3 Day Cod Hole and Ribbon Reefs
The trip started out in Cairns with the passengers boarding the Spirit of Freedom (SOF) with bright sunny skies and very little wind, which made a perfect start to the journey out to Saxon Reef. As we got there and tied up to South Point everyone was getting the run down on the specifics of diving with SOF and we were shortly ready for the first dive. As a relatively experienced group the check out dive happened without fail and the second dive was quickly organized and straight back into it. The snorkeling proved the better of the two options at South Point as there were many turtles and sharks spotted from the surface. With the first few dives under our belt we were ready to make our way to the ribbons and the famous Steve’s Bommie. After Captain Tony and his mates steamed throughout the night, the guests woke to the beautiful sights of Ribbon Reef 3 where divers took a giant stride into Steve’s Bommie. A beautiful pinnacle, home to schools of jacks and fusiliers, cryptic leafy scorpion fish and stonefish and of course, the crowd favorite- a curious resident turtle! Next up was Crackerjack- another pinnacle, booming with life, rising out of the blue. Divers marveled at the over hanging ledges painted with colourful fan corals. Two breakfasts and a lunch later (we eat REALLY well on SOF) we ditched the pinnacles and said hello to Coral Princess Bommie. Divers explored lively patch bommies, scattered along a sandy bottom, saying hello to moray eels, sweet lips and the occasional white tip reef shark! To end our five dive day, the SOF moored into Challenger Bay/Monolith for dive four and five. A crowd and staff favorite, this site is known for its action! After the first dive, guests enjoyed a delicious meal before gearing back up, manned with torches, for a night dive. Challenger Bay did not disappoint- free swimming moray eels, giant trevally,
white tip sharks and grey reef sharks put on a show for the divers who had front row seats to their nightly hunt. For the morning of the last day of diving we pulled up to one of the most beautiful sites called google gardens. This site is know for its epic structures and seemingly untouched coral and everyone onboard was in agreement that it deserved its reputation. A bit of an itinerary change saw SOF ditch lighthouse for the much loved vertical gardens which was a big call because lighthouse bommie is one of the favourites of the trip, luckily vertical gardens produced what we expected to and everyone loved the current dive and schools of fish. The highlight of the trip was up next as we headed for the famous cod hole for the feed. The cod were out in force today and battling to be first in line afternoon tea which made a very exciting dive for everyone. A manta was even spotted by one of the crew, though no pictures were taken so everyone else was a bit dubious. The weather decided to play ball in the afternoon and we were able to get to snake pit for the last dive of the trip and did we save the best to last. The vis cleared up and the big stuff came to play, schools of fish, eagle rays and even a devil ray was spotted by most of the boat which made the trip a extra special one for everybody. All in all it was another great trip on board SOF. On behalf of all the crew thanks for joining us!