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Dive Review of Spirit of Freedom in
Australia/Great Barrier Reef

December, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by Steve Dussault, NH, US
Contributor   (13 reports)
Report Number 6822
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
North America, Central America, South America, Micronesia, Indonesia, 
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, choppy  
Water Temp
79   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
No deeper than 40 meters, NDL less than 5 minutes, 60-70 minute bottom time  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Large fresh water camera tank on the dive deck and a camera area inside. 
The camera area is a bit crowded with laptops and the charging receptacles
are underneath a table and can be difficult to get to.  The crew will
transport your camera to you after have entered the water.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
2 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
5 stars   
3 stars    
We did the 7-day trip to Cod Hole and Osprey Reef.  The 7-day trip really
consists of 2 trips - Monday to Thursday to the Cod Hole and Thursday to
Monday at Osprey Reef.  Divers who have signed up for the 3-day trip fly
back on Thursday from Lizard Island and the divers who have signed up for
the 4-day trip arrive by plane from Cairns.  Thursday morning we did a
short nature walk on Lizard Island and went swimming in the bay while
waiting for the airplane to arrive.  Those on the 7-day trip lose two dives
on Thursday morning due to the diver switchover and orientation.

Diving in Australia:  According to the Spirit of Freedom crew, the state of
Queensland, Australia has the most and strictest regulations in the world
for SCUBA diving
 For example, you have to report your max depth and bottom time upon
returning to the live aboard and sign the sheet acknowledging that you are
back on board.  The SoF provides to each diver a Nautilus Lifeline
( to carry with you while diving.  Due to the
popularity of the Great Barrier Reef, divers ranging from beginners to
experienced dive via a live aboard.  The crew does a great job adapting to
the wide range of abilities and experience.  

Front Office and Online Booking:  The office staff at SoF are very
professional, helpful, and prompt to respond to e-mail inquiries and

Boat: The Spirit of Freedom is a good sized live aboard vessel with ample
space everywhere but the dive deck.  They can accommodate a maximum of 26
divers. During our 7-day trip there were 25 divers, and the dive deck was
very crowded and can be difficult to move around at times.  The dive
platform is large and easy to enter and exit the water.  Typically the boat
is moored at the stern and all you have to do is follow the mooring line to
the dive site.  The boat is well maintained and in great shape with
independent air conditioning in each state room.  The food is freshly
prepared, there were many different types of dishes and the meals were very
good.  They serve a continental breakfast at 6:30 am. First dive is at 7
am. There is a hot breakfast served and another morning dive at 10.
Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style. Afternoon dives are at 1 and
4.  Dinner is served individually to your table at 7 pm. There are evening
BBQs at the end of the 3-day trip Wednesday night and again at the end of
the 4-day trip on Sunday night.

Upon boarding the boat your photo is taken then posted on a central
bulletin board with the other guests and crew so you can try to learn the
names of all the guest and crew.

Diving:  The diving on the trip is very diverse.  You get to dive with the
large cods, sharks, turtles, and lots of fish.  Depending upon where you
have dived before you may not find the coral (soft and hard) as healthy and
colorful as other locations.  There are 4 to 5 dives a day.  There is one
night dive during the 3-day trip and one during the 4-day trip. Maximum
depth allowed is 40 meters with an average bottom time of 60 minutes. 
NITROX (30%) is available and is recommended for the multiple dives.  If
you are flying immediately the day after the trip you may be limited to the
number of dives you can do on the last day.  SoF enforces 24 hours of no
diving before flying so plan accordingly.  

Ecological Awareness and Diver Etiquette:  The policy on the SoF is that
gloves are discretionary.  I would hope that the use of gloves would be
banned to help protect the health of the reef.  Also the use of the reef
sticks should be banned.  Dive Operators should provide recommendations to
divers how to be neutrally buoyant and streamline their equipment so that
they do not drag their loose and flailing equipment through the coral.  

Summary:  The Spirit of Freedom is a very good diving experience on a live
aboard for new and limited experience divers.  For experienced divers
looking for challenging diving and drift dives along the outside wall, this
trip may not fulfill all your expectations.

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Other dive reports on Spirit of Freedom

All Australia Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Australia
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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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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