CAIRNS PREMIER REEF & ISLAND TOURS - INTRODUCTORY & CERTIFIED SCUBA DIVING
On board both our vessels we offer optional diving certified diving for those who have done and passed a diving course and have a certification card - these are “certified divers” and introductory diving for those who have not done a dive course and have no previous experience - called “introductory divers”. In fact you don’t even need to be able to swim!
WHY DIVE WITH CAIRNS PREMIER REEF & ISLAND TOURS?
Our team is renowned for giving people an unforgettable experience for their first time dive, as we are passionate about giving others the opportunity to experience the joys of the underwater world! We offer a guaranteed 1:3 ratio of dive instructor to diver on Ocean Free but mostly do 1:2 and even 1:1 for those needing extra attention. Most boats offer 1:4. On Ocean Freedom we guarantee a dive ratio of 1:2 intro diver’s to one intro dive or 1:1 if needed.
Ocean Freedom goes to two (2) sites - however depending on the tides, conditions and diver experience, the best 2 sites of the day will be decided. There are a couple of dive sites we can choose from along the Wonder Wall. The depth of this dive goes from 10-15M depending on the tide. This is a spectacular dive. Drop down to about 10—12m and follow the Wall to see beautiful hard and soft corals - look for brain / boulder / branching coral. Check out the large Gorgonian sea fans and the different coloured soft corals gently waving in the water. Find the multitude of different anemone fish - all related to Nemo of course! Look out for our larger friends the hump-backed Maori Wrasse / the occasional Bull ray / white tipped reef sharks and grouper. Don’t forget to peak under ledges to look for large painted Crays!
Upolu Cay Diving allows you to swim around a pretty colourful coral garden - a great colourful contrast to the surrounding white coral sand patches. Look out for stingrays hiding under the white coral "sand" and turtles having a feed. Look for the colourful smaller reef fish darting in and out of the coral, Parrot Fish grazing on the algae, coral trout lazily swaying amongst the coral!
Ocean Free sits just 1km off Green Island on a private mooring - only our guests get to dive this site. The exact course of the two (2) dives is decided on the day to best suit the conditions. The depth is about 10-12m depending on the tide - perfect for diving the Great Barrier Reef as the most colour and life is at this depth! Swim around "bommies" just by the boat / go through the "swim through" on the coral garden where you can find a cousin of Nemo residing! See an array of hard corals and soft corals - look out for the turquoise stag horn coral - watch the little damsel fish dart in and out as they inquisitively come out at you and then dart back into the coral for cover! Look out for and hear (!!) the stunningly coloured Parrot Fish as they graze the algae off the coral. Swim with schools of trevally / spangled emperors / sweet lips to mention a few of the residents around Green Island. Look out for everyone's favourite - the turtles that commonly frequent the site and another favourite the black –tipped reef sharks who are very shy and timid!
CERTIFIED DIVING: GOOD DIVING TECHNIQUES
1. Control your buoyancy:
- ensure you have done a buoyancy check before you leave the dive bar.
- descend slowly ensure you do not descend onto coral.
- straighten body out and get neutral buoyancy (so not going up and not going down).
- place arms by your side.
- keep your legs straight and kick slowly (don't bend your knees - use your bum!).
- the position of your body will also determine the direction you go - f your head is higher than your feet - you will move upward - and if your head lower than your feet - you will move downwards.
- if you find you are sinking too much slightly inflate your jacket then breathe in and out and see if you have attained neutral buoyancy - it is common when you are a novice diver to make too big an adjustment with the air in your jacket - always make small adjustments and check buoyancy with a few breaths before adding more air. Alternatively if you are ascending too much let small amounts out of air out of your jacket and again take a few breaths before adjusting again if needed.
- during the dive minor adjustments with buoyancy can be done with your breathing - a bigger breath will make you more buoyant (and therefore ascend slightly) and as you breathe out you will descend - you can fine tune your buoyancy with slight adjustments in your breathing - remember though - never hold your breath!
- REMEMBER YOUR Ocean Free and Freedom GUIDE WILL HELP YOU IF NECESSARY!
2. Watch where you are going!
- always be mindful of where your fins are so you don't kick the reef or your fellow diver!
- swim around "bommies" - coral outcrops not over the tops if they are shallow.
- Don't ever put your legs down and stand on the reef!
- Follow your guide and stay close to your buddy.
3. Respect the Reef and Marine Life:
- Don't take anything off the reef - not even a grain of sand!
- Don't "stroke" a Giant Clam! The clams and corals are coated with a slimy covering that protects them from infection and sunburn. If continually touched each day - they could become prone to infection and sunburn if this mucus layer is "wiped off".
- The few things that can be touched must be treated and handled gently - your guide will brief you on this before your dive and show you during your dive.
- Never ever grab any turtle and try to "ride" it - this is very stressful for these beautiful creatures - swim slowly by their side so they can see you and you will be able to get very close!
- Never harass any marine life by trying to grab it - the slower you move the more you will see!
- If using a camera be very careful when taking photos that you don't lose your buoyancy control and go landing on coral / do not hold onto coral to steady yourself to get a shot!
Do not worry if you are not an experienced diver as you will be assessed by our very competent dive crew who will assist you in making your dive enjoyable, safe and respectful to the beautiful underwater world!
MARINE PARK DIVE REGULATIONS
Cairns Premier Reef and Island Tours dive and snorkel sites are protected under "Marine Park" regulations.
What is a Marine Park? The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is the largest, most complex and diverse coral reef system in the world. It is made up of coral reefs, coral cays and islands, stretching along the Queensland coast from Cape York to Bundaberg. The Marine Park also includes seagrass, mangroves, sand, algal and sponge gardens, inter-reefal communities and other habitats, and many rare and endangered species. It is a multiple use area managed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Tourism is the largest commercial activity in the Marine Park, generating over $5 billion each year and contributing significantly to local and national economies. The Great Barrier Reef is a World Heritage Area that attracts Cairns about 1.9 million visitors each year, making it one of Australia's most internationally-renowned tourism attractions. Reference: taken from Fact sheet no 2 May 2006 GBRMPA.
Who visits the Marine Park? Tourists to the Marine Park range from locals and interstate visitors to international backpackers and luxury tourists. About half of all the tourists to the Marine Park are from overseas, and about one-third are from interstate. Reference: Fact Sheet no 2 GBRMPA.