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Ocean Quest – Minke Whale Dive Expeditions

4 Day / 4 Night Trip | Operates: Limited Season - June and July 2019 | Departs: Friday 8am | Transfers available: Not available

Deep Sea Divers Den is running a limited 2 month season of Dwarf Minke Whales trips, in June and July 2018. During this period, their Cairns liveaboard dive boat Ocean Quest, which is usually permanently at sea cruising the Outer Great Barrier Reef, will provide weekly trips to the Ribbon Reefs in search of the Dwarf Minke Whales.

The Dwarf Minke Whales make an annual, winter migration to the warmer waters of the Ribbon Reefs. This is one of the only places on earth, where you can participate in an in-water encounter with these inquisitive creatures of the sea. Truly a once in a lifetime, most memorable marine encounter.

The Ribbon Reefs are the best place to see the Dwarf Minke Whales. Located about 120km north of Cairns, the remote Ribbon Reefs offer divers some of the very best Great Barrier Reef diving. Think an amazing diversity of marine life, from the colourful small critters to the large potato cods, turtles, anemonefish and more. Diving is suitable for all divers, from beginners to experienced. Dive depth varies from 8 – 35m, making this trip the perfect option for anyone with an Open Water dive certification (license) or higher.

Ocean Quest is a comfortable liveaboard dive boat, offering guests the choice between double and twin cabin accommodation. Plenty of air-conditioned interior spaces, as well as an exterior sun deck and dive deck. Friendly crew. Dive equipment is an extra charge at $160.00 for the entire trip. All meals are included in the price. The boat travels to and from Cairns, providing diving on the Outer Great Barrier Reef and Ribbon Reefs.

Trip departs Friday and returns Tuesday. Dwarf Minke Whale encounters cannot be guaranteed, as they are wild creatures afterall, but if we can’t deliver Minkes we will deliver fantastic Great Barrier Reef diving. You can’t lose! Includes 4-Night Dives.

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Cairns Minke Whale Dive Trips

Free Underwater Camera Rental

Free Underwater Camera Rental

Book this trip or any selected liveaboard dive trip with us and receive a Free Cairns Underwater Camera Hire for the trip.

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Special - FREE Digital Underwater Camera Hire - Valid until the 31st AUGUST 2019

With every Ocean Quest Dwarf Minke Whale trip booking, you are entitled to 1 x FREE Digital Underwater Camera Hire

Rate Option # Dives Price Taxes Total Deposit
4 Day/4 Night Double Cert Diver Certified Diving 16 $1,930.00 $88.00 $2,018.00 $482.50
4 Day/4 Night Twin Cert Diver Certified Diving 16 $1,810.00 $88.00 $1,898.00 $452.50
4 Day/4 Night Double Snorkel Snorkeling - $1,830.00 $88.00 $1,918.00 $457.50
4 Day/4 Night Twin Snorkel Snorkeling - $1,710.00 $88.00 $1,798.00 $427.50

Inclusions: Accommodation and all meals.

Optional Extras: Advanced Course – $195.00, Full Gear Hire – $160.00

Extras: (Pay Later) An additional fee of $80 per person is payable direct to Ocean Quest. This covers appropriate reef tax fees and charges. This is included in the rates table above.


2020 Departure Dates Below:

Depart – 19th JUNE – Return – 23rd JUNE 2020
Depart – 26th JUNE – Return – 30th JUNE 2020
Depart – 03rd JULY – Return – 07th JULY 2020
Depart – 10th JULY – Return – 14th JULY 2020

*Maximum of 36 guests only


Minke Whale Prices 2020:

Certified Divers DOUBLE Rooms – $1,930.00 + $80.00 reef tax per person
Certified Divers TWIN Rooms $1,810.00 + $80.00 reef tax per person
Full Dive Gear Hire $160.00 per person

Snorkel DOUBLE Room – $1,830.00 + $80.00 reef tax per person
Snorkel TWIN Rooms – $1,710.00 + $80.00 reef tax per person

Prices are shown in Australian dollars and include GST. Prices subject to change without notice.

For your reference, we are pleased to provide the below itinerary for this trip. Please note that this itinerary is subject to change, pending weather and conditions. It is provided as a guide only. The schedule will be altered to maximise your in-water encounters with the Dwarf Minke Whales, as much as possible.

FRIDAY. Highlights: Day trip to Cairns’ Outer Great Barrier Reef, travelling with the day tour boat Reef Quest, before transferring to Ocean Quest for the liveaboard dive trip. Two (2) dives on Cairns’ Outer Great Barrier Reef. Overnight travel to the Ribbon Reefs.

MORE DETAIL: Your Ocean Quest Cod Hole and Dwarf Minke Whale adventure begins with an 8am check-in at the Deep Sea Divers Den shop, located at 319 Draper Street. From here, you are transferred to the marina, where you will board their day tour boat (Reef Quest) for a trip to the Outer Great Barrier Reef. Boat and dive briefings are provided en route to the reef, as is diving equipment. Enjoy two (2) dives and lunch on the Outer Great Barrier Reef, before transferring to the liveaboard boat Ocean Quest at around 2.30pm. On arrival you are allocated your cabins and settled in with appropriate briefings. Dinner is provided on board and tonight, Ocean Quest steams north to the Ribbon Reefs.

SATURDAY. Highlights: Waking up on the Ribbon Reefs. Looking for the Dwarf Minke Whales and (hopefully) enjoying some unique, in-water encounters with these inquisitive creatures. Today we will also visit the world famous Cod Hole. Five (5) dives, including a night dive.

