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Thread: Great Barrier Reef

  1. #1
    Guppy Founding Member
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    Has anyone here been lucky enough to dive the Great Barrier Reef yet? If so how? I was wondering whata liveaboard would cost for a few days on the reef.
    <DIV></DIV>

  2. #2
    Grouper Founding Member picxie's Avatar
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    I haven't dived on the GBR yet but I've done a dozen or so further south a bit, along Sunshine Coast &amp; Gold Coast. Absolutely fantastic. This was the middle of winter and the waters were still lovely and warm (although I got told by the locals I was nuts and it was freezing!). I have friends who now live at the lower end of the GBR and a trip next year is on the cards. To see them of course Apparantly the diving is great, the outer reefs are the ones to see.
    <DIV></DIV>
    <DIV>Check out http://www.mikeball.com/They don't appear to be that cheap however I've only heard good things about them. I'm sure there will be others though.</DIV>

  3. #3
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    I did a 5day / 4night liveaboard with Taka Dive about 6 weeks ago. I posted a full trip report on ScubaBoard, but given the fact that site is down, I can't send you the link.

    PM me and I can send you the report.

    Taka's prices are on their web site. http://www.taka.com.au/index.htm



    Tom

  4. #4
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    Are there any other liveaboards in that area? I don't think peter hughes or aggressor have any there, and those are the two main ones I know of... any help?

  5. #5
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    This is a pretty good site that shows the available boats. The list seems pretty inclusive, but I can't guarantee it covers every liveaboard in the area.

    http://www.divethereef.com/

    Tom

  6. #6
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    did you go the reef yourself? i'd love to hear anyone's liveaboard experiences.

  7. #7
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    oops, sorry, wasn't looking above :/ i'll have to check out taka dive

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Illini_Fan
    PM me and I can send you the report.

    And others might be interested, so feel free to post it up here!

  9. #9
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    Review of Taka Dive 5 day / 4 night live-aboard trip (June 1 – June 5)

    My son and I just completed our trip with Taka and I figured I’d provide some notes on how things went. This is meant to be a review of Taka’s service and not the actual dives – although the dives were great!!!!

    We arrived in Cairns on a Thursday and spent the day relaxing and recovering from jet lag. We did walk down to the Taka shop to find out what time they would pick-us up on Friday. I was surprised when the office told us that we needed to get our self to their office (with our gear) on Friday. Given where our hotel was, getting to their office was not a big deal, but I was disappointed in the lack of communication from their office – they web site indicates pick-up from local hotels.

    Anyway, that was a minor inconvenience and we arrived with our gear in-tow at 4:30pm Friday. By 5pm, the small office had filled-up with divers and a mini-bus arrived to take us to the dock. On the dock, we were met by our trip-leader (Brad) and the crew unloaded our bags and placed them on the boat. Room assignments and general trip information were provided and then we boarded. Fairly standard dive deck set-up, we found two spots and attached our BCs and Regs to the tank. Crates were located below the bench for mask, fins, etc. Wetsuits were hung up on the provided hangers. The dive deck was decent size and provided room sufficient room even with the 28 divers plus staff.

    I had booked us into a twin ensuite cabin. The beds were bunk style and there was space underneath the bottom bunk for suitcases and other storage. All-in-all the room was just fine for the limited time I was in there. It did have a TV and DVD unit, but we never used it.

    After the gear was stowed, everyone meet back in the common room for drinks and a safety briefing. I can’t speak highly enough of our trip leader and his great personality. He had the unique ability to be humorous and serious when needed. During this time, all divers were providing the crew with the certification information. Taka requires all divers with less than 50 dives to spend part of the first dive doing a skills review. I’ll get to that in a second, but it was no big deal.

    Thoughts about the ship
    • The vessel is fairly new and well maintained. I didn’t encounter anything that wasn’t working.
    • Smoking is allowed outdoors (the mid-deck and the sun deck) – which was bothersome.
    • Food was decent, with some meals being very good and other meals not being ideal for my taste buds. But I was always able to walk away full.
    • Passengers are fed buffet style and encouraged to take as much as they want, then crew members eat and then passengers are allowed to get “seconds” if there is any left.
    • Water, coffee and tea are provided free of charge – all soda, bottled water, beer and wine are purchased and the balance gets settled at the end of the trip.

