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

Spirit of Freedom: "Finally, the Great Barrier reef!", Feb, 2015,

by Raymond Haddad, QC, CA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 10 reports with 9 Helpful votes). Report 8472 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments After reading so much about the Great Barrier Reef, I decided that it was time to check it out. I flew from Montreal to Cairns, via Los Angeles and Brisbane. I arrived in Cairns the day before our departure in order to rest up before my seven day excursion aboard the Spirit of Freedom (SOF). The SOF offers three options: 3 day trip to Cod Hole, 4 day trip to Osprey Reef or 7 day trip going to both places. Travelling from so far away, I chose the 7 day trip. I was picked up on time from my hotel and was driven to the ship along with others. For the first part of the trip I was alone in my room. The SOF is your typical liveaboard. You set up your gear for the week, two dives in the morning, two dives in the afternoon and most of the time a night dive. The food was great and the staff was even better. All dives are done from the boat and you even exit the water with your fins on. They have a large ladder and once you exit, a crewmember will remove your fins for you. The dive deck is fairly spacious and there is a large camera rinse tank. They provide a detailed dive briefing prior to each dive. You can dive with your buddy or hand around one of the dive masters. They are very strict about the roll call which is a good thing. Part one of the trip is called Cod Hole. The dive conditions were variable and same for the weather. Some sites visibility was great others not so. We did not see the sun very often. You get to feed the Potato Cods on one of the dives with plenty of photo opportunities. Night dives were crazy with many Travelis and white tip sharks hunting for food. Mid way through the trip, there is a drop off/pick up at Lizard Island. Those that are only doing the 3 day trip are dropped off and flown back to Cairns. Guest doing the 4 days Osprey Reef are picked up. Prior to reboarding the boat, you get to do a guided tour of the island. The boat ride from Lizard Island to Osprey Reef is about 10 hours. Unfortunately, there was a typhoon just north of the reef which cancelled the trip there. Instead we headed south back towards Cairns to complete the journey. On one dive, the mooring line broke while all divers were in the water because of a bad storm. Only two of us made it back to the boat without the aid of skiffs. The situation has handled very safely by the crew. The same night, the night dive was cancelled because of very bad weather. Overall, the diving was very good, the crew is fantastic and the boat is very well maintained. I will have to go back someday in order to dive the Osprey Reef.
Websites Spirit of Freedom   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Bahamas, Palau, Fiji, Maldives, Honduras, Belize, Cayman, Turk & Caicos, Indonesia
Closest Airport Cairns Getting There LA to Brisbane to Cairns

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy Seas choppy, surge
Water Temp 78-82°F / 26-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 40-80 Ft/ 12-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Typical liveaboard back to the boat with 500 psi
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Fairly large rinse tank. The handle your gear carefully. Many computers and power outlets available.
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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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