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Dive Review of Deep Sea Divers Den and Poseidon in
Australia/Great Barrier Reef

November, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Mort Rolleston, DC, US
Report Number 2860
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Ko Samui Thailand, Nassau, Bonaire, Key Largo FL, NC wrecks, Brockville
Ontario wrecks, Santa Catalina Is. CA, Coral Sea/GBR Australia
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
Water Temp
78   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
40-45 minute time limits.  Poseidon also required you to stay in a group
and they oddly were not flexible regarding buddy pairings.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
2 stars  
Shore Facilities  
separate water bucket for camera by request, but had to fend it off from
people wanting to wash other things in it.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
2 stars    
While in Australia, we did a couple of day trips out to the Great Barrier
Reef with family who were a mix of divers and non-divers.  We went with
Deep Sea Divers Den out of Cairns and did three dives at Norman Reef.  
Another day, we did three dives at Agincourt Reef with Poseidon out of Port
Douglas.  As the nature of both experiences were very similar and the reefs
close to each other, I combined my observations of both operations into one
entry.  In both cases, the dive boats were very comfortable and modern with
fun, well organized crew that did well given the large numbers of people
(about 50).  The small army on each boat consisted mostly of snorkelers and
beginner dive classes with less than a dozen certified divers.  Poseidon's
guides work hard as they also served as the drivers who picked up and
dropped us off from our hotel a half hour away.  Our driver and guide was
very helpful in giving us good information about the area and what to do. 
Both boats were on tight schedules and thus had a time limit of 40 or 45
minutes per dive.  Deep Sea Divers Den allowed us to dive on our own, but
Poseidon instructed all the divers to stay together in one of two groups 
each with a guide.  As the groups were cruising too quickly to actually
explore the reef and scaring all the fish away, we started lagging behind
and often separated from the group.  The guide was initially a little
annoyed, but realized we were experienced divers and gave us some latitude.
 Poseidon also wasnt flexible with buddy pairings for some reason.  Making
up for Poseidons tighter restrictions, however, the dives on Agincourt
Reef (sites:  Barracuda Bommie, Castle Rock, and Triggerfish City) were
superior to those on Norman Reef (sites:  Plate Top and Troppos) in all
categories.  Agincourt diving featured two bommies off the edge of the reef
and a rapid drift dive that ended up at a cave swimthrough into a beautiful
shallow coral reef.  The dives offered lots of barracuda, a few whitetips,
tons of medium size fish (snappers, parrotfish, groupers, etc.),
nudibranchs, morays, giant clams, and numerous large triggerfish who were
in their nesting season (we were warned to steer clear, with good reason as
several divers who got too close discovered).  By contrast, Norman Reef was
very mediocre in both fish and coral (though we saw some turtles and
barracuda) and the dive classes stirred up the bottom so visibility wasnt
great.  Coral on both trips was noticeably damaged by the sheer numbers of
beginner divers who carelessly bumped into it.  Despite the crowds and the
fact that the diving wasnt as good as the liveaboard we were on the week
before out of Townsville, these two day trips nicely served their purpose
of allowing us divers to spend a day sharing the Great Barrier Reef with
our non-diving friends on a fun comfortable boat (indeed we ran into our
snorkeling friends twice towards the end of some dives  which was fun). 
If you are a more serious diver who wants the best possible diving
situation, Id recommend finding an operator with a small number of fellow
divers who isnt on a tight time schedule.   My recommendation for where to
stay on land depends on what you are looking for.  If large, tacky beach
party cities are your thing  stay in Cairns.  If you prefer quieter, more
green and pleasant surroundings, I highly recommend Palm Cove (where we
stayed), which reminded me of the sea islands along coast of Georgia or
South Carolina.  If you are looking for something in between, the small
town of Port Douglas is your best bet.  If you plan to visit the nearby
Daintree National Park, Port Douglas is about an hour closer than Cairns. 
Palm Cove is in between and is the one of the few places in the area to
actually have a beach.  I also recommend spending a day driving/hiking in
the nearby Atherton Tablelands.  
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