7 Day / 7 Night - Cod Hole, Ribbon Reefs & Coral Sea Adventure
Sleek and spacious, the ‘Spirit of Freedom’ offers the best in live-aboard dive cruising to the Coral Sea and Ribbon Reefs.
Our 7 Day Expedition departs every Thursday from Cairns, and travels 240km along the rarely visited Ribbon Reefs, to the famous Cod Hole dive site. Along the ‘Ribbons’ you will encounter clouds of colourful tropical fish, an incredible variety of vibrant healthy corals, giant clams, anemones, huge schools of cruising pelagic fish, and a family of giant potato cod.
Included in your itinerary is an overnight stay in the secluded Watson’s Bay, with a couple of hours to explore Lizard Island, and 2 full days at Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea.
An old volcanic atoll lying 220km off the coast, Osprey Reef is renowned for its spectacular walls to 1,000m, its massive soft corals, shark action, and exceptional visibility. ‘North Horn’ at the tip of Osprey is a site where grey reef sharks, silvertips, and the occasional oceanic congregate. Here you can also experience a close encounter with the Spirit of Freedom shark attraction dive. During June/July this trip regularly encounters Dwarf Minke Whales.
Departs Cairns 12:00 noon Thursday
Returns Cairns 08:00am Thursday
Includes Transfers to/from your Cairns city hotel
Opportunity for up to 26 dives
En suite cabin with daily service
Chef-prepared gourmet meals (Australian style)
Australian wines & soft drinks with evening meals
Dive Level Recommendation Advanced type diving
Thursday: The Spirit of Freedom courtesy bus will pick you up from your Cairns hotel around 11:00am to transfer you to Trinity Wharf, where you will board the vessel. You will be greeted by the Spirit of Freedom crew, who will give you an orientation of the vessel before departing at 12 noon. Enjoy lunch on board while we cruise to the outer Great Barrier Reef for an afternoon check-out dive and a twilight or night dive. After dinner we cruise north to the Ribbon Reefs.
Friday & Saturday: These two days are spent diving at the most northern of the Ribbon Reefs, Number 9 & 10 Ribbon Reefs. Dive sites and sequence may vary depending on the weather conditions, but will always include at least one dive at the Cod Hole, where you encounter a family of massive and very friendly Potato Cod. Other sites may include Wonder-wall, Pixie Pinnacle, Challenger Bay, Two Towers, Lighthouse Bommie, and the Snake Pit, just to name a few. If the current is right, you may also take a drift dive at Dynamite Pass, well know as a channel for sharks to pass through. See the dive site page for site selection of some of our dive sites on the Ribbon Reefs. 4 to 5 dives will be available each day, including a night dive on the Friday. On Saturday evening we overnight at Watson’s Bay, Lizard Island, and enjoy a sunset BBQ dinner on the top deck.
Sunday: This morning after breakfast you will have the opportunity to go ashore at Lizard Island. This is a good chance to stretch your legs on land at the halfway point of your trip! We recommend taking the guided walk from Watson’s Beach to Mary Watson’s cottage, over Chinaman’s Ridge and back to the beach. Around 11.00am we will cruise back to Ribbon Reef Number 10 for two dives at a choice of sites including the Snake Pit, Cod Hole, Challenger Bay, Lighthouse Bommie, Pixie Wall, and Pixie Pinnacle. If the tide permits we may repeat a dive at the Cod Hole or visit new sites. We depart in the evening for a 10-hour crossing to Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea.
Monday & Tuesday: Two days will be spent diving Osprey Reef (weather permitting). Australia’s Coral Sea reefs are renowned for their crystal clear water, with visibility ranging from 30 to 100 metres. The landscape is amazing, with sheer walls laced with gorgonian fans, sea whips, and bright yellow soft corals, rising from the ocean floor thousands of feet below. ‘North Horn’ is a dive site at the tip of Osprey where grey reef sharks, silvertips, and the occasional oceanic congregate, and you can experience a close encounter with the Spirit of Freedom shark attraction dive. Four to five dives will be available each day, including a night dive on the Monday. See our Coral Sea and Osprey Reef dive sites here. On Tuesday night we will depart Osprey Reef for overnight travel to the Ribbon Reefs.
Wednesday: At Ribbon Reef Number 3 we will dive such sites as the sensational Steve’s Bommie, Temple of Doom, and Flare Point. A second option for this day, in special weather conditions, is to head south from Osprey to Bougainville Reef, known for its unusual underwater landscape or caverns, and its partially submerged wreck. On Wednesday evening we will cruise overnight back to Cairns.
Monday: We arrive back into Cairns at 06:30am. Enjoy a light breakfast on board and a group photo opportunity, before being dropped back to your Cairns accommodation around 08.00am.