Reef Magic Cruises – January Review
Cairns Dive Adventures Trip Review
Reef Magic Cruises and the Marine World pontoon offer guests an action packed day exploring the Great Barrier Reef with a variety of activities available. The sheltered coral gardens offer excellent snorkeling, with vibrant colours and diverse marine life. Wally the Maori Wrasse is definitely a highlight of everyone’s day! This trip is excellent for...
Reef Magic Cruises – January Review
Trip Review By: Julie
An Cairns outer reef pontoon is a great way to visit Cairns’ Great Barrier Reef, especially for families. Reef Magic’s Marine World activity platform offers guided cairns snorkeling tours, introductory and certified scuba diving, semi-submersible and glass bottom boat tours, an underwater observatory, scenic helicopter flights, an enclosed swimming area for children, massage station, sundeck and freshwater showers and change rooms. The pontoon is stable and calm, even in rough weather, providing a great base to explore the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef.
Our Reef Magic Cruises day tour started with an 8am check-in at the Reef Fleet Terminal, followed by a short stroll along Marlin Marina to the 30m catamaran.
The comfortable, multi-level vessel has air-conditioned interiors and a spacious sun deck with tea, coffee and cool drinks available onboard. Our destination was Moore Reef, which is 60km offshore from Cairns, approximately a 90-minute transfer with Reef Magic Cruises.
The Reef Magic crew takes this time to explain the amazing range of activities available at the Marine World pontoon, including snorkelling, the underwater observatory, glass bottom boat tours and semisubmersible tours, which are all included in the ticket price.
Introductory scuba diving was a popular choice with many passengers; about 40 guests signed up to get closer to the Great Barrier Reef. No experience is necessary to try an introductory dive, a thorough safety briefing is provided by experienced dive instructors and the pontoon provides a comfortable and safe environment for first time divers.
Certified divers enjoyed a welcome brief by dive master Carl, who explained the reef systems we would be visiting and provided hints and advice about the on-board equipment, including dive computers. The Reef Magic Cruises certified dive packages include dive guides, ensuring you see the very best locations.
As everyone relaxed on the spacious catamaran, enjoying views of the passing rainforest mountains and surrounding Coral Sea, Reef Magic’s marine biologist provided a very interesting introduction to the Great Barrier Reef through the onboard televisions and speaker system. He acknowledged the traditional owners, explained the reef’s ‘discovery’ by Captain James Cook in the 1770s and then highlighted different reef systems, coral types and critters of interest.
As the images of plate corals, brightly coloured parrotfish and nemo flashed across the screens, you could see everyone getting excited for what lay ahead.
On arrival at Marine World, the certified divers collected their lycra suits, masks and fins and headed to the dive tender which transferred them to the Radar Marker dive site. Moore Reef is approximately 6.5km long and has many dive sites available, pending conditions and diver experience.
The skies were slightly overcast as we slipped beneath the waves, but this was quickly forgotten as the residents of the reef welcomed us to their world.
Visibility was approximately 10m and as we skirted around a large tower of coral, we saw schools of grey sweetlip and dotted sweetlips, a clown triggerfish, parrotfish, butterfly fish, masses of damsels and a grey reef shark.
The dive highlight was a swim-through festooned with an amazing array of coral fans, lit by dappled sunlight. The colour and delicate beauty of the clustered fans was simply stunning and may have been missed without our dive guide’s expert knowledge of the reef.
Arriving back at Marine World at noon, we were just in time for the semi-submersible tour, which is a great way for families and non-divers to explore the underwater world with a knowledgeable guide explaining what passed by outside the windows.
Lunch was served between 12-1.30pm on the Marine World pontoon, providing guests the chance to recharge their batteries for the afternoon’s activities. After a quick bite to eat, it was time to snorkel the shallow, protected coral gardens that surrounded the pontoon.
A lowered deck allows comfortable entry and exit into the waters, as well as being the perfect place to put on your fins. It is also a great place to see the fish that has been made famous on the front of Reef Magic’s brochure: Wally the giant Maori Wrasse.
Wally emerges from the blue, somehow manages to squeeze himself onto the lowered platform where he happily gets stroked by his admiring fans. His dappled skin is slimy to touch and his big blue lips seem to smile as he passes you by.
The adventure drift snorkel started at 1.45pm. Guests gathered at the tender and were taken away from Marine World, starting their guided tour approximately 200m from the pontoon. The current gently carries you back, over the amazing coral gardens featuring hard and soft corals, coral bommies and anemone, with the guide pointing out interested features and explaining their relevance to you and the environment.
Activities end at 3pm and after a freshwater shower and change, we head back on to the spacious, Reef Magic Cruises catamaran for the fast, comfortable return journey to Cairns.
THE VERDICT: Reef Magic Cruises and the Marine World pontoon offer guests an action packed day exploring the Great Barrier Reef with a variety of activities available. The sheltered coral gardens offer excellent snorkeling, with vibrant colours and diverse marine life. Wally the Maori Wrasse is definitely a highlight of everyone’s day! This trip is excellent for families with younger children, older visitors and people wanting to do more than swim, snorkel and dive.
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FREE UNDERWATER CAMERA HIRE*
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.
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 6:00pm.