4 Day Coral Sea
The coral sea trip started off with passengers boarding spirit of freedom from the beautiful and remote Lizard Island.
Joining some of our seven day guests and greeted by the incoming skipper who brought news of some possible rough weather. As we got underway everyone got their first look at the boat and settled in for the trip south to Pixie Gardens which would be the check out dive for everyone to shake off any cobwebs and get back in the water.
All faired well and we moved on to Challenger Bay where we did a day and night dive. As one of the crew’s favourites all were putting their hands up to show the guests their favourite night dive. No one was disappointed and challenger produced the goods again with plenty of shark hunting and other pelagic hanging around the boat.
As the weather was not suitable for an osprey crossing just yet we decided to stay inside the ribbons and try some new dives and some old favourites. Nudi Rudi was first off in the morning and a nice deep dive to start us off, plenty of beautiful coral to see and of course lots of nudi’s.
While the guests were enjoying another wonderful second breakfast the boat was on its way to our next site DzCaptains Cornerdz which was the first drift dive of the trip and was something new for some of the guests that were new to drift diving. The dive provided a slight current, which allowed for some searching of small creatures, there were nudi’s and several pipefish spotted and also several sharks, white tips and grey reefies.
Next dive was at lighthouse Bommie which can always throw up some random big creatures so there was lots of excitement for this dive and lighthouse didn’t disappoint. There was big schools of trevally, yellow fusiliers and even a turtle nestled in a hole that everyone could get good look and take loads of photos.
For the last dive of day 2 of the trip we tied up to Coral Princess Bommie as it is a nice and easy dive to finish the day that has several scattered bommies with lots of life. The bommie has taken several navigation victims in the past but everyonepassed this one with flying colours.
After the dive we secured the vessel and prepared for the much anticipated trip to Osprey Reef.
On Saturday morning, after an open ocean crossing, the sleepy but excited guests awoke to the remote and beautiful sights of Osprey Reef. Everyone aboard the Spirit of Freedom was ecstatic to be at Osprey, as they geared up for our first dive of the day- Castles! Gigantic pinnacles and sheer walls, this dive site makes you feel small! Caves, swim throughs and a maze of pinnacles and valleys, this colossal dive site has something for everyone. Castles was brimming with life, and we shared the site with big fat grey reef sharks, white tips and of course schools of a variety of fish.
For our second dive on Osprey Reef, the conditions were apt for a drift dive down Blue Marlin Wall. Moored up at North Horn, we loaded the passengers into
Spirit of Freedom tenders where they enjoyed their private water taxi rides tothe drop point! Three, two, one, GO! Back rolling into the water the guests began their dive. Divers were amazed at the sheer size and depth of Blue Marlin Wall as they soared over 1000’s of metres of water. The site is known for chance encounters of big pelagics and the incredible visibility was perfect for gazing out into the blue! Big dogtooth tuna, sharks, barracudas and Queensland gropers zoomed along next to us as we drifted down Blue Marlin Wall and back to the Spirit of Freedom.
After a delicious buffet lunch, divers were back in the tenders for another drift dive off North Horn. This time, Soft Coral Wall! This dive site is known for its bright and colourful soft corals and plentiful gorgonian fans that decorate the sheer, dropping wall. Offering spectacular biodiversity, the divers were kept busy amazing at all the small critters living amongst the corals whilst keepingtheir eyes out for the schools of fish and sharks cruising past in the blue.
Finishing off the dive, guests were met by a pair of large and inquisitive napoleon wrasse- the largest of the whole wrasse family! These two were particularly friendly, allowing close encounters and fantastic pictures for the divers.
Our last and most anticipated dive at Osprey was next. Excitement was running high onboard the vessel as the crew prepped for our weekly shark attraction dive! A large cage, containing several tuna heads, was lowered into the water, bringing in 40-50 grey reefies and white tips. What an incredible experience, getting an up close encounter with these amazing creatures in their natural habitat!
After a busy day at Osprey, the Spirit of Freedom said goodbye to Osprey Reef and steamed overnight, back into the Ribbon Reefs, where divers spent their morning exploring the world famous Steves Boomie! A deep pinnacle, surrounded by blue, Steves is known for its abundance of schooling fish, turtles, stonefish and of course, its resident wobbygong sharks and leafy scorpion fish! With so much to explore, divers spent two dives at Steves Bommie before heading to Flare Point and Joanies Joy to end the trip with two relaxing dives where we were greeted with clear blue skies and calm and flat water.
What a trip it has been! With heavy hearts we say goodbye to our fabulous guests and celebrate a fantastic trip with an Australian BBQ! On behalf of the crew, thanks for joining us on a fantastic trip to the Coral Sea and hope to see you all soon!