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Cairns Dive Centre – MV ReefKist Review

Created by Julie under on Wednesday 18th of April 2012

Cairns Dive Centre MV ReefKist offers Cairns’ cheapest Great Barrier Reef dive trip. At less than $200, these tours are great value for money and include two (2) certified dives, all equipment, lunch and snacks on the way home. Enjoy up to 4 hours on the reef and diving and snorkelling at 2 different reef sites, pending conditions.

By the way, this is also the most affordable option for snorkelers, with their day trip costing just $130.

Your Cairns Dive Centre reef day tour commences with check-in at MV ReefKist from 7am. The boat is berthed at Cairns Marlin Marina and can be found on E-Finger. The crew welcomed us aboard and there was complimentary tea and coffee on offer. Grabbing a cup, we enjoyed the early morning sunshine on the top deck, while completing the diver safety paperwork.

MV ReefKist, a 17.5m catamaran which can carry up to 75 guests, pulled out of the marina at 7.30am. The boat has a dual purpose; it provides transfers to and from Cairns Dive Centre’s liveaboard boat (MV Kangaroo Explorer) as well as day tours. As such, day tour passenger numbers are limited to just 40 guests, meaning that during your diving and snorkelling, there is plenty of space to enjoy the boat and the reef, without the crowds!

Cairns Dive Centre has licensed moorings at several different reef sites, meaning they can select the best reef and site to suit the conditions on the day. Reefs they may visit include Milln, Briggs, Moore and Thetford, which are about 40 nautical miles (70km) from Cairns. Today the winds forecast is 10-15 knots and we’re informed that we’re heading to Moore Reef.

MV ReefKist has two levels of air-conditioned interior and the exterior sundeck, where we relaxed as the boat motored first to Fitzroy Island (to pick up a passenger) and then onwards to Moore Reef. On today’s trip there were 29 day guests which comprised 12 certified divers, 3 introductory divers and 14 snorkelers.

On the way to our rendezvous with the liveaboard boat Kangaroo Explorer, the divers were provided with a briefing from the professional instructors. Certified divers can choose between guided (extra cost – $11 per person, per dive) and unguided diving.

The briefing covered underwater hand signals, lost buddy procedures and general safe diving practises. In total, the trip took just over 2 hours, arriving at Kangaroo Explorer at 9.45am. The stop-over was relatively brief (around 20 minutes), dropping off the liveaboard guests and picking up our lunch for the day. It was also an opportunity to rent an underwater camera for the day (extra cost – $45).

Pushing back, MV ReefKist made its way to our first dive / snorkel site of the day which was ‘Manta Bay’ at Moore Reef. On arrival, we were allocated our dive equipment and prepared for the first certified dive. Entering the water at around 10.45am we were excited to see what ‘Manta Bay’ had to offer.

Unfortunately, Cairns had been receiving some strong trade winds for the past few weeks, so visibility was only around 5m. That being said, we saw quite a variety of Great Barrier Reef fish including Red Bass, Midnight Snapper, Moorish Idols, Golden Damsels and Clark’s Anemonefish. The site itself was made up of several smaller reefs, which formed a horseshoe shaped site, featuring several swim throughs. The dive lasted 50 minutes with a max depth of 18m.

Back on board MV ReefKist, everyone was hungry and ready for a hearty buffet lunch, which included cold meats, a selection of salads (rice, potato and pasta) and warm lasagne. Lunch was served from 12-1pm. While we ate, the boat moved to its second reef location for the day, ‘West Temor’.

Our second dive started at 1pm. Visibility was the same and we started the dive by following the front mooring line down the blocks. The highlight of this dive was definitely seeing a Hawkesbill Turtle, but we also saw Moorish Idols, Sea Squirts, Christmas Tree Worms, Golden Damsels, schools of Glass Fish, Humbugs, Six-bar Wrasse, Goby, Nudibranchs and a large school of Yellow-tailed Fusiliers. This was another 50 minute dive with a maximum depth of 12m.

After the dive, there was time for a quick snorkel and swim, before MV ReefKist began its preparations for a 2.30pm departure. First stop was back at Kangaroo Explorer, to collect any liveaboard guests who were now returning to Cairns, second stop was at Fitzroy Island, to drop off some more guests, and finally Cairns.

The trip back was relaxing and accompanied by a complimentary cheese, cracker and fruit platter while the guests discussed what they had seen during the day. MV ReefKist arrived back into Cairns around 4.50pm.

THE VERDICT: Cairns Dive Centre offers the cheapest Cairns Great Barrier Reef dive and snorkel trips. These are great value for money day tours, offering up to four hours at the reef, exploring two different reef sites. The boat is comfortable for day visitors and the trip is great for budget travellers. Cairns Dive Centre is an experienced Cairns dive operator and introductory dives are available on board.

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Book This Tour With Us

M.V. Reef Kist – Cairns Dive Centre (Island Diver)

Great value one of Cairns cheapest day boats to the Great Barrier Reef. Full day snorkeling visiting 2 x Reef Locations. Includes lunch and all snorkel gear.
$230
Cairns Dive Centre


Review Image Gallery

Back in Cairns - thanks for the photo Phillip Warring Fitzroy Island Beach Quick stop off at Fitzroy Island Tying up ... Heading back to Kangaroo Explorer to get liveaboard pax Always someone on watch on MV ReefKist Christmas Tree Worms Commensal Anemone Shrimp (Thor amboinensis) Sea Squirt on Moore Reef Hawkesbill Turtle at Moore Reef Hawkesbill Turtle Diving 'West Temor' on Moore Reef Great Barrier Reef Corals Time for the second dive of the day! Hot and cold buffet lunch Lunch on MV ReefKist Great Barrier Reef Feather Stars Soft Corals on 'Manta Bay' Moore Reef Dive time! 1st dive at Moore Reef Quick stop to grab lunch MV Kangaroo Explorer Dive briefings with 'The Reef Team' Sit inside or outside Leaving Cairns for the trip out MV ReefKist comfortable day tour boat Cairns Dive Centre Review

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