Deep Sea Divers Den-Certified Diver-3 Day 2 Night Liveaboard
Deep Sea Divers Den – 3 Day 2 Night Liveaboard
Review submitted by Anna 21/09/14
My Liveaboard dive adventure started with a check in at the DSDD shop on Draper Street @ 8.00am. Arriving a little early, I was able to have a look at all of the cool diving gear that they have on sale. I purchased a thermal dive vest for under my wet suit and a new dive log.
Soon people were arriving on DSDD buses after being picked up from their accommodation; here they paid any fees and reef taxes owed for their trip, before being loaded back onto the buses and dropped off down at the Marina close to the boat.
Time to start my Deep Sea Divers Den-Certified Diver-3 day 2 Night Liveaboard adventure.
Upon boarding we were greeted by the crew and handed paperwork to fill in and return as soon as possible; we were also issued with a safety number that would be ours while we were upon this vessel.
To be able to do a Liveaboard trip with Deep Sea Divers Den upon their amazing vessel Ocean Quest, you must first travel on their day trip boat Sea Quest with the day trippers to the outer reef. You actually spend the first day on Sea Quest where you can enjoy up to 2 Dives, either certified or introductory or unlimited snorkelling.
Just after 8.40am, all the paperwork completed and after waiting for some late guests, we were pulling out of Cairns Marina on our way to The Great Barrier Reef.
Guests were drinking tea or coffee and also there were muffins on sale for $3 for anyone wishing purchase one. Everyone settled, Andy gave a very funny and detailed safety briefing on the day and procedures whilst on board.
Nice to see some of the longer serving crew still on board, so many new faces all of the time in the boat industry. Tom the photographer has worked for DSDD for years, and he gave an enthusiastic talk on his role and how his job would be capturing all of those great moments in the water whether you were snorkelling or diving. He also had a few underwater cameras for hire available to anyone wishing to capture their own memories.
Excited for the next few days ahead, as it looked like I had picked the best weather, calm seas and sunny skies. There was a good vibe on board as Glenny the skipper took us out to the Great Barrier Reef and our first location of the day Hastings Reef.
Snorkel and dive briefings occur in small groups on our way out to the reef so that once you are there you can geared up and get straight in the water without any time wasting.
It was a bit crazy on the dive deck getting ready as there seemed to be a few guests where their first language wasn’t English trying to get into their snorkel gear in the dive area, therefore holding up divers waiting to get in.
The briefings are given in English and Japanese, however there were also French, German and Korean speaking staff on board too, so very well covered. The snorkellers and introductory divers enter the ocean via a easy access lowered platform on the back deck.
The certified divers enter the ocean with a giant stride via an exit near the saloon, this keeps everything flowing.
After two dives I was ready for a rest with my book. I had started my trip with a cold so really didn’t want to push my luck with my ears as they were struggling a little to equalize.
Dives are limited to 50 minutes or 50 bar back on the surface, whichever comes first. This is great as a good few of the reef trips maximise dive time to 40 minutes.Top quality dive gear and in new condition as a well as new wetsuits and Lycra suits on board, the equipment is included in the cost of the trip. They also have 2 dive tank sizes, great for those that maybe use their air a little quickly.
Lunch was a yummy display of various cold meats and salads, soft rolls and chicken soup, also plenty of 2nds for anyone still hungry. The bar is also open at this point, so you can buy snacks and soft drinks, alcohol is for sale too, however for safety reasons your first sip of alcohol is the end of your water activities for the day.
This is standard procedure on ALL vessels. Free fresh water is available for you to drink all day and is encouraged; next to the water urn is Free sun cream to use also.
After lunch, anyone on the day trip wishing to dive could do one more dive or there was plenty of time for some more snorkelling. The boat had moved for the afternoon session, so a new reef site to explore. At this point, guests were invited to participate in the free guided informative snorkel tour that the staff were organising, or, you could just go off and snorkel solo.
It was soon 2.30pm and we had pulled alongside the beautiful and extremely large Ocean Quest for our Liveaboard. The crew transferred supplies over to the Liveaboard first, then a few crew swapped over, then a few guests came back on board the day boat after their Liveaboard.
Soon we were on Ocean Quest and being greeted in the restaurant with little cakes and a smiley crew. Mainly new faces from when I had been on board last, I only recognised Greg the Skipper.
After a safety briefing and run down on how that vessel operated, diving times, and dinner times etc, we were shown to our cabins. I was very happy with my private cabin, so looking forward to chilling out, a little afternoon snooze and the odd dive.
I decided to give the 4pm dive a miss and do the night dive instead. This is at 7pm after a 6.30pm briefing on the dive deck.
I have done many night dives, but…I knew this one would be way different as DSDD are the only company in Australia to offer Fluoro Diving on a night dive. This is an extra cost on top of the dive trip but well worth it, what an experience! Night dives with a UV/ blue torch for viewing bio-fluorescence, the property of some marine life to re-emit light with a longer wavelength (of visible light) when illuminated with (nearly invisible) UV/blue light. Magical…….
