4 Day Coral Sea Trip 37
On the morning of 14 February, Spirit of Freedom departed Lizard Island with 22 passengers for a 4-day trip to the Coral Sea.
After a delicious lunch, the vessel made a quick stop at a beautiful dive site known as Coral Princess Bommie for a checkout dive before proceeding to ‘The Monolith” for an afternoon and night dive. Most divers would later describe this night dive as one of the highlights of the trip, as once underwater they were greeted by dozens of sharks and large schools of predatory fish such as red bass and giant trevally.
After the night dive, SOF left the ribbon reefs for the open ocean and steamed for nearly 10 hours for a two-day excursion out to Osprey Reef. On Friday, lingering northwesterly winds prevented the vessel from accessing its usual dive sites, but allowed for four exploratory dives at the rarely visited southeastern portion of Osprey Reef.
Saturday was kicked off with three dives at North Horn, the very northern tip of Osprey Reef. Despite the vessel remaining in the same location, each dive was very different as passengers completed drift dives along Soft Coral Wall and Blue Marlin Wall. After lunch came the famous shark feed! Passengers were treated to one of nature’s most impressive moments as twenty to thirty grey reef sharks were observed in a full-on feeding frenzy. After a long day, the final dive at Osprey took place at a site called ‘Castles’, a relaxing dive with little to no current but a variety of massive soft corals and schooling barracuda.
Overnight, Spirit of Freedom steamed down to Bougainville Reef. Bougainville, another isolated Coral Sea reef, can only be visited under nearly perfect weather conditions and Sunday provided just those conditions. Passengers and crew completed four amazing dives along the reef’s northern side and each dive was more impressive than the last. Unmatched coral cover, abundant fish life and visibility in excess of 50 metres made the final day of diving arguably the best of the trip.
After a final BBQ night filled with delicious food, wine, and cheese platters, SOF departed the ribbon reefs and made its way back to Cairns with both passengers and crew extremely satisfied from a truly great trip.