Great Barrier Reef Still a Great Liveaboard Dive Destination
Recently we have seen a great deal of negative press about the Great Barrier Reef and diving there. We have heard of a rare unprovoked shark attack on a scuba diver, the first one world-wide in years. We have heard that the Australian government pressured the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to exclude the Great Barrier Reef from their climate change report. Coral bleaching has hit the Great Barrier reef, in fact About 36% of the world’s coral reefs are expected to be impacted by coral bleaching within the next few months. We have heard quotes about the Great Barrier Reef such as “We found on average, that 35 per cent of the corals are now dead or dying on 84 reefs that we surveyed along the northern and central sections of the Great Barrier Reef, between Townsville and Papua New Guinea,” says Professor Terry Hughes, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University (JCU). All of this might make you wonder about the headline, is Great Barrier Reef Still a Great Liveaboard Dive Destination? The answer is yes.
Cairns is the second most popular destination to learn how to dive and it is the center of the liveaboards industry in Australia. The majority of the country’s liveaboards sails from here. While the bleaching has had an impact on the reefs, the liveaboard industry has the ability to alter where they dive, giving time for reefs to recover. The outer reefs where the day tour boats visit and some of the short cruise dive liveaboards travel to are not as impacted as most reefs. Cairns has liveaboards that do short trips two or three nights like the Scuba Pro liveaboards. Another option is vessels such as the Reef Encounter and Ocean Quest that stay out on the reef for extended periods. Guest are shuttled to the boat by mean of a daily dive boat. This means you can stay just one night if you wish or as many as you wish.
Other liveaboards such as the Spirit of Freedom and the Spoilsport leave Cairns on seven night voyages that can be split into 3 or 4 night segments. These travel up to the ribbon reefs and may see some of the problem, however, the Ribbon reefs have so far been mostly spared by the bleaching. They also travel to Osprey reef which no signs of bleaching have been reported. While the bleaching is a serious problem with long term ramifications, so far the impact on marine life is minimal. It might not stay that way over the next few years but so far it till good.
We are also coming up to the time of the year that the Minke whales make their appearance in the Great Barrier Reef. The vessels going north have more sightings, but those that stay near Cairns also have special trips.
There is still a great deal going for the Great Barrier Reef and now is a great time to take a liveaboard trip to the Great Barrier Reef. You can find out more about the Great Barrier Reef and see further information on
Great Barrier Reef Liveaboards.