4 Day Coral Sea Trip
A stunning March morning at Lizard Island as Spirit of Freedom awaited the arrival of the 17 guests to jump onboard and head out to explore the remote reefs of the Coral Sea and the Ribbon Reefs of The Great Barrier.
The crew were happy to welcome aboard the 17 friendly, smiling faces; once Skipper Ross went over the trips itinerary and plan of action we dropped the lines and headed out to the top of Ribbon Reef 9 to dive Pixie Gardens for our check out dive which went ”swimmingly”.
We then headed to the famous Challenger Bay for a double dive, Challenger by day was a nice cruisey dive with plenty to find around the scattered coral bommies, sitting so peacefully near the mooring line were 2 Leafy Scorpion Fish, a Brown and a Beige one. Later after dinner we all jumped back in for the night dive, with some crazy shark and GT action, there we’re some hearts racing as we explored the shallows and watched this natural food chain evolve in front of us. It was definitely a night dive to remember.
We battened down the hatches and prepared the vessel for our overnight voyage out into the open ocean of The Coral Sea. Osprey Reef here we come!
Waking up for our first dive at Castles, this site is a great one to start with to really show what osprey has to offer. The typography and swim-throughs are quite impressive however it’s the massive wall drop off down to 1000+M that really gets the divers excited, while feeling quite small and insignificant in a good way.
Next up was ATB, Around The Bend, where we did tender drops so the guests could enjoy some depth out on the cleaning station at about 30M. Plenty of baby Grey Reef Sharks as well at 3 tiny white tip reef sharks hiding in a little cave and lots of fish life and beautiful corals to see. As our NDLs got low, we swallowed up and made out way ”Around The Bend” and back onto the wall towards SOF saying Hi to Nemo along the way!
We then made our way to Admiralty to have a go at navigating around the crazy maze of coral structures and swim-throughs, once again plenty of sharks and trevally schooling under the boat.
We headed to The Gap for our last dive of the day to enjoy the wall and shallow “gaps” in the reef, swimming up to explore the lagoon, a sea cucumber spawning was an interesting site as well as a Hammer Head Shark spotted at about 15M swimming out in the blue. This is why we love Osprey and its diversity!
Saturday morning we awoke to a beautiful Osprey Sunrise and amazing conditions for our first dive at Pavona where we dropped in onto schooling Barracuda and the tiniest Juvenile Eagle Ray I’ve ever seen! There were Grey Reefies cruising past and White Tips chilling on the sandy slope before the massive wall drop off at about 40M. Another Hammer Head was sited!
We then headed up to North Horn were we spent the last 3 dives, North horn offers 2 great Wall dives on either side of the point. First was Blue Marlin Wall, we tender dropped everyone up the reef for a one-way dive back to SOF, then we jumped in for a static dive up Soft Coral Wall to enjoy the large variety of beautifully coloured soft corals under the over hangs and ledges. Finally we geared up ready for a shark feed! I don’t know who was more ready, the Sharks or the eagerly excited divers! The Grey Reef sharks were also very excited and eager to get their teeth around some tuna heads. As it was our lovely Divemaster/Hostess, Christine’s last trip with us, she volunteered to open the cage. Some of the sharks were bigger than she was but with no fear she swam in towards the cage having to elbow a few greedy ones out the way and she opened the cage with out a hitch! As the feeding frenzy was happening 2 large Silver Tips came into check out the commotion as well as ANOTHER Hammer Head! The adrenalin was high and the smiles were big as the guests all made it back onboard! (Thankfully)
Osprey has so much to offer in the way of diverse dive sites; it has definitely been a great few days out here. We sat down to a lovely dinner before stowing the vessel ready for our overnight steam back into the Ribbon Reefs of The GBR. Thank you Osprey!
We awoke back in the Ribbon Reefs of The GBR for a double dive at Steves Bommie, The winds were in and the sky was grey but it wasn’t going to stop us today! Guests enjoyed cruising around the massive underwater mountain structure finding, White Tip Reef Sharks, Wobbygong Sharks, Stonefish, Leafy Scorpion Fish, Schools of Jacks, Coral Trout, Nudibranchs, and many different species of Anemone Fish and much much more.
We then made our way to Wistful Gardens for our last 2 dives, Wistful offers great coral coverage and nice reef fish life. The dive site itself is a little bit confusing in regards to navigation but all the guests were eager to give it a go and enjoyed there last few dives out on the Great Barrier Reef.
We enjoyed a few nice cold beers and sat back to reminisce about the last few days of epic diving out in the Coral Sea and The GBR. It has been an awesome trip with a legendary bunch of great divers, Thank you all for all the fun, fantastic and super safe diving with Spirit Of Freedom. We look forward to seeing you all again at some point above or below the surface. Happy Travels.
No Troubles… Just Bubbles
Trip Director SOF