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Reef Report for Monday, October 30, 2006

Trip Report: Pro Diveís 3-Day Live Aboard Great Barrier Reef Dive Trip
A Great Way to See the Reef!

We always love hearing stories and reviews of dive trips from our clientís perspectives, and just received this story from Steve Wolff. Steveís from the UK and now lives in California. Just this week started an online archive of underwater video from around the world. © Steve Wolff Steve has just added clips of video he just shot in mid October on the Great Barrier Reef, where he took a 3-day Dive Trip with Pro Dive Cairns. You can find Steveís craft online at www.worldscubatravel.com.

"I was down in Sydney for a short conference and as Iím shooting videos of dive sites around the world for a new dive web site Iím putting together, I couldnít resist heading back to Cairns and going diving again. Last time, I only did day dives and I remembered spending a lot of boat time covering the 50 km from Cairns to the reef. Iíd never done a live-aboard before so I figured that this would be a great opportunity to check one out and see how I enjoyed the combination of living on a boat, diving like a maniac and hanging out with people with similar interests from around the world.

For me, planning a trip begins with a web search. I quickly came upon divethereef.com and I was impressed with the amount of information on the site. Still, I did some independent research on the different dive outfits before I called divethereef to learn a bit more and set up my booking.

So, after spending 3 days at my conference in a business suit, I flew up to Cairns to spend 3 more days in a wet suit courtesy of ProDive Cairns. ProDive was extremely professional and ran a clean ship, with a great crew, including some fellow Brits, a German (fortunately, they let him do the cooking!) and a couple of Aussies. The quarters were tight, but comfortable; I shared a room with another Brit and the boat had an international, mixed gender, mixed age group of 33 divers. The boat had plenty of bathrooms and hot water, which, even though the ocean was 24 C (75 F), was useful to warm us up after a dive, especially given the number of dives that we were doing.

After the 3 hour, bumpy ride out to the reef, and yes, we had plenty on board who were "chumming" the fish on the way out. (Take seasick meds with you if you are prone to motion sickness, which fortunately I am not.) It was also a bit choppy on the way back, even though it was still choppy, everyone had pretty much got their sea legs, much to the fishís disappointment. © Steve Wolff Once at the dive sites and night moorings we were behind the protection of the reef and the water was calm. We had a choice of up to 11 dives, including 2 night dives on 3 different reefs.

So, what about the diving? It was wonderful! The views and visibility were superb (especially compared to the 15 ft/ 3m we typically get in San Diego)! We had plenty of encounters with everything from turtles, huge potato cod, clown fish, cuttlefish and white tip reef sharks; seeing one cruising around on a night dive definitely got my air consumption up a bit! There were plenty of "locals" like bump-headed parrotfish and Maori wrasses. The only fish I wanted but didnít get to see (though others did) were lionfish, but getting close and personal (almost too close for comfort at one point!) with white tipped reef sharks certainly made up for it. The dive briefings were comprehensive and effective. In between dives, we were entertained with great food, lots of stories, some fun games and videos (including some of mine) from various dive sites around Australia and elsewhere. Also, I strongly recommend doing some snorkeling; itís a totally different perspective on the reef from the dives. At one point, it was like swimming around in an aquarium; fish everywhere! For those who want to preserve your memories but donít have camera / video equipment, ProDive rented out a few Sony Cybershots for use, but they didnít have color correction filters or lights on them (definitely recommended for the deeper dives.) I used a Sony correction filter which worked great!).

So, to summarize: great organization, excellent boat and staff, fun dive-mates and a great show down there. I highly recommend going under "down under"!

Steve Wolff

More Information:

Steve Wolffís Online Underwater Video Archive: www.worldscubatravel.com.

Pro Dive Cairns 3-day dive trip in detail.

(C) DiveTheReef The weekly reef report is written by Joel Groberg of DiveTheReef.com, who compiles them from the many conversations he has with dive staff in the area, as well as† many other local sources in the dive community.

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Great Barrier Reef Enterprises,
Pro Dive Cairns, Steve Wolff

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