Silverswift-Great Barrier Reef- Certified Diver
Travel Review submitted by Anna 17/10/2014
Silverswift was gleaming in the sunlight as I approached from my check in point at the Reef Fleet Terminal just a short distance away. I was greeted by the on board photographer who was taking everyone’s photograph as they boarded with the magnificent Silverswift as a back drop.
All shoes off for safety while moving around the vessel, we helped ourselves to a breakfast of filtered coffee or tea, focaccias, muffins and fruit. The crew had handed us the relevant paperwork to fill in and hand back before the vessel left the marina @ 8.30am.
Luca, introduced the crew on board and gave us a briefing on the day and the boat layout in English while a Japanese member of staff did the same for the Japanese guests on board.
Soon we were heading out to sea and the introductory diving briefings were taking place. There were only 39 passengers on board today, so a very relaxed trip with a crew passenger ratio of 1:4. There were only 9 certified divers on board, all certified dives are guided at no extra cost, so no worries about being buddied up with the wrong buddy. Anyone running low on air would be led back towards the vessel to go and do their safety stop in the shallows while the rest of us could enjoy more dive time with our guide.
We were soon at our first dive site on Flynn Reef called Coral Gardens.
This really was a wonderful set up. No hanging about waiting on the back deck or hanging about on the surface for all of the divers to enter the water. 9.50am and I was first in after the guide, giant stride, a short swim to the mooring line after giving the okay. I was instructed to deflate and descend to 3m then as other divers came down the line to descend slowly to the blocks at the bottom and wait for the guide. Here he would be doing a skills refresher with 2 divers that hadn’t been diving in a while. This took around 1 minute for each one and we were off.
One of the most stunning dive sites I have ever dived on off this coast, such beautiful colourful and abundant coral. Amazing, I couldn’t wait for the next dive.
Back on the surface, I stayed on the back deck in my gear as we were only having a 30 minute surface interval before we were getting in for our second dive. This is a wet area and you must be completely dry before going inside to the saloon. The vessel moved to the 2nd location as the crew brought around some left over focaccias from breakfast for us to eat between dives. A coffee top up and a nibble, everyone that dived the first site opted to dive again.
Our 2nd site was called Gordon’s, phenomenal. The same easy entry, a very relaxing dive, great guide showing us very cool stuff. This dive had many beautiful swim throughs that we did, just stunning. So great to see the corals so healthy. We had a couple of divers on this dive that were having problems with their ears, but otherwise, everything was fine. The on board photographer swam around talking some very cool photos of people with Nemo and giant clams etc. These are for sale and will be displayed on the way back to Cairns. This service is a free service, and there is no obligation to buy any of the photos taken, but it is wonderful to get a professional photograph of your Great Barrier Reef memory, and many did so.
48 minutes later we are coming to the surface, another very cool thing that I forgot to mention; is that when you are ready to get to the ladder at the back of the boat and climb up, your guide is right there under the surface waiting for you to kneel on the bottom step and he takes your fins off and hands them up to you. Wonderful, a great idea and very easy to give that little bit of extra customer service. Once at the top of the stairs a crew member comes straight to down to say hello and welcome you back on board. They show you back to your spot on the deck and log your dive details.
Lunch time was upon us, what struck me straight away, was that unlike other vessels, there was not a queue waiting for food. In fact there was no one queuing. It was 12.40pm and the snorkelers had their lunch at 11.45am -12 noon, so they were all back in the water snorkelling when we got on board. Perfect!
Lunch consisted of Hot and cold choices of different cold meats, ratatouille and chicken curry, rice, sushi, 4 different salads, fresh prawns, bread and fruits. Very tasty. Aiko, was in charge of the food and the serving of hot drinks which was much appreciated after diving.
After lunch, Dave gave a very interesting marine talk on the back deck for those interested, as we moved to our 3rd and final dive site of the day.
Traceys’s is yet again another amazing dive site that Silverswift visits on her day to the reef. They have a choice of many reef sites to visit and will choose the best ones for the weather on that particular day. Tracey’s is a beautiful colourful shallow dive, so plenty of bottom time, even for those that are not too good on their air consumption. There were only 4 of us for this dive, and it tended to be the more experienced of us. We enjoyed 48 minutes of diving magic before completing our safety stop in the shallows (as in fact we had on the previous 2 dives). It was with a heavy heart that I climbed the back stairs for the last time that day. I just wanted to stay in the warm, calm, blue waters for a while longer; but it was 2.45pm, time to have a hot shower and get dried off for our journey back to Cairns.
My spirits soon lifted when I saw the yummy chocolate cake being served. There was also carrot cake plus cheese and biscuits being served. A few people took advantage of the licensed bar on board and were enjoying a cool beer on the journey home, while the rest of us enjoyed a soft drink or coffee. The photographs taken throughout the day were now on display for everyone to have a look and purchased if
During our last dive Sean the guide had removed a crown of thorns from the reef and brought it back on board and put in a bucket of water. Another marine talk was done on the way back; this time Dave talked about the crown of thorns and their destructive role in the ocean.
Dive logs completed and stamped, we cruised back into Cairns Marina at 4.30pm.
- This trip is great for everyone wanting to experience the best snorkelling and diving on offer on a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns, enjoying up to 5 hours water time. Not really suitable for families with young children.
- All snorkel and diving equipment, wet suits are included for divers and lycra suits included for snorkelers in the price of the day. Wetsuits can be hired by snorkelers for a small additional cost.
- A fast stable, comfortable journey to the outer reef on the Silverswift vessel. Arriving in just over an hour to the first site.
- The customer service is second to none!
Thank you to the crew on Silverswift, what a treat. Everything was amazing!