Thu 6th July 2017 – Mon 10th July 2017
From time to time we get a Private charter here on Spirit Of Freedom. This week we have ten people from the Seaisee tour company. We started out the week by collecting our group of Ten from various activities they were doing in Cairns including Hot Air Ballooning. We departed Trinity Wharf at Midday and headed out to Troppos for one afternoon dive where we had a nice size green turtle laying about.
We headed North for the Evening and at 1.30 am we arrived at Steve’s Bommie. With the hope of some last Minke action for the season we stayed here for two dives. The Minke’s unfortunately were a no show however we did have a nice Moray Eels, Nudibranchs, Clown Fish, Trevally and even a Wahoo came by for a buzz.
For our 3rd dive for the day we stopped in a Rouge where we were met by a bit of surge and some lower than expected vis. Knowing that in these conditions here we get some pretty impressive sightings of large rays we hopped in and had a look around. A nice Mantis shrimp was up and out of his burrow as well as a nice school of fusiliers around the opening to some of the cracks in the reef.
Tuesday started out with a Lighthouse Bommie snake hunt. We found two on the swimming reptiles cruising about the place and a third reptile in a green turtle sitting in hi normal camping spot watching the action. The snakes at lighthouse are Olive Sea Snakes and over the past couple of weeks they have been mating. The larger one has plenty of bite marks and scars from all of this love making action.
Pixies Pinnacle was up next and we had plenty of pelagic action to entertain us. Lots of Barracuda cruising in the top five meters of water and some very colorful Nudi’s down deeper.
It is always fun feeding the Cod however there is an element of safety involved and sitting still with your hands close to your body is one of these elements. I learnt this the hard way when taking photo’s I made a gesture to one of our divers with my hand. Unfortunately for me the Red Bass took this hand movement and a signal that I had food and grabbed the nearest piece of flesh they could see. My face and ear! At this point I left Spud and Chip and all of the divers and headed back to the boat with a nice trail of green blood coming from my face. Moral of the story, wear a hood when playing with fish!
The last dive of the day was Dynamite Pass where we did a very relaxed static dive just cruising with the fish and relaxing. We had seen Minke’s in the distance and this would most likely be the last chance we had to see them for this trip but they wouldn’t come close enough for us to get a good look at.
We spent the evening near Lizard Island where we then spent a couple of hours taking a walk along the beach and through the bush of the island on Thursday morning. Thursday afternoon we headed back out to the GBR and did a dive at Coral Princess Bommie followed by a night dive at Challenger Bay. Plenty of sharks, cuttlefish and Trevally hunting action to make for some very fun dives.
The overnight steam to Osprey had un in some fairly big rolling swells until Midnight. At this time the tide changed and the swells became closer together. It became a bit bumpy for a few hours and then calmed down again as we arrived at Osprey.
The first dive at Osprey Reef was ATB (Around The Bend) with little current running we did a one-way dive from a tender drop. Plenty of sharks to see and a nice way to wake up after a bit of a rolly night getting out there.
Our second Osprey dive was at False Entrance where we had a huge school of big eye Trevally hanging under the boat. Combining them with a nice school of barracuda and a half dozen white tip reef sharks making for a pretty fun dive.
For the afternoon and night time we moved over to Admiralty Anchor. A few swim throughs and a couple of random sharks to top off the sharky day that we had had. Lots of tired bodies were in bed early charging up for a big Saturday.
We started Saturday off with a drift down Blue Marlin Wall. We had 4 different schools of Bump Head Parrot fish come past us with up to 40 fish in each school. They kind off look like Bison as they swim along in the early morning light.
Dive two and the shark feed went off with a lot of action. A big pack of sharks kicking around and really putting on a show. A couple of sharks even managed to get a little over excited and crash into our divers. No harm done and the sharks went on their way.
We did a very speedy drift dive down soft coral wall for the third north horn dive of the day. Lots of sharks playing in the current and the colors of the coral along here are extremely impressive.
For our last Osprey Dive we went to Castles. The topography here earned a few comments like “Impressive” and “Incredible”. So many impressive towers of reef with tunnels bored threw them over years of current flow and soft corals draped all over the overhangs really make for a spectacular dive here and as always we had just that.
The crossing back from Osprey to the Ribbon Reefs was a fairly nice one with nothing too crazy in the form of large waves. We arrived at Crack A Jack at 6 am and jumped in for our first of two dives at 7am. Lots of smiles from diving at Crack A Jack with scorpion fish, nudibranchs, clown fish, cleaner shrimp, crabs, and FISH everywhere!!.
After two dives at Carckers we headed to Flair point for the final dive of the trip. A nice chilled 12 m deep dive with clown fish and nudis all over the place.
It has been a pleasure having our guests with us for the entire week and we look forward to seeing them back again soon.