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Dive Review of Cairns Dive Center/Kangaroo Explorer in
Australia/Cairns

Cairns Dive Center/Kangaroo Explorer, Sep, 2011,

by Michael Judd, OR, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 11 reports). Report 6275.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 25 to 26 Celsius Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 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 N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 2 stars
Service and Attitude 2 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 1 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments 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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