MORE DETAIL:We make the most of our diving adventures on Ocean Quest. It’s an early start with a dive straight up. We think this is the best time of day to dive. The water is clear and the night critters are heading to bed, as the ‘daytime’ fish wake up and forage for food.Breakfast is served after the first dive and you can choose between hot and cold foods. Tea and coffee are available. After refilling your tanks, time for another dive. Dive locations will vary throughout the day and Ocean Quest will actively be on the look out for the Dwarf Minke Whales.
Lunch is served around noon and there’s more diving this afternoon, as well as a night dive tonight. Cruising around the Ribbon Reefs, one of our stops today will be the world famous Cod Hole. Why is it famous? It’s home to a resident population of friendly Potato Cod. Just another magic moment on the Great Barrier Reef, remember to bring your underwater camera!

SUNDAY & MONDAY. Highlights: Amazing scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef’s Ribbon Reefs, keeping a constant look out for the Dwarf Minke Whales. Certified scuba divers can enjoy up to nine (9) dives, including early morning and night dives. Sun rise and sun set over the Great Barrier Reef.

MORE DETAIL: Spend the next two days exploring the Ribbon Reefs. Your daily itinerary will be pretty much the same. Dive, eat, dive, eat, dive, eat, sleep. Oh not forgetting relaxing on the sun deck, in the communal spaces or in your cabin. This trip is all about showcasing the very best of the Great Barrier Reef and all of its creatures, great and small.

Exact destinations and dive sites will be chosen to maximise your experience, and chance for in water encounters with the Dwarf Minke Whales, pending the conditions and weather at the time of travel.

A highlight of these two days will be a visit to Steve’s Bommie. This is rated as one of Queensland’s best dive sites. Why? It’s an isolated bommie rising up from the ocean floor (at around 42m) to plateau about 8m from the surface. It’s a hub of Great Barrier Reef marine life. Hundreds of yellow snapper school around it, cod of all shapes and colours reside under its coral ledges and there’s too many anemonefish to mention.

On completion of the final night dive on Monday night, Ocean Quest packs up and commences the return journey to Cairns while you are sleeping.

TUESDAY. Highlights: Or lowlights. Wake up to find yourself back in Cairns. Breakfast is served on board, before you are transferred back to your accommodation.

MORE DETAIL: There is no water action today. Today is about packing up and saying farewell. A light breakfast will be served on board, before you depart Ocean Quest and are returned to your accommodation at around 7.30am.

This trip caters to certified divers only. Open Water certification is a minimum requirement and there is no solo diving on Ocean Quest. Any divers travelling on their own will be paired up with a buddy, of similar experience / skill levels. Most of the diving is unguided, however, Ocean Quest crew can provide assistance if required.

Those wishing to increase their diving skills and certification, have the choice of booking an Advanced Dive Course (for an additional $200); please ask for more information at the time of booking.

Diving equipment is not included in the tour price. You are welcome to bring your own (us for more information) or hire it on the boat ($160 for 4 day full equipment rental).

Certified divers can enjoy up to 16 dives on this trip: you do not have to do all of the dives, do as many or as few as you like. Comprehensive dive site briefings are provided before every dive. In regards to depth, divers should dive to their experience levels or certification. There are no set limits on dive time: although divers must return to the boat with a minimum of 50 bar of air left in their tanks.

Certified divers will be required to show evidence of their certification: through current dive licenses and log books. All divers will be required to sign a Waiver Release and Indemnity Deed onboard the boat. You will also be required to complete dive medical paperwork onboard.

Snorkellers are welcome to join Ocean Quest’s dedicated Dwarf Minke Whale trips, however please note that the main purpose of this trip is to accommodate certified scuba divers. The trip visits several Outer Great Barrier Reef and Ribbon Reef locations. The water quality and visibility will be good, but at some sites, the coral may be more than 8m beneath the surface. Please note that all sites are open water sites and as such, you will need to be a confident swimmer. When not snorkelling, you may enjoy relaxing on the sun deck, in your cabin or on the upper deck.

Perfect experience with so many highlights! - Jorja

Shoutout to Clint from Cairns dive adventures for helping us book this trip from pre planning to post trip! We hired a camera from Clint who gave us lots of helpful tips as well which was amazing. Ocean Quest; Catered for vegans, and had some amazing yummy food cooked by the chef. Amazing dive spots with abundance of marine life our favourite was lighthouse Bommie Swam with around 7 Dwarf Minke whales and overall the trip had 20-30 sightings including a humpback whale! Our room was spacious and neat with no issues and the staff were so helpful. ... travelled on 19/07/2019

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An AMAZING experience! - Nathan

Had an amazing trip out on the Ocean Quest scuba diving and snorkeling with Dwarf minke whales and at some of the best reef diving the Great Barrier Reef has to offer. This was all organised through Clint who did an amazing job making sure we were ready for the trip and had everything we needed, including loan of an underwater camera (plus tips on how to use it) and making sure our dietary requirements would be met (vegan) Super happy and would book through Clint again in a heartbeat! ... travelled on 19/07/2019

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Minke whale expedition - Brian Rasmussen

Amazing trip! Clint listened to what I was looking for and recommended this trip. I couldn’t have been happier. The boat, crew, equipment, dive sites, food, accommodations, and whale experts were first rate. I would recommend this without hesitation. Thanks for the memories!! ... travelled on 15/06/2018

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Free Underwater Camera Hire