After 3 days of straight rain and overcast skies, Andrew and I decide we need to book something fast, or go stir crazy staying cooped up in our hostel. After checking out a few different options we decide to book a liveaboard dive boat with Cairns Dive Center. For just under $500 we get 2 nights’ accommodation on board their liveaboard shipped parked in the middle of the reef, 3 days of meals, 10 dives and we can upgrade our open water certification to an advanced certification. There are lots of other options out there, but this is by far the best option in terms of cost, and also offering the advanced scuba course.
We pack our day bags and head out early Monday morning to the boat that will take us out to the liveaboard ship. After being sick on the Yongala dive, we planned ahead and took sea sickness medication, and with so many people looking green on this boat ride, we were very glad that we did.
2 hours later we arrive at the Kangaroo Explorer, our home for the next 3 days. With no time to waste, we’re given the tour of the boat, and head straight into our first dive briefing. Accommodations are simple, double bed with ensuite, more than enough for the little time we are here. After our dive brief, we are sized up and suited up and into the water we go. The first dive is guided to assess everyone’s skill level, and to give everyone a layout of the first dive site. The water here is a warm 24 degrees, the warmest water we’ve had the chance to dive in so far, but still not warm enough to forego the wet suit.
The reef does not disappoint with hundreds of different coral formations and dozens of different fish varieties. Over the next few days we dive at 3 different sites as we go through the advanced course – diving at night, deep diving, navigation and getting in and out of a small boat with our equipment. The sun finally comes out on day 2 which makes the diving even more spectacular with the colourful coral illuminated from the sunlight. The days start early here with a wake up call each day at 5:45 am – one dive before breakfast, and two more before lunch with a nice long break in the afternoon for sun tanning or a much needed nap, before doing a 4 pm dive or another evening dive.
With 3 days on the boat we’ve doubled our certified dives from 10 to 20, and are now qualified to dive to 30 meters and to dive at night. I think we are all dived out in Australia for now, but are looking forward to the diversity of fish life and coral that Thailand and Indonesia have to offer. It’s another early night to bed once we get back on the mainland, with our last day in Cairns tomorrow before flying to Perth for the last leg of our Australia journey.