    General Dive Information
    • All dives are limited to 50 minutes and a maximum of 35 meters
    • A crew member will record your entrance time (giant stride from side of boat) and will record your dive time and depth when you return.
    • Taka requires buddy pairs for all dives – no triples. If you are a single diver they will pair you up with someone with similar dive experience. If your buddy sits out a dive, they will pair you up with an instructor / guide.
    • Their recommendation is that divers begin the safety stop with 70 Bar and surface with 50 Bar – although this is not monitored.
    • Taka provides safety packs and places them in the right pocket of your BC. Their kit has a sausage, whistle and glow stick. If you have your own safety gear, then you don’t need their pack
    • The “check-out” dive is approximately 10 minutes of the first dive. All impacted divers will be assigned an instructor’s group. You run through a partial mask clear, full mask clear, reg recovery and demonstrate buoyancy skills. Our group had six divers and 2 instructors working in concert to get through everyone as quickly as possible. It probably didn’t even take 10 minutes and then you and your buddy were off on your dive.
    • All passengers can request to have a guide (one of the three instructors) for each dive. Each guided dive is limited to 6 divers, so the entire boat cannot have a guide for each dive. We used the guide for one dive where we were going down to 30 meters – other than that we didn’t use their service.
    • For the two night dives, Taka will provide a torch and a glow-stick for your tank. We brought our own primary and secondary lights, so we didn’t use their equipment, but it is there if you don’t want to transport the gear.
    • Sat, Sun & Mon are four dives a day, with two dives between breakfast and lunch and two after lunch. Sat and Mon have night dives, so dinner is later on those days. Tuesday, the first dive is before breakfast and the second is mid-morning. This is to allow the rest of Tuesday afternoon to be spent packing and getting your belongings ready for the arrival back in Cairns.
    • We didn’t use any of their rental scuba equipment or wetsuits, so I can’t comment on the quality of those
    • We did rent an underwater digital camera and I do not recommend renting on-board. The cameras are standard point and shoot digital cameras, which are fine, but they were extremely slow to power-on, they would quickly go into standby mode and they had a very long lag between the time you press the shutter and when the picture is taken. Also, the recovery time between each picture is very long.. I would recommend stopping at any of the shops in Cairns the day of your departure and looking for better camera if you are going to rent.

    Other general comments
    • Our dive briefings were excellent and contained information about the site, plus information about the anticipated sea life and were certain things could be found..
    • Our trip leader provided a nice reef talk one afternoon – this is not a typical Taka service, but if you are on a trip with Brad, it is a nice benefit
    • During dinner, the next day’s schedule is posted on a white board in the common room.


    Once we completed our final dive Tuesday morning, we began the process of drying our rinsing and drying our gear. Fresh water bins (with and without detergent) are provided. Gear is hung from every possible spot (if you have a BC hanger and have space in your luggage, bring it). Cabins need to be emptied of all belongings by 12:30pm so they crew can clean. During the final time on-board, the bar bills, pay on-board charges for fuel and park fees and any rental equipment not prepaid are settled. Payment is cash or credit.

    You disembark in the reverse order as you arrived – namely, the crew will move your bags from the ship to the dock and you move them into the mini-bus. The bus then takes you back to Taka. I did find out after the fact, that we could have been dropped off at our hotel (but not picked-up).

    All in all, the trip was great and the price was reasonable. Like many other posters have pointed out, if you can book these trips after you arrive in Cairns, you can save a decent amount of money. We didn’t have the flexibility in our schedule, so we did not take advantage of this. My only real complaint is the communication from the office regarding the departure information. I would have expected a short email telling us the process instead of me having to contact the shop. I think anyone considering Taka will have a great time.
    Last edited by Illini_Fan; 07-27-2007 at 17:27. Reason: Reposted to clean-up the formmating errors

  10. #10
    Grouper Founding Member picxie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Illini_Fan
    <DIV>warning: long post</DIV>
    <DIV>Review of Taka Dive 5 day / 4 night live-aboard trip (June 1 June 5)</DIV>
    <?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><O:P><O:P>...<O:P>
    <DIV></DIV>
    <DIV>Was there more to that?? Seems like it may have been cut off at the end although it was still a very informative read!!</DIV>
    <DIV></DIV>
    <DIV>What were the dive spots like? Did they take you to *great* ones or just average ones?</DIV>

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