Scuba Dive: Great Barrier Reef Coral Spawning 2010

Scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef during coral spawning is an amazing experience. Be there to witness the world’s largest living organism, the Great Barrier Reef, undertake its annual reproductive cycle. Watch as the corals release their eggs into the water, rising to the surface like a thousand bubbles in a champagne flute.

The coral spawn only occurs at night, generally between October and November, so you will need to book one of Cairns’ liveaboard dive tours to witness this natural phenomenon. There are three tours that give the chance to witness the 2010 Great Barrier Reef coral spawning in November: Cairns Dive Centre’s 3 day / 2 night tour aboard M.V Kangaroo Explorer; Pro Dive Cairns’ 3 day Outer Great Barrier Reef scuba diving tour; Reef Encounter’s 3 day / 2 night certified diving. Prices range from $470 – $699.

What is coral spawning? Essentially, it is the sexual reproduction of a coral reef and it usually occurs as a mass event once a year. Predicting timing for the Great Barrier Reef’s coral spawning is difficult and depends on a few factors.

  1. Water temperature. To trigger coral spawning the water temperature needs to be around 27 degrees Celsius, which is achieved during spring in Tropical North Queensland (September – December).
  2. Moon cycle. Interestingly, the Great Barrier Reef times its sexual reproduction around the cycle of the moon: nothing to do with romance, everything to do with the tides. To ensure maximum fertilisation there needs to be minimal tidal movement. Therefore, coral spawning generally occurs four to five days after the full moon in October or November, sometimes even December. For 2010, coral spawning is predicted to occur after November’s full moon. To increase your chances of diving the Great Barrier Reef coral spawning, you should try to book a Cairns live aboard dive tour between 25th – 27th November: we can not guarantee you will see the coral spawning event, but that is the best guess for this year. Scroll down to see options.
  3. At night. The coral spawning always occurs at night, so you need to be on a Cairns live aboard dive tour to catch this amazing, annual event.

The mass spawning usually lasts about one week and is known to produce a spawning slick, which is a coloured tinge / wash that appears on the water surface. The slick size varies and can be metres wide and kilometres long, in previous years the coral spawning slick has even been spotted from Outer Space.

The Great Barrier Reef is home to approximately 400 different types of coral. Corals reproduce asexually (when coral polyps bud) and sexually through coral spawning. Coral spawning is usually a mass event, with many different corals spawning at the same time: this is known as broadcast spawning and was first witnessed on the Great Barrier Reef by researchers in 1981. Once the coral egg has been fertilized it grows into what is called a planula which floats in the water for several days before settling on the ocean floor, budding and developing into a new coral colony.

Scuba diving coral spawning is simply amazing. You are literally witnessing the reproduction of the Great Barrier Reef and swimming amongst its life blood. As mentioned above, there are no guarantees on when the coral spawning will occur it is like predicting the first flowers of spring. However, on best guess, the Great Barrier Reef coral spawning in 2010 should occur in late November, between 25 – 27.

Great Barrier Reef Coral Spawning Dive Tours 2010

Cairns Dive Centre: 3 Day Dive Trip – 10 dives including night dive = $470
This is the most affordable Great Barrier Reef coral spawning dive tour available from Cairns, and it departs daily thanks to their day tour vessel, M.V Sun-Kist. You will live aboard M.V Kangaroo Explorer, with all meals, linen (except towels) and dive equipment included. During your coral spawning dive adventure you can enjoy two night dives (guided tour available at extra cost) and eight day dives at three Outer Great Barrier Reef locations. You will need a minimum of an Open Water Diver License and a current Dive Medical. Due to their daily departures, there is flexibility and you can tailor your tour around coral spawning. Ask for latest news when booking.

Pro Dive Cairns: 3 Day Outer Barrier Reef Diving: 11 dives incl night dive = $620
Book your Great Barrier Reef coral spawning live aboard dive tour with Pro Dive Cairns, the 2010 PADI Outstanding Dive Centre / Resort Business award winners. With Advanced Ecotourism Accreditation, you know they are committed to protecting the Great Barrier Reef, providing their guests with a sustainable diving experience. The three day tour departs daily (except Tuesdays) and includes all meals, linen (except towels), dive equipment and computers. You will need a minimum of an Open Water Diver License and a current Dive Medical and the adventure level of this tour is mild to mid, pending weather conditions.

Reef Encounter: 3 Day / 2 Night Certified Diving: 10 dives incl 2 night dives. = $699
Reef Encounter is a luxury, live aboard dive vessel which is permanently moored on Cairns Outer Great Barrier Reef. It has 21 twin / double air-conditioned staterooms, with their own en-suite making it the most comfortable live aboard vessel off Cairns. Daily transfers are provided by their day tour vessel Reef Experience and all meals, coach transfers and linen (except towels) are included in the ticket price. You will need a minimum of an Open Water Diver License and a current Dive Medical to book this tour. Also, please note that wetsuits and dive torches are not included, but are available at extra cost. When booking, please note that you will need to ‘Upgrade to 3 day / 2 night certified diving’ – scroll down to see this option.



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Cairns Underwater Camera Hire Service

Spend over $550.00 AUD on your Great Barrier Reef tour with us and receive the latest Digital Underwater Camera Hire. Take amazing High-Resolution images and 1080 HD Video. Only when you book online thru our website. 

Not available for any tours to the Islands as fine white sand damages the seals on the cameras and makes them leak!

You need to come into our shop located on the Cairns Esplanade the day before departure to pick up the camera before 5:30 pm. You also need to supply your own SD Camera Card and drop the camera off back at our shop before 5:30pm.


Please Remember there is no other way to collect our cameras! All passengers must come into our shop the day before departure day before 5:30 pm.