After dessert at 8.30pm, we sat around in the plush bar/ lounge area and chatted. Everyone talking excitedly about their night dive I noticed on Liveaboard’s that most people are exhausted and you may find that 50% of people go to their cabins for the evening straight after dessert. For the party animals amongst us, we may make it to 9.15pm; and sure enough as I also retired, with my cup of tea still in hand, I noticed that there were about 4 people left up at this time plus a few crew.
Day Two and after an average night’s sleep due to my cold, I was up at 5.30am to do the first dive of the day but decided not to, as there is the option of doing up to 5 dives on the 2nd day if you are doing a 3 day 2 night trip like myself. (If you choose a 2 day 1 night trip then you will have the chance to do up to 3 dives, before transferring back onto the day boat at 2.30pm). I decided to pace myself and relax.
I enjoyed a little breakfast which is served after the first dive at 7.30am. This is self-service and consists of the favourite, bacon, eggs, sausage, mini pancakes beans, fried tomatoes and toast. There is also fruit and yoghurt as well as cereals and fruit juice so plenty of choice and is done as self-service.
You have unlimited snorkel time if you are snorkelling, just coming on board for lunch or when the boat moves location. The first snorkellers are allowed in the water after breakfast, usually around 8.30-9 am. There is no snorkelling allowed at night though, for safety purposes.
After the first dive, Ocean Quest moved reef locations twice on the second day; this will vary depending upon the weather, with the skipper always choosing the best sites based on the day.
Three dives are enjoyed in the first part of the day, if you are checking out that day, then you will have around 20 minutes to get a quick shower after the 3rd dive and check out of your room for 12 noon with lunch at around 12.30pm. Water activities are suspended then until after the new guests arrive on board in the afternoon and the leaving guests have transferred back onto the day boat.
Of the new guests arriving some of them were local agents accompanied by the DSDD representative Kath. I have known Kath for a few years but never been diving with her so was looking forward to this.
The next dive and snorkel session was at 4pm and the night dive once again after dinner at 7pm. I had met the other agents and Kath and done the 4pm dive with them, so we buddied up and did the Fluoro Night Dive together. Amazing, even better than the first one I did.
One observation that I made, is that once the dive briefings are done and you are geared up and ready to go into the ocean, there are crew everywhere, checking your air, getting signatures, checking you again. But when you are getting back out of the water, I think that it would be great for a member of staff to come down to the steps and take fins and masks from divers when they are trying to get back on deck.That little bit of extra customer service was needed at that point I felt and would make a huge difference. Otherwise that was the only thing that I felt needed addressing for the entire trip.
Another day over and another early night to bed, the morning came too soon. But, I was up bright and breezy and could not wait to get into the water for the early dive. However, my ears weren’t having it. All of us at some point during that dive or another seemed to have ear problems funnily enough. I signalled that I would go back to the boat after around 30 minutes and got the okay. When I turned around, the whole buddied team had decided to return to the boat, where I heard that they’d had problems too.
I along with some of the others decided to miss the next dive; I chose to have a bit of time on the huge sun deck with a cup of soup and my book. Wonderful… Beautiful weather, really could not have asked for better weather. With the morning and indeed the trip coming to an end, I headed to my cabin and got my gear packed up ready to check out at noon.
Housekeeping will actually come and make the bed in your cabin with fresh linen at around 10.30am. You can’t then lie on the bed, but you are welcome to stay in the room until 12 noon or have a shower after sun baking on the deck or you have access to the hot showers on the back deck, if you want to freshen up just before your transfer back to the day boat.
Lunch was served at 12.30pm, I must say that all of the meals on board were excellent and the last lunch was no exception with many going up for 2nds. There are no more water activities after lunch, so time for a chill out on the deck, or in the lounge if you prefer before the transfer back on to Reef Quest around 2.30pm.
We arrived back in Cairns around 4.45pm and were taken in buses back to the Deep Sea Divers Den shop. This is a great opportunity for anyone wishing to purchase any souvenirs, tea shirts, dive gear etc. After a brief stop at the shop you are given a complimentary transfer to your city accommodation.
- Ocean Quest is like a floating hotel, very comfortable with a lounge / bar on the top floor including a book case and flat screen T.V.
- The bar is licensed and very reasonable priced.
- Food is tasty and abundant with the chef catering for any food preferences or allergies, just let him know when you get on board.
- The cabin types are varied, offering a twin share ensuite cabin or a double ensuite cabin, comprising of 1 double bed. Cabins are nicely decorated with matching linen and nice white towels placed on your bed.
- Dive instructors are international so many languages catered for.
- This trip had many students on board doing their Open Water Dive Course, there was also an option for Open Water Certified Divers to do the Advanced Course while on board for just $150 extra. Incredibly cheap and a few guests opted to take advantage of the great offer.
- Top quality new equipment included in the price of the trip.
- I recommend this trip for both snorkellers and divers a like. I am a very experienced diver and so like to buddy up with another diver.
- For those that prefer you can opt for a guided dive, this will be in small groups, there is an extra cost per person per dive for this service.
A great time, thank you so much to Sarah and John, much appreciated, loved it!