For over 18 months I have been helping visitors to Cairns book and organise their holidays by working in an Information Centre. ...

Saturday, 26 November 2016




Another glassy day means It's time to get out and amongst it for a frolic in the sea! Today is Tusa day! 🐟🐠🐡🐢Tusa has many mooring's all over the Great Barrier Reef so when the weather is good they'll moor up at fantastic Outer Reef sites. We didn't end up heading to the sites I was hoping for *sigh* and headed north on this day (not a big loss!I had just been there recently). You have to be prepared to accept the fact you could end up anywhere and put your faith in the skipper. You would only know how sites differ if you are someone like me or you have done your research.On the up side, they will settle on a site suitable for the conditions.

On boarding the vessel I was surprised the boat wasn't full! It was such a beautiful day and I know for a fact most boats were full that day. On departure I was told the boat WAS at it's full numbers. WOW! Loads of room is always so important. This boat is excellent for those not wanting a big boat with hundreds of people on board.Cue my happy face!Let's stretch out peoples!

It's time for my favourite part of the day (NOT!) it's safety briefing time!!! (Boooooooo!). When you head out to the reef often like I do you have to put up with the boring stuff like safety briefings but they are o-so-important! Thankfully the Tusa team didn't muck around too long with it. Some boats can drag it out taking up valuable time away from checking out the Cairns city views, valuable photo taking and sun time! Before long I was back at my possy in the sun on the upper deck.


The cruise out was smooth and super sunny. During this time dive briefings were held and everyone was issued with snorkel mask and wet suit.It's the end of our winter months so over the next few coming summer months, Lycra suits for sun and jellyfish protection are handed out.

They asked everyone to store their gear under the seats up on the deck I was seated at. Ermmmmm....excuse me! It got a little crowded up there... especially come time to get suited up to get into the water! Not sure if I was a fan of this. The boats design is so important in regards to what areas are "wet" areas. On this boat it was a little limited so what I once thought was spacious was now crowded with peeps struggling to get into their suits on top of each other. The serenity returned when everyone dispersed into the water.

Images from the day. Photo's by Tara Reynolds.

Our first site was The Fishbowl at Hastings Reef. I have come across people with mixed reactions on this site. I went in with an open mind and was ready to hit the water and explore.   
Another beautiful pano shot on my iPhone.

I was armed with another Lumix Camera from the amazing Calypso Camera hire company. I picked it up in the shop located right at the Reef Fleet Terminal where the boats depart from.Check out their cameras you can hire!

Staff on this vessel were lovely!👏👏👏👏 Staff can really make or break your day... there wasn't any problems with Tusa. Very friendly and happy to help you, they really seem to honestly enjoy what they do. At each site I was given pointers on where I should swim and what area's were best to explore. Armed with that knowledge I stuck to that plan and did get the most out of the site. I am pleased to say the site lived up to it's name, there was definitely loads of fish! My highlight was hanging with a heard of Humphead Parrot fish... my new fave fish! 

Check out the link for my video below!

In the middle of the day the dinner bell rings.... LUNCH!!!!Today we have a cold buffet lunch. A beautiful presentation of a selection of meats and salads including a unique eggplant (aubergine)& peas salad and beetroot salad... something different from other boats. There was also vegetarian quiche squares and an assortment of cheeses such as cheddar slices, bocconcini and ricotta & herbs. For those who don't eat bread rolls they had lighter pita bread options. Needless to say I was happy with my lunch.  
Morning tea & lunch on the Tusa vessel. Photo's from my iPhone. 

After lunch it was time to move to the second location. The sun reflected off the mirror like ocean creating a luminous landscape surrounding us. I wasted little time and dove into the big blue (ok... I didn't "dive" I took a big giant step like a boss) and headed towards the recommended area. The site was at Saxon Reef called Twin Peaks. I was told to look out for sharks resting on the sand behind the peaks and you can also swim between them. The viability wasn't the best on this day with the site loaded with red algae specks OR the corals were getting a little freaky early this year (coral spawning).I'd like to hope it's the former!!!

The elusive White Tipped Reef shark remained elusive on this day however I enjoyed exploring the site with the many fishy's, diverse corals and giant clams all the same.
Photo's with the underwater camera (lumix) from Calypso camera hire. 

The Tusa vessel is one of the faster catamarans out of the Great Barrier Reef fleet departing from Cairns. This is something to consider when choosing your boat/day as it maximizes water time at your location. It also is a welcoming feeling when you have swum your little heart out and are exhausted on your return journey back to Cairns. 90 minutes back to dry land and a refreshing shower is not too long to wait for.(some boats can take up to 2 hours) 😃😍😆👍 THANK YOU TUSA FOR HAVING ME! 

If you are feeling a little braver than I, introductory & certified scuba diving is also available on this day trip for an additional cost.
The Tour:
Full Day trip

07.40am- 4.30pm (Check in directly on the boat, A Finger, Marlin Marina)
Suitable for: 
  • Good swimmers & snorkelers
  • Introduction divers
  • Low passenger numbers, good smaller boat option
Fitness level (out of 5):
  •  ðŸ’ª 💪
Time of year:
  • All year round
  • Stinger suits worn October to May
  • $205.00 AUD Adult (including $20 reef levy)
  • $130.00 AUD Child (including $10 levy)
  • $275.00 AUD Intro or Cert dive (including $10 Levy)

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