Liveaboard diving at some of the world's greatest sites
Diving on the Great Barrier Reef: Frequently-Asked Questions about Down Under
Experience the underwater magic of the Great Barrier Reef.
This FAQ page is intended to accompany other pages about this trip and about our company (see links at left). Some of the answers below may include links to other other sites; please use the BACK key of your browser to return to this page.
When does the trip start and end?
On the last day of the trip, we should be back in Cairns by noon or earlier, though it would be best not to schedule any flights before 3:00 p.m. Also keep in mind that you need 24 hours between your last dive, and your first high-altitude flight.
What's the earliest flight I should book, to leave Cairns?
I'm traveling alone. Will everyone else be in couples?
How many days are there in an 8-day trip?
Our "8-day" trip thus consists of 7 full days and two partial days. And no, this question isn't analogous to asking "Who is buried in Grant's Tomb?" Some companies promote a trip of this length as being 9 days since it includes pieces of 9 different days. We feel it's more accurate to refer to this as 8 days.
Can I get my PADI or NAUI scuba diving certification this week?
However, you can complete the open-water diving portion of the certification process, and if you're not yet certified, that's an excellent way to learn to dive. Essentially, it means you do your classroom and pool practice with a PADI operator where you live, then finish up (with open-water diving) on the liveaboard. (It may be possible to make the same referral arrangement to complete a NAUI course, but please confirm with us in advance.)
There is a charge for the instructor on the boat, but you should have some savings at the other end, since you're not taking the full certification course. Just be sure to let us know on our pre-trip questionnaire that you'd like to do this.
How many dives can I do Down Under?
Is seasickness a problem on a live-aboard boat?
As we cross open water from one island to another, several times during the trip, we can hit rougher seas. Over-the-counter remedies are effective at preventing seasickness. We suggest taking a standard dose about noon on the day the trip starts, in case our crossing that evening hits rough water, then continue or discontinue it during the week, based on weather, and whether you feel susceptible. Or have your doctor prescribe a patch, which you wear all week, to dispense a low, steady dose of medication. You'll find more advice on the seasickness page of our diving site.
Do you really mean that ALL equipment is included, except computers?
BCDs, regulators, wetsuits, air tanks, weight belts, lights for night diving, mask, and fins are all included. If you have a dive computer, we encourage you to bring it. If you do not, you can rent one on the boat.
What's this live-aboard boat like?
The dive deck has a freshwater shower and freshwater rinse bins for equipment. Gear lockers are located beneath the tank rack for easy storage of equipment. Two ladders access the dive platform, where two additional in-water ladders hang for easy access to and from the water.
Designate someone as the Room Captain (or Room Czar, if you prefer, depending just what the duties will be...) That person should let us know who else should be put into the same cabin.
Are double cabins available?
Most beds on this boat are in rooms for 4 people. We have a few upgrades available for double rooms. We save very little when there's just one person in a room. So to get a single room, you'd have to pay more than double the basic trip price. The exact amount will depend on whether a double room is still open. You'll also have to pay a deposit, and a cancellation fee if you can't make it, for each of the extra spots you're taking.
Will I need cash for anything aboard the boat?
Payments for services on the boat can be made with Australian cash, travelers checks in Australian currency, or credit cards. You'll also need cash for crew gratuities at the end of the trip.
We suggest you simply get some Australian currency on arrival, at an ATM machine or an airport kiosk. If you get it through a kiosk, save your receipt; some kiosks will buy back any currency you don't use, at the same rate as you paid.
Am I expected to tip the crew?
Breakfasts will include eggs, bacon, pancakes, French toast, muffins, danish and fresh fruits. Lunches vary from soup and sandwiches, burgers, pasta, assorted salads, and quiche. For dinner we'll have lots of fresh vegetables, rice, pasta, chicken, beef, turkey, pork, and fish. Homemade baked breads, cookies and brownies are offered between dives. If you have any dietary restrictions or requests, please let us know on the questionnaire we send out about two months before the trip starts.
What water temperatures should I expect along the Great Barrier Reef?
Can I talk to someone who's been on this trip?
Our website includes a full page of comments from past travelers. Most of them have volunteered to talk about their experiences with future potential travelers. Please call for the names and phone numbers of references in your area.