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Dive Review of Cairns Dive Center/Kangaroo Explorer in

September, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Michael Judd, OR, US
Sr. Reviewer   (11 reports)
Report Number 6275
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving

Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
25   to 26    Celsius  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 60    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
2 stars
Service and Attitude
2 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
1 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars    
3 stars   
2 stars    
The Kangaroo Explorer demonstrates the adage that you get what you pay for.
 Our three day, two night trip to the inner Great Barrier Reef was much
less expensive than most liveaboards.  The cabin wasn't bad, and the food
was OK.  That's about it for the good news.
The trip starts with a ride on another company's boat out to their
"day on the reef" barge moored about 20 miles offshore.  The
Explorer people stood on the dock waiting to board only after all the other
company's guests were seated.  At the barge, we transfer to the Kangaroo
Explorer and head a couple of miles farther out to the first dive site.  
After settling in our cabins, all the new arrivals met on the dive deck for
a briefing for our first dive.  After the briefing, we surprised the dive
guide with the information that none of us had our equipment yet.  The
operator supplies the equipment as part of the price.  Many of the BCs were
on their last legs.  They also provided a single type of wetsuit, 3 mm
shortie with long sleeves - at least there were different sizes, although
Medium and Large ended up being hard to find, and there was no way to be
sure of keeping the same suit as there were a different batch of divers
every day (think about that one).  The consoles had computers, but no
instruction in their use was provided (as experienced divers, my girlfriend
and I were able to figure them out, but some of the many newbies had never
used a computer before).  No compass in the console, which was sorely
missed as most of the dives were unguided.  Tanks were small.
The operation was almost as bad as the equipment.  Briefings were very
brief, and on some dives not given at all.  There was usually, although not
always, one guide in the water.  A group of college guys, who had
apparently just been certified, were sent off on their own on the second
dive on their trip.  Night dives were available, with weak pocket lights
provided.  There was no strope in the water, because "the boat's
lights are bright enough".  Divers were again on their own, although
you could rent a guide for the night dive.  On one dive, my buddy and I got
caught in a current and ended up surfacing about 500 yards from the boat. 
Our waves for a pickup were ignored, although we did get a wave back and
were signalled to swim to the boat.  Why?  Because the little outboard was
being used by the captain to attempt to push on the Explorer to relieve
tension on the mooring line that had wrapped around one of the propellers. 
After a long hard swim back to the ship. the only comment from the crew was
to give me a bad time about using up the last of the air in my tank on the
swim back!  As a final gesture, the crew asked the departing guests to
clean "their" equipment after the last dive.  At least one guest
did not do so.
The dive sites were average, not nearly as good as the more distant areas
visited by real liveaboards out of Cairns.  The boat's schedule, returning
to the barge to pick up or drop off divers twice a day, limits the
Explorer's range, which means many of the same sites are used three or four
times over the course of three days.  
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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