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Old 08-26-2007, 07:11 PM   #21
georoc01
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I'm going in December. Diving off the Nimrod Explorer. Anyone have any experience with them?
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Old 08-26-2007, 11:03 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by georoc01 View Post
I'm going in December. Diving off the Nimrod Explorer. Anyone have any experience with them?
It is a smaller older boat...in fact one of the oldest boats on the GBR....I did some research a few months ago for a group that is going next few months...strongly suggest go on the Spirit of Freedom on Mike Ball...bigger boats and stabilizers!
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Old 08-30-2007, 10:46 AM   #23
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I go to Cairns (Gateway to the GBR) once or twice a year as I have family up there.

I have done Nimrod once and Spirit of freedom 4 times. I would not recommend any day boats as the Reef they take you too is normally second rate and doesnt show the true beauti of the GBR.

To see and dive the GBR it is a must by a Liveaboard. If your going to travel all this way (From USA) I would strongly recommend at least a 7 day trip.



On my last trip on Spirit of Freedom (SOF) this is what basically happened.

I booked the 4 day trip to the Coral Sea whch goes out to Osprey Reef. I made my way to the Cairns airport and was met by the staff of SOF. We flew by small plane from Cairns, all the way along the GBR and arrived at Lizard Island. I think the flight took 45-60 minutes. Lizard Island is a small island which is at the start od the Ribbon reefs. There is a resort on the island which i was told charge $600-$1000aud a day for accomodation and meals. Trust me I wasnt going to buy a beer there.
Short walk from the airport down to the beach where we met the people coming off SOF and to catch the planes that we came in back to Cairns. They did the 3 day Cod hole trip.


The crew ferried us out to SOF and after showing us our rooms we were briefed on the setup of the boat as well as the diving. We did this while SOF steamed towards the dive site called the Cod Hole which is an hour or so away from Lizard. Best part of the dive brief was that they dont have dive time limits as long as you didnt go past 40m or into deco.
The diving deck is spacous and fresh water tubs are provided for camera gear and electronics. They use 88cuf yoke valved cylinders and Nitrox 32% is available. Everyone gets a dive gear spot for all your kit and accessories and another thing which is strongly surgested is that everyone drinks plenty of H2O (They give you a special SOF drink bottle with your name on it). Two fresh water showers are located near the dive deck. The maxium amount of customers on the boat is 24 which means everyone has alot of space. I think my trip we had 16.
Typical day starts around 6.00 were lite breakfast is served. Thats fruit juice,cerals, coffee/tea etc etc. Then its the dive brief for the first dive of the day. Detailed maps are drawn on a white board so everyone has a good idea of the dive site and what to look out for (special interests etc). Then your off on your first dive for the day. Remember no time limits, just come back with 50bar in your cylinder. Water is around the 28c in summer and down to 24c in winter. In summer I just dive with boardshorts and rashy. Winter 5mm semi-dry. The diving is very easy with excellent visability all year round. On my trip I had up to 50m Vis which is common in the Coral sea.



This bad shot gives you an idea of the Vis in the Coral Sea. The shot was taken at 30m.


Once back from the first dive a hot breakfast awaits you. Bacon and eggs, sausages and pan cakes etc etc etc. It laid out in a buffet style and you can go back as many times as you want. I did. After breakfast you had a short time to relax or have a little lay down before the second dive mid morning. Dive brief is on again with a new site to explore and your back into your half dried wetsuit and geared up for your next dive.
After the second dive your back on deck washing down cameras while the crew fill your cylinder and organise the boat to the next dive site. Basically the boat is moving while your either eating or sleeping. Lunch is served as a buffet style with prawns (shrimp) and smoked Salmon and all sorts of great after diving feasts. As the chef caters for everyone type of fussy eaters out there. It always important to get on well with the chef on a boat so I have been told by old sea dogs.
A little rest then dive brief is called for dive number 3. New spot same drill. Afterwards a lite refreshment is served and relax again before dive number 4 which is in late afternoon. I relax again after spending time sorting out camera gear and recharging batteries for strobes.
Dive number 4. Different site different dive same drill. By now your thinking I am glad i got the Nitrox package. Remember no time limits your diving to what your computer is telling you to do and your coming up with 50bar.
Dinner is after you cleaned yourself up after dive 4. Its a more formal afair with a 3 course meal. Aussie wine is provided to those who are not doing a night dive and desert is left until those who wish to go on a night dive come back.
Thats a typical day on SOF. Sleep, Eat, Dive, Eat, Sleep, Dive, Eat, Sleep, Dive........well you get the picture.


The staff on the boat are very professional and there is normally 8-10 which give a good customer to staff ratio. I found some details on the boat:
Length:37m
Beam: 7.1m
Speed: 12 Knots
Displacement: 250 tonnes
Has Electronic Stabilizers, unlimited fresh water, Nitrox and she is fully air condition.
After the 4 days we woke up at 6am and SOF was pulling up to the wharf in Cairns. After a days rest all the customers on the boat met up at a local pub/restaurant and had their photos already printed or edited on DVD.
For more info the website is www.spiritoffreedom.com.au


I am going again in April 08
Hope this gives anyone that was interested in GBR and the best it has to offer.

Any more question just post.



Aussie

Last edited by Aussie : 08-30-2007 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 08-30-2007, 01:59 PM   #24
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Great info...I did the Mike Ball Supersport a few years ago which was similar in size to the Nimrod...the boat was full...it was a miserable trip...the crew was great just very cramped quarters...Mike Ball now uses the Spoiledsport for that run a bigger and nicer boat.....I have to try the Spirit of Freedom the next time I do the GBR.
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Old 08-30-2007, 02:33 PM   #25
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talk about a report good job. hopefully one day i will do that myself, it is on the list
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Old 09-02-2007, 03:38 AM   #26
caroswin
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You honestly can't go past Spirit of Freedom for the liveaboards in the GBR.

If you do go on the dayboats either go on the Tusa boats as they limit to 30 people and get out there quite quickly, or head up the coast about an hour to Port Douglas. There you'll find Poseidon and Haba dayboats which both do excellent trips. Port Douglas is closer to the GBR than Cairns so there's more time on the reef and less time travelling. You seem to get a lot more bang for your buck on the Port Douglas dayboats than Cairns.
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Old 09-02-2007, 08:13 PM   #27
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Great write up Aussie. As much as I'd like to dive the GBR next year when I'm in the area, I don't think it's going to be feasible to do 2 liveaboards in one trip. I think I'll hang on to my desire to dive the GBR a little longer and do it the right way. Thanks for the good info all.
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Old 09-03-2007, 08:06 PM   #28
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I lived in Australia for six months and made it to the GBR twice. Did discover scuba both times. It was awesome. one of the places we dove had hundreds of barracuda swimming in a circle just hanging out. It was the damnest thing. I did 7 dives on the reef total.
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Old 09-23-2007, 04:47 PM   #29
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I've never been, but it's on my list.
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