4 Night Coral Sea & Ribbon Reef Trip
DIVE LEVEL: We recommend this Great Barrier Reef liveaboard dive trip for Advanced divers, or divers with a minimum of 20 ocean dives, including 5 dives in the last 12 months.
DEPARTS: Cairns 8:30 am Sunday RETURNS: Cairns 8:00 am Thursday
DIVES: Up to 15 (including 1 night dive)
Liveaboard Dive Trip Overview
Our four-day Coral Sea trip begins on a Sunday morning, with a 200km flight from Cairns along the coastline and over the Great Barrier Reef to the remote Lizard Island (Jiigurru), some 90km off the Queensland coast. Landing on the small island runway, you will be met by our crew and welcomed aboard as your liveaboard dive trip adventure begins!
Your first day will see you diving at the very top of the Ribbon Reefs, before our 100km overnight voyage out to the world-famous Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea. Isolated from other reefs, Osprey is an old volcanic atoll lying 220 km off the coast and offers some of the world’s best diving.
You will spend two days diving a variety of Osprey’s spectacular sites, renowned for spectacular 1,000 metre walls, massive soft corals, amazing shark action, and exceptional visibility.
‘North Horn’ at the tip of Osprey is a site where grey reef sharks, Silvertips, and the occasional oceanic congregate. A natural amphitheatre makes this the perfect location for our shark attraction where you can witness up to 30-50 sharks circling.
The final day of your liveaboard dive trip is spent at Ribbon Reef Number 3, or occasionally if the weather permits, Bougainville Reef, to the south of Osprey Reef. Overnight travel on the last night returns you to Cairns early on Thursday morning.
For longer duration trips, check out our 7-night liveaboard dive trip, which adds an extra 3 days diving on the Ribbon Reefs.
Cabins & Rates
Liveaboard Dive Trip Prices are in AUD$ per person and include:
- Chef prepared meals & snacks, wine and soft drinks are included with the evening meal.
- Tanks, air fills, Nautilus Lifeline and weight belt. Full equipment rental available.
- Daily cabin service.
- Cairns hotel and Airport transfers (airport drop off only).
- GST and all reef levies and fees.
Located on the top deck with internal stairwell access to the main deck, as well as external access to the top deck and dive deck, the Ocean View Deluxe Cabin boats a 10.5m² area with 3 large windows overlooking the starboard side of the vessel.
A comfy double bed will ensure you are well rest for a full day of diving. The room features bedside tables, wardrobe and 26″ flat screen TV.
The cabin is fully air-conditioned and has its own private bathroom.
Double or Sole occupancy only.
Our Ocean View cabin is located on the top deck with internal stairwell access to the main deck, as well as external access to the top deck and dive deck.
As the name suggests, you will enjoy stunning views from this air conditioned 7.2m² cabin, which contains a double bed, private bathroom, a wardrobe and 26” flat screen TV.
Double or Sole Occupancy only.
The largest of all cabins onboard the vessel, The Stateroom cabin is located in a private area on the lower deck, close to the dive deck and dining saloon.
Fully air-conditioned, this spacious 12m² cabin contains a queen size bed, a private bathroom, extra shelving, wardrobe, bedside tables and 26″ flat screen TV.
Double or Sole Occupancy only: no twin share option available.
Spirit of Freedom has seven standard double or twin share cabins. Five of these cabins contain a double bed with a single bed over the top, bunk style. One cabin contains just a double bed and one cabin has two single beds.
These cabins are all located on the lower deck, with easy access to the main deck and have an average area of 10m² square metres in area.
Fully air-conditioned, the cabins have an ensuite bathroom and also contain a wardrobe, personal reading light and a bedside table.
Please advise your preference for double or twin share when placing your booking. Sole occupancy also available.
Located midships on the lower deck, the quad share cabin containing four single beds, bunk style and is a great options for groups or families as you explore the Great Barrier Reef on your epic dive adventure.
