I went on a 4 day / 3 night liveaboard with ProDive in Cairns, Australia aboard the Scubapro II. As was the theme with the rest of my diving on the east cost in March, the weather was less than perfect. The 3 hour trip out to the reef was a little bumpy and I think about half of the passengers were on the wrong side of queasy as a result.
Once we arrived at the reef we began our slate of 11 dives. The sites for the first day were Milln Reef, Petaj, and The Whale. Highlights of the first day were turtles, whitetip reef sharks, razorfish (they swim with their heads down – sorry for not getting a photo), and some nice nudibranchs. The ultimate highlight had to be on the nightdive at The Whale however. We found turtles that had their normal sleeping places there that were absolutely massive. These were easily the largest turtles that I have ever seen and were a real treat.
The diving the next day was more of the same at two sites on Flynn called Tennis Court and Gordons. Once again, the nightdive was the highlight. We saw several turtles again and some Grey Reef Sharks.
The highlight was at the end of the dive when we were doing our safety stop just on the edge of the lights from the boat and 3-4 Grey Reef Sharks were circling in and out of the shadows creating fantastic silhouettes. (And, “circling” in the non-aggressive sense. Trust me, we felt far from threatened and were wishing they would come closer.) We were enjoying watching them so much that we extended our 3 minute safety stop to about 15 resulting in a friendly warning from the dive supervisor about being late back to the boat.
The main highlight from the next day was this Potato Cod that this photo just does not do justice. This fish had to be 200kg (400lbs) or more. It was fantastic.
This swimthrough with some gorgeous Fan Corals was also a highlight of the last day but the viz just was not good enough to get a good photo.
The trip was very enjoyable and the crew on the boat were great. Unfortunately, on the way back to Cairns I found out that there was a cyclone that was getting too close to the coast and my diving for the rest of the week was cancelled.
I did make the best of it and went to the Northern Territory to do a real outback trip to see Uluru (Ayer’s Rock) in the center of Australia.
Editior’s Note: I’m almost caught up to where I am now (Perhentians in Malaysia). The photos are getting better and hopefully I’ll manage to post closer to the actual dive dates now.