundant with corals, sea anemones, sea stars, sea slugs and giant clams to name a few, Australia also boasts over 10,000 beaches; more than any other nation. The Land Down Under is 2,966,368 square miles. Home to the world’s largest monolith, Uluru, in Central Australia, the tallest peak is Mount Kosciuszko at 7,310 feet in the Great Dividing Range.
Spirit of Freedom was top notch. This was our first experience with a liveaboard dive vessel. We have a 42' Hunter sailboat that we dive off all the time in California so we are used to high quality. Captain Tony, of Spirit of Freedom, had worked his way up from dive master of 20+ years to now Captain. He and his crew were very professional on every level. The diving conditions weren't perfect due to weather but we made the best of it. The Cod feed in the Coral Sea was breathtaking. Cod up to 5 feet long. But the most spectacular experience was the SHARK FEEDING!!! We were 10 feet away from a shark feeding of fresh tuna heads! All catch on video. Some 25+ sharks in total, up to 7 feet long. Saw a giant manta during one of our dives. There were up to 4-5 dives available per day. The food was outstanding as were the accommodations. We also celebrated my 50th birthday while on board. The chef asked what he could make me for my b-day dessert and I requested pecan pie which he made without hesitation. It was the best... Almost as good as Grandma's! We hope to return one day.
UW Photography Comments: The vessel was very accommodating for UWP. The staff was very helpful in setup and general care of underwater camera's. Separate fresh water tub for rinsing. There is a dedicated computer for guests to upload or download pictures. It even gets better than this... One of the dive masters noticed our camera wasn't secured with a lanyard so he gave us one from his personal stash. How thoughtful was that!...
Overall, we enjoyed our dives and the Spirit of Freedom. We were not prepared for the often extremely rough seas and unexpected cold water temperatures, 72 to 77 degrees F. It is now their winter, but we still thought the water would be warm. We were wrong. Visibility was generally excellent. A 3 mil wetsuit was not sufficient, and a 5 mil wet suit was still cold. Our Spirit of Freedom (SOF) trip included a rough and rocky overnight journey to the Coral Sea, a ways beyond the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) for a special shark feeding, which was very well done and worth the trip. Lots of sharks were attracted by a cage of fish heads. The cage was opened from a roped latch. As divers we viewed the feeding with our backs to a coral wall. Queensland does not allow shark feeding on the GBR.
The dive master who arranged all the dives and who managed the dive locations was helpful in keeping an inconsiderate and rude guest away from us in the dive groups. While our cabin was probably the largest on the ship, we did not have hot water for showers, luke warm. This was a disappointment, especially given the cold water temperatures. Since our cabin was on the top deck, we really got the most rocking from the rough seas. There were 23 divers and a crew of about 10. Nitrox was available. But the seas were very rough, so our cruises to different dive sites were always all very rocky. The food, however, was excellent given the very small galley/kitchen. Our cook even cooked for the Queen! The number of dives per day, 4-5, made it like boot camp. The one night dive was unnecessarily crowded into and with one dive master. Even though the SOF does not provide guided DM dives (only one DM during dives for safety), I will make sure any next live-aboard night dives are with smaller groups lead by DMs to avoid the hoards underwater in the dark, with big fish and a few sharks around....