This 9m² cabin has easy access to the main deck and includes a private ensuite bathroom and personal reading lights for each bed.
The cabin is fully air-conditioned and also contains a wardrobe, as well as storage under the bottom two bunks.
At approximately 7 am, the Spirit of Freedom courtesy coach will transfer you from your Cairns hotel to Hinterland Aviation at Cairns General Aviation Airport. Here you will board a light aircraft for your scenic flight up the coast to Lizard Island and the start of your 4-night liveaboard dive trip.
The Spirit of Freedom crew will greet you on arrival and escort you via tender to the vessel. After an orientation of the vessel, we depart for Ribbon Reef Number 9 & 10. This afternoon we will have the opportunity for two dives at a choice of sites including Challenger Bay, Lighthouse Bommie, Pixie Gardens, and Pixie Pinnacle. We depart in the evening for a 10-hour crossing to Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea. Check out our Coral Sea dive sites.
Two days will be spent diving Osprey Reef (weather permitting). Australia’s Coral Sea reefs are renowned for crystal clear water with visibility ranging from 30 to 100 metres. The landscape is amazing with sheer walls laced with gorgonians, sea whips, and bright yellow soft corals, rising from the ocean floor thousands of feet below. ‘North Horn’ is a dive site at the tip of Osprey is a site where grey reef sharks, silvertips, and the occasional oceanic congregate, and you can experience a close encounter with the Spirit of Freedom shark attraction dive. Four to five dives will be available each day, including a night dive on Monday.
On Tuesday night we will depart Osprey Reef for overnight travel to the Ribbon Reefs.
At Ribbon Reef Number 3 we will dive such sites as the sensational Steve’s Bommie, Temple of Doom, and Flare Point. A second option for this day, in special weather conditions, is to head south from Osprey to Bougainville Reef, known for its unusual underwater landscape or caverns, and its partially submerged wreck.
On Wednesday evening we will cruise overnight back to Cairns.
We arrive back in Cairns at 6:30 am. Enjoy a light breakfast onboard and a group photo opportunity, before being dropped back at your Cairns hotel around 8:00 am.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
As our guest, you are free to enjoy your own diving style, within the boundaries of safe and responsible diving. As such we set no limits on time, depth or style of diving outside of normal safe diving practices. You and your buddy are in charge, planning your own dive and diving your own plan. Buddy teams may follow one of our inexperienced groups, led by a Safety Diver, and come and go as you please.
Every dive begins with a detailed dive briefing. The dive staff are on deck providing surface support including a safety lookout. When available, dive staff may be in-water offering support with photography and critter spotting. Spirit of Freedom does not offer a full guided dive service. Our Safety Divers are assigned to those divers who are at risk or to assist students.
Spirit of Freedom can accommodate a maximum of 24 guests and operates with a minimum of 12 crew members.
Yes, Travel Insurance is strongly recommended. You can get a free quote for liveaboard dive insurance here.
In the event the trip is cancelled due to inclement weather, deeming it unsafe to travel, the company does not offer refunds for cancellations for reasons beyond the company’s control (Force Majeure). Comprehensive Travel Insurance covering trip cancellation due to poor weather is strongly recommended in this case, particularly during the Australian summer months (November to May) when cyclones and high winds can affect our trips.
We strongly recommend travel insurance to cover you against any unforeseen eventuality, as our policies do not allow for refunds on cancellations within 60 days.
Also, should you experience any flight delays or cancellations, lost luggage, etc which may result in you missing the vessel departure, Travel Insurance should cover these issues.
We strongly recommend all passengers (divers and snorkellers) have evacuation and medical cover for scuba diving. Please be aware that scuba diving and in-water activities are not covered by all Travel Insurance Companies, and it is advisable to check with your insurance agent regarding your cover for scuba diving. It is important to note that in a medical emergency the costs involved for an evacuation, vessel relocation or medical expenses are the responsibility of that diver.
