After talking to many other travel agents across many different companies, everyone talks so highly of the Port Douglas Great Barrier Reef Trips going to the Agincourt Ribbon Reef. After working at Nomads Cairns for quite some time, I guess you could call me a bit of an expert on Cairns Great Barrier Reef Tours... however I was eager to explore what lied beneath Port Douglas! So I decided to escape to the reef with Silversonic for the day...
The day starts with a 6:50am pick up from Nomads Cairns followed by a drive along the coast north to Port Douglas. The scenery was beautiful so early in the morning and was also the only time I've ever seen wild Wallabies in the North Queensland Region.
When we arrived in Port Douglas we were quickly checked in at the office, paid our $6 reef levy and took a short walk to the boat. The boat, SilverSonic, is a beautiful white boat with modern electric blue vinyl on the side. As we boarded the boat there was tea, coffee water, pastries and sandwiches available all included in the price!
It was a very fast cruise out to the Reef, taking roughly 1 and a half hour. Silversonic is one of the fastest boats on the reef and you sure can feel the speed! On the way out we saw a Humpback Whale swimming to the left of the boat and as we got out there we had six Dolphins playing next to our boat.
The tour had the option to not only Snorkel, but add on an Introductory or Certified Scuba Dive, depending on your level of experience. As I had not yet to get my Open Water Certificate, I decided to try another Introductory Scuba Dive. Along with the other Intro Divers, we were given a briefing from our guides and asked to fill in a PADI form, ready for our guided dive at our first stop.
Soon we arrived at our first location and it was time for a Skills lesson on diving from our instructors. We learnt the hand symbols, how to breath, inflate, deflate and regulate our air. We were in a group of four with one experienced guide. His knowledge was spot on and knew the Reef extremely well. We saw Nemo, Butterfly Fish, Parrot fish and also a Hammer Head Shark! Sharks are rare on the reef, especially Hammer Heads - so we were very lucky! For those of you who may be nervous about diving, an Introductory Dive is a great way to get a taste of what scuba diving is all about. The guides are extremely patient and comforting.
We then moved on to our second spot for the day, Barracuda Bommie, which is known for its Barracuda's. This is also the spot where we had lunch. With a selection of hot and cold food, tea coffee and water, there was enough food there to feed a small army let alone the 50 people on board!
We then went for a snorkel and had the option to tag along with a guide or head off on our own to explore (with the guides keeping watch of course!). Once again the corals and marine life were amazing.
Now onto our third and final location on this spectacular reef. The spot was called Helms Deep. Here the guides on the boat recommended a guided snorkel which was free of charge. It was really informative and took everyone to all the best spots. We even saw another shark, it was a Grey Tip Reef shark just chilling under us. It was pretty amazing! After being in the water for roughly 45 minutes it was time to leave.
On the way back the crew did a marine talk on the animals and coral that we saw during the day. We then stopped at low isle on the way back to look for Manta Rays! Unfortunately we didn't see any but it was still a beautiful stop to be at before we headed back to land.
Overall an amazing experience and the reef is always a must do when in Cairns or Port Douglas!