Diving The Great Barrier Reef
Diving the Great Barrier Reef should be on every diver’s bucket list!
The sheer size of the Reef is often difficult to comprehend, stretching some 2,600km along the coast of Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef makes up about 10 percent of the world’s coral reef ecosystems. It extends over 14 degrees of latitude, comprising of shallow estuarine areas to deep oceanic waters many kilometres out to sea.
Roughly the size of Italy, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the best known and most complex natural systems on Earth and heaven for scuba divers to explore. Compare diving liveaboard trips from Cairns.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s start Diving the Great Barrier Reef.
Australia has some of the best and most diverse dive sites anywhere in the world. The warm, clear waters of Far North Queensland, teeming with marine life and the world’s largest coral reef, make it an undisputed scuba divers’ paradise.
The Great Barrier Reef stretches through Queensland’s waters for more than 2,500 kilometres, covering around 345,000 square kilometres. The world’s largest World Heritage site is made up of more than 2,900 individual reefs, and 70 coral cays scattered along the edge of the continental shelf.
Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef is the world’s most extensive coral reef system, and home to an underwater world filled with thousands of brightly coloured species of marine life. Some 1,500 types of fish, 4,000 types of molluscs, 350 types of echinoderms, and over 600 types of coral, attract divers from around the world each year.
On a Spirit of Freedom liveaboard dive trip, you will have the opportunity to explore over 20 different Australian dive sites within the Ribbon Reefs on the Great Barrier and the Coral Sea. Explore them for yourself.
The Great Barrier Reef is sea country home for the first Australians. It is the ancestral homeland for more than 70 Traditional Owner groups, whose connections to these waters and surrounding areas date back more than 60,000 years.
Today the Great Barrier Reef is a Marine Park and World Heritage Area, it attracts millions of visitors each year who come to enjoy its beauty above and below the water. Explore some of the best diving locations along with Ribbon Reefs.
For many, diving the Great Barrier Reef can be a life-changing experience. The diversity of marine life, warm tropical waters, incredible visibility, and variety of dive sites make it hard to beat and the ultimate scuba diving destination, and even better on a liveaboard diving trip.
Home to over 1600 incredible different species of fish, the Great Barrier Reef is is teeming with life.
From tiny baitfish through to the largest varieties of sharks, the Great Barrier Reef is a diver’s dream destination. Within a small area diving the Great Barrier reef you can encounter hundreds of different species of fish in great numbers.
Rays & Sharks
There are over 35 species of marine rays found on the Great Barrier Reef. Like sharks, Rays have open gill slits, spiracles (holes for inhaling water), and all exhibit internal fertilization. Many species (but not all) have a dangerous and poisonous barb, which is only used in self-defense. The barbs have been used by aborigines as the tips for spears for thousands of years.
In total, 133 species of Sharks and Rays are found along the Great Barrier Reef and range from small, cryptic species such as the epaulette shark to large, migratory species such as the whale shark. Nothing beats the thrill of shark diving in Australia, and the Coral Sea offers some of the best locations to get up and personal with these amazing creatures.
The chances of a nasty encounter are very rare but like all creatures on the reef; observe with respect and enjoy!
Dolphins & Whales
Some 30 different species of whale and dolphin can be found in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Dwarf minke whales, humpback whales, and bottlenose dolphins are among the most commonly sighted and reported species.
Other whale and dolphin species sighted include spinner dolphins, Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, orca (Killer Whales), Australian snubfin dolphins, pan-tropical spotted dolphins, false killer whales, short-finned pilot whales, sperm whales, and various beaked whales.
Whales and dolphins hold a special significance for some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups, such as the Woppaburra people of the Keppel Islands, the whale (Mugga Mugga) is the clan totem that connects them to their ancestral land and sea country as well as to their ancestors.
During June/July Minke Whales gather on the Ribbon Reefs in great numbers and you can even swim with Minke Whales during this time.