Hole and The Ribbon Reefs:
The Great Barrier Reef at its Best.
Any diver’s list of most outstanding dive regions on the Great
Barrier Reef would include Cod Hole and the Ribbon Reefs. This string
of long narrow reefs, also known as the Northern Reefs, lies about 60
miles north of Cairns. The person who named them must have run out of
imagination, for they are simply named #1 through #10, from South to North.
Remote But Easily Accessed:
This region's relatively remote but still accessible location results
in excellent dive conditions. The visibility here is consistently better
than locations closer to cities and zones of coastal agriculture. The
area is also out of the reach of day boats and gets much less visitation.
What’s more, the five dive operators that do utilize this region
have started to work together to protect the area, and enhance the experience
of all divers fortunate enough to visit.
Pinnacles, Walls and Flats; varied diving:
This string of reefs offers a variety of excellent dive opportunities.
There are coral pinnacles and drop-offs that attract diverse reef life
and large pelagic fish, protected areas behind the reefs with large hard
and soft coral formations, as well as many other dive sites. Great diving
is found here year-round, with a number of trips departing weekly.
Cod Hole: Big fish up close and personal:
The most famous dive site on the Ribbon Reefs by far is Cod Hole.
Cod Hole is known for the groups of large (150kg or more) Potato Cod and
Maori Wrasse that have become accustomed to divers over the past 30 years,
and will approach quite closely. It’s an excellent photo opportunity,
just be sure and have a wide-angle lens; these fish are huge!
Even Bigger Things: Diving with whales!
During the months of June and July Dwarf Minke Whales are found on this
section of the reef, and are known to linger in encounters with snorkelers
that last for hours. Local dive operators do offer trips that aim to maximize
these encounters, as well as dive some of the outstanding dive sites in
the area, learn more about diving with Minke Whales here.
Three to Five-Day Trips
Due to the distance away from Cairns and Port Douglas, dive trips to this
region range in length from three to five days. From Cairns its an overnight
run on the boat to get there. Many operators break up the run with a dive
or two along the way, others fly guests one way or the other, using the
airports at Cooktown or Lizard Island as jump off points. Port Douglas,
being 40 miles closer, is also a good bet if you are interested in shortening
the amount of time spent aboard the boat. If you wish to combine an overland
adventure with a dive on the Ribbon Reefs there is also a dive operator
in Cooktown a good day’s drive North of Cairns that offers 1 to
3-day trips to these reefs, contact us if this combination overland/sea
adventure suits you.