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Dive Review of Deep Sea Diver's Den/Ocean Quest in
Australia/Great Barrier Reef

Deep Sea Diver's Den/Ocean Quest: "GBR Diving, or Not", Apr, 2017,

by Jeff Robertson , CA, US (Contributor Contributor 14 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 9772.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity 1 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments This was not a dive trip, just a few days diving while on vacation in Australia. My wife is a non-diver and we wanted to see the "Great Barrier Reef" while there recently. We probably shouldn't have. I visited the GBR years ago with Mike Ball doing almost 2 weeks of diving from 2 different liveaboard vessels, which were amazing experiences. Fantastic corals and healthy reef life, adrenaline rush diving up along the GBR from Cairns to Lizard Island and out to the Yongala Wreck, but that's another story.

On this trip, we found Deep Sea Divers Den who operates a day boat out of Cairns called the Sea Quest, with maybe 80 people, mixed snorkelers and divers. They also run the Ocean Quest liveaboard which hangs out about 90 minutes out of Cairns at Saxon / Norman Reefs. We booked a 3 day / 2 nite package.

You start out on the day boat with all the day folks in the morning, then after 2 dives transfer to the Ocean Quest for the afternoon and night dives, another day of diving, then meet up with the Sea Quest for the afternoon ride back to Cairns. The boats themselves are in good order and set up pretty well, but full of people.

Sea Quest is simply a cattle boat, where Ocean Quest is all that with overnight and meal accommodations. Our cabin was very nice and spacious with bathroom en suite and 3 big windows. No complaints there. The food was adequate and served in a dining room that was strictly controlled for time and meals. Don't try to go in early for a cup of coffee in the morning. You had to wait outside the door until meal time, then everyone was checked in, on at a time. The purser was a pleasant woman with a tight smile who was very good at telling you which rule you were breaking and why you shouldn't do something.

The diving was really a mixed bag. Briefings were terrible with little in the way of dive planning. Basically, here's the boat, here's the reef, stay on this side of the boat. Go on your own or pay $15 per diver per dive in a group. The reefs were in bad shape from coral bleaching, overuse and inexperienced divers. There were some cool things to see if you got lucky, though as I sit here typing, I can't recall anything specific.

I know this is a generally negative review and I don't want to slam the operation, just give fair warning. Their reviews on Trip Advisor are glowing, so I'm in the minority on that score. On balance the mostly young and energetic crew seemed experienced, helpful, friendly and truly wanted everyone to have the best experience. I asked one of the crew about the minimal boat, safety and dive briefings and he commiserated that most people who come out on Sea / Ocean Quest don't want to listen to detailed briefings. He said that Diver's Den found it was easier to correct people than to try to inform them. That seems to sum it up. Moo.
Websites Deep Sea Diver's Den   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Carib, Bahamas, Pacific
Closest Airport Cairns, Australia Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, cloudy, dry Seas choppy
Water Temp 80-°F / 27-°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 10-40 Ft/ 3-12 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Not much described or enforced.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 2 stars
Small Critters 1 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 1 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 1 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments I did not bring my camera, although I didn't notice any facilities for cameras or see anyone else who had one. You could rent a small camera for $50 a day.
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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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