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Dive Review of Spirit of Freedom in
Australia/Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea

Spirit of Freedom, Nov, 2012,

by John Sommerer, MD, US (Contributor Contributor 15 reports with 5 Helpful votes). Report 6841.

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

Accommodations For Subscribers Only Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude For Subscribers Only Environmental Sensitivity For Subscribers Only
Dive Operation For Subscribers Only Shore Diving For Subscribers Only
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ For Subscribers Only
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced For Subscribers Only
Comments This was a special charter, arranged through Reef and Rainforest. The Spirit of Freedom (SOF) spent two weeks diving all the way from Cairns to the north end of the Barrier Reef, then out to Ashmore and Boot Reefs, then out the Eastern Fields. Toward the beginning of the trip, those interested where put "ashore" on a tiny sandbar to (successfully) witness the total eclipse of November 14, 2012. Although the observation site was toward the north side of the path of totality, so the total phase was less than a minute, the view was fantastic, and out of my 5 total eclipse trips, certainly unique. Mark Strickland a professional photographer was aboard, as well as a high school physics teacher (who didn't dive!) as a resource for eclipse fans.

Since this was a special charter, most of my comments will not reflect the regular itinerary of this boat; I'll start with those that do. First off, this was probably the most professional crew I've seen on a dive boat. They really were top notch. They were all amp'ed up because this was not their regular one-week "milk run" as they described it, and several crew were added for the trip, but I'd dive with these folks anywhere. They worked hard, and well as a team, and they were uniformly helpful and friendly. Captain Tony, first mate Fabian, cruise director Nick, dive master Anna, and chef Tony were all particularly noteworthy. Captain Tony regularly drilled the crew on safety issues, and held emergency drills involving loss of rudder control, rescue, and first aid. All divers were provided with Nautilus Lifeline emergency transceivers at no additional charge. Nitrox was plentiful, and tank fills were rapid. They had lots of rental gear aboard, so any equipment problems were dealt with easily.

The regular dive sites visited by this boat, ... Subscribe to get the full story. For Subscribers Only  Active subscribers continue reading here

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, Costa Rica, Revillagigedos, Rapanui, Micronesia, Polynesia, Melanisia, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy, surge, currents, no currents
Water Temp 80 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 25 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No Deco, max depth 130ft, surface with 500psi. You were logged off the boat, and back on board with max depth and time. Computers were not checked
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks 1 or 2
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish For Subscribers Only
Small Critters For Subscribers Only Large Fish For Subscribers Only
Large Pelagics For Subscribers Only

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

Subject Matter For Subscribers Only Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's For Subscribers Only Shore Facilities For Subscribers Only
UW Photo Comments Ridiculously small area for photographers, for this special charter trip. Probably OK for their regular weekly milk ... Subscribe to get the full story. For Subscribers Only  Active subscribers continue reading here
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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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