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Dive Review of Spirit of Freedom in
Australia/The Great Detached Reef

Spirit of Freedom: "The far Northerns", Nov, 2017,

by Mark A Mintz, FL, US ( 1 report). Report 10052.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The Great Detached Reef is located on the very far northern eastern coast of Australia and just below Papua Nuigini. Access is limited to a finite period of time due weather issues. The last time we tried to go in 2007 we were chased out by a Cyclone cat 3 and left prematurely. This time, the weather was unusually windy but diveable. Unlike the reports from 2016 that the Great Barrier Reef showed signs of doom and gloom on the reef systems due to coral bleaching, there was very little to none seen this far north. The stag horn was extremely healthy and the fish life was in good shape. There was a noticeable reduction in the number of large fish in this area. That being said there was abundant amount to photograph. Well worth the trip.
As to the ship and crew.
The ship accomadations havenít noticibly changed much since last on it 2005. The staff and and crew though were outstanding with their efforts and ability to get us safely in and out of the water with as much as 4 day dives and night dive depending on are itinerary.
Websites Spirit of Freedom   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Tropical Pacific, Atlantic, and Caribbean You name it. Iíve probably been there or near there
Closest Airport Cairns/ Lockhart River Getting There Via Los Angeles, use Virgin Australia since they do not harass you regarding carry-on luggage as Quantas has done to me on previous flights that I took with Quantas. Only sort of problem is changing from international to domestic terminal in Brisbane is a 15 min ride and is out of security. One could avoid that hassle by using Flights directly to Cairns. There is limited number of carriers from the US. Can use Philippine air via Manila to Cairns but a longer route.

Dive Conditions

Weather windy Seas choppy
Water Temp 78-81°F / 26-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 30-70 Ft/ 9-21 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Nitrox limitions. We were diving 32% at 1.4 with a 111 ft max depth. Never went below 85ft due to there was more to see and photograph above this level.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 1 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 There were over 15 photographers with serious big rig housings. The staff turned the forward salon into a cozy tight quartered but duable camera room. They went out of their way to accomodate us!!!
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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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