Spirit of Freedom provides divers with a mask, snorkel, boots, fins, tanks, weights, and weight belts. We also supply safety equipment including surface marker buoys, whistles, and Nautilus LifeLine Marine GPS. Cyalume sticks and torches will also be provided for night diving.
For more detail on what equipment is available aboard Spirit of Freedom, visit our equipment rental page.
Diving the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea is great year-round! During Cairns’ winter (May to August) the water is a little cooler and offers great visibility and beautiful clear days, but sometimes can bring stronger winds. During this season it’s a great opportunity to swim with minke whales.
From September through December the water warms up a little, and generally, conditions are clear with light winds. Many coral reef species breed at this time.
January through April is considered our wetter season, with amazing feeding and marine action following the breeding season. Refer to our Great Barrier Reed Diving Seasons and Weather page for more information.
Booking direct with Spirit of Freedom means you should always pay the lowest price on our trips. If you find any Spirit of Freedom trip advertised under the same terms and conditions (brand, date, number of people, availability, inclusions) and at a lower price online, we’ll credit you the difference between the price paid and the lower price found. All special offers and promotional campaigns are marked as such. Simply email us with details. See terms for full details.
Don’t just take our word for it, here are just some recent reviews of this trip.
OMG! What an absolutely AMAAAAZZZING 4 day, 4 night trip…starting with the low-level flight from Cairns to Lizard Island. Then transferred onto the boat and our adventure continued. Words cannot even begin to describe this liveaboard trip – Excellent, fantastic, awesome are only some that come to mind.
I’ve done a few liveaboard trips on the GBR and this one was outstanding!
So excited to get to Osprey, Bougainville and Holmes Reef – the Trifecta! Weather was kind and conditions fabulous.I’ll be back!!!
My wife, daughter and I did the 4-day Coral Sea adventure. The accommodations were comfortable and roomy, with daily turndown service and (very) hot showers. The Italian chef Giovanni, served amazing gourmet dishes 4 times per day plus snacks. Trust me, you will not go hungry on this trip. The diving was exceptional and world class. We had a great variety of walls, pinnacles, shallow reefs and coral gardens. The sea-life was outstanding and coral was beautiful. On my favorite dive I saw a Whale Shark and Manta!
The highlight of the trip that made it amazing, was the crew. They provided the most attentive customer service and provided whatever I needed. They helped with gear, food, stories, wildlife identification, safety and kept the ship running perfectly. And they did this with wonderful, fun attitudes that made the trip fun and relaxing. Captain Scotty and his crew were professional, and so so friendly and fun.
If you are looking to dive the Great Barrier Reef, this is the way to do it without having to make trips out to the reef and back each day. Also, this ship goes to great reefs that are less dived by other boats (we did not see another dive boat the entire trip). I highly recommend this trip.
This trip was a lifetime dream of a 50 year diving career.
The SOF experience was outstanding on all accounts. The vessel was well appointed with excellent facilities well set up to support sustained diving. All spaces were appropriate, comfortable and well maintained. The food was of gourmet caliber and well served. The cabin was first rate and well serviced.
The diving was excellent and well organized and tailored to suit the various levels of experience. The captain, master diver and crew’s ability to get into interesting dive locations in spite of cyclonic influenced weather was admirable. The professionalism co-operation and personal attention exhibited from all the crew was second to none. The dive research, briefings and conduct were of a military precision. SOF Captain Tony and Reef Dive Master Nick were an incredible professional personable and fun combination.
I would not hesitate to recommend this adventure to any serious diver. It proved the Great Barrier Reef to be alive and well.
During the trip we went to the wonderful Ribbon Reefs, Osprey Reef and Bougainville Reef, we saw amazing creatures, a multitude of sharks and there was even a wedding on and under the boat.
Our trip had everything we could have wanted, now I just have to plan my next trip