MV Reef Experience: Cairns Best Daily Vessel
The Best Snorkeling And Scuba Experience On The Great Barrier Reef
The MV Reef Experience is a modern, upscale, High speed Catamaran that provides daily trips for snorkelers, scuba divers and sightseeing sun worshipers to the outer reefs of the Great Barrier Reef. Departing each morning from Marlin Marina in Cairns the MV Reef Experience will travel about 90 minutes to one of the outer reefs.
Your day Aboard the MV Reef Experience
Your day aboard the MV Reef Experience starts like the dozen or so boats going to different portions of the Great Barrier Reef. You are picked up at your hotel and transported to the dock. When you arrive you will see that she is one of the newest boats getting ready to depart. Unless you are a Top Deck club guest (who have special VIP Check in and other services) , check in is about the same as well, except there is no one collecting an extra tax, as yours has already been calculated into the fare. Once you enter the gangway things start to really be different. You will be directed to get wet suit, which again other companies may charge extra for. Then time to pick up your BBQ breakfast of bacon and egg rolls. There is of course the mandatory safety brief, just like on an airplane. However, after that is an optional talk by the on-board marine biologist. They will give you a good background on the marine life you may encounter and some hints on where to look for elusive creatures.
When you reach the outer reefs, you may make a brief stopover. The MV Reef Experience is also used to transfer guest to the MV Reef Encounter, a boutique hotel and Liveaboard vessel that stays for extended times on the outer reefs. One good point about this arrangement is that the MV Reef Experience gets up to date local observations on the way to the outer reefs to determine where to dive for the day. Starting at around 9:30 till shortly before noon, divers and snorkelers can enjoy the reef, those who do not to enter the water yet, may opt for a glass bottom boat ride. Certified divers who present their “C”cards are entitled to one free dive while aboard the vessel and if they choose may purchase a second dive. Those who are not a certified diver may choose to take an introductory dive also included in the tour. This is something that most boats charge up to $100 for.
While you are relaxing over your freshly prepared lunch, the MV Reef Experience is relocating to another reef and dive site. When it arrives, you have another couple of hours to enjoy the water. Around 3:00 pm, the MV Reef Experience starts back towards the mainland. Along the way there will be wine and cheese served.
Scuba Dive Or Snorkel On The Outer Reefs with the MV Reef Experience
Experts disagree with how many types of reefs are found in the world, numbers range from three as Darwin suggested to six maybe even more. What ever the number, except for the deep water atoll, they are all found in the Great Barrier Reef Park. It is the Barrier reefs that get the most attention. Barrier reefs are categorized as being the first reefs in contact with the edge of the Continental shelf. The ocean side of these reefs are near or even at the edge of deep water. The continental shelf off Cairns drops to over 1,000 meters (over 3,300 feet.). In many places it is a near vertical drop, but nearly always greater than 45% slope. This deep water is rich in nutrients that the currents bring from the great depths over and around the coral reefs. Also riding up from the depths are pelagic species. A pelagic species are mid water dwellers, those that do not live at the shallow water or on the bottom. Samples of these will include most sharks, whales, marlin, Spanish mackerel, swordfish, sailfish,tuna and barracuda. These fish either individuality or in schools will travel back and forth from the deep waters and the reefs. Humpback and dwarf minke whales are migratory and will spend the winter months in the shallower waters of the reefs. The reefs are wide and shallow causing the ocean swell to reduce and spread out so providing protection for the area behind the reef. This area is called a lagoon. While the area in front of the reef may be a 1,000 meters deep the lagoon is seldom deeper than 35 meters.
The MV Reef Experience and sister companies maintain a number of permanent mooring authorized by the park authorities across a number of different reefs. This allows the MV Reef Experience flexibility in the dive sites it selects each day. Each site has a range of options that make them ideal for both snorkelers and scuba divers. Divers of different skill levels will find portions of the dive site best suited for them.