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

Monday, 1 May 2017


Shhhhh! I've got a secret!

I am going to be honest with you, I am writing about this Great Barrier Reef experience almost a year after it happened! I know, I know... the shame! I started to write about my Cairns tour experiences shortly after I went on this boat (April last year) and I forgot to write about little ole' Ocean Spirit!

There are many different Great Barrier Reef operators which can frustrate and confuse you to no end when trying to book online. It can leave you dazed and confused when confronted with a wall of brochures and options in a tour shop in Cairns as well. Believe it or not, these reef options all have their differences and highlights and Ocean Spirit is one of those unique options!

The vessel is a luxury catamaran that visits Michaelmas Cay, a sandy coral cay surrounded by reef and is home to many migratory birds. There are now only 2 boats that visit the cay with overall low passenger numbers. The site is vast and shallow making it an excellent choice for relaxed swimming and snorkelling (and also the nervous snorkeler). You have snorkelling included in your day with 4 hours out at Michaelmas Cay to explore. There is also an included 1/2 hour semi-submersible boat tour that explores the deeper sections of reef. This option is great for those not snorkelling at all and want to see what's going on down below. You can also pay a little extra to do a scuba dive for the very first time or join the guided snorkel tour. The staff shuttle you over to the cay from the catameran in a tender craft and can spend as much time as you like there. If you're not snorkelling you can be sunning yourself, checking out the birds and their cute chicks, making sandcastles with the family and having a little paddle. You can return to the boat anytime and catch some rays on the large front deck there instead or take a break in the air-conditioned saloon... you are on holiday after all! It's all about rancho relaxo!
Some activities on the boat. My iPhone photos.

Michaelmas Cay. Photos with the Canon G16.

After the relaxing journey out to the cay we witnessed a fish feeding. You will be surprised how many big fish hang out around the cay, for example Giant Trevally, Red Sea Bass and Bat Fish. Get your cameras out ready to film for this one!

We jumped on the Semi-sub tour first up as we opted to stay dry for the first part of the day. The tour lasted half an hour and was extremely informative. We passed through some great walls with a large variety of coral species of all colours of the rainbow. We even spotted Mr Turtle having some dinner and many fish species. We followed this by enjoying our included buffet lunch. The lunch is served on the boat and remains open for awhile so everyone has time to come and enjoy it.

Loads of hot & cold dishes to choose from... and those prawns...YUM!

It was now time to head over to the island and partake in our guided snorkel. This does cost extra however it comes highly recommended! This is the best way to see stuff you can easily miss snorkelling on your own. The Marine Biologist pointed out so many things to us and explained it all. The highlight would have to be our encounter with Nemo's (a true Clown Fish) in their little anemone. Unfortunately due to a very hot past summer the anemone was bleached somewhat but having the Nemo's living in there is a sign their house is on the mend.

Images from the Canon G16 hired from Calypso Cameras.

Images of Nemo (Clown Fish) taken with the G16.

The Snorkel Tour went for an hour. Once it was done we still had a further hour to explore the site. My friend and I are die hard snorkelers... so off we went exploring and snapping pictures. We were in our "happy place". Your happy place may be laying on the sand or returning back to the boat to relax and have a beer or wine... it's entirely up to you!

Colourful Giant Clams. Taken with the G16.

Images from our second snorkel. Photos from the G16.

Michaelmas Cay is so shallow all the good stuff is so close to the surface you are almost guaranteed to get great photo's. I have been to this site many times before and you usually see at least one Green Sea Turtle or even a Black Tip Reef Shark (They eluded us on this day...*sigh*).

You can hire cameras like the G16, Lumix or a GoPro from Calypso Cameras, located at the Reef Fleet Terminal. Or check them out here>> http://calypsoproductions.com.au

The amount of time spend at Michaelmas Cay is perfect. It was time to head back to the boat and enjoy the afternoon tea service. The relaxing sail back to Cairns is the perfect way to unwind from the day. You even get to indulge in some cheese and crackers and a included glass of bubbles as you enter Trinity Bay.... my kind of heaven! 

If you like the sound of this reef trip, you can book online directly with QUICKSILVER by finding them here>>>

Or alternatively drop into my old workplace at Reef Information Centre to talk to the friendly staff and make a booking, located shop 1/34 The Esplanade. Right near the Reef Fleet terminal!


Visit time:
Whole day trip

08:00am  to 5:00pm  (Check in from 07:45am Reef Fleet Terminal)

Suitable for: 
  • Not so good swimmers to good swimmers
  • Non-swimmers & elderly
  • For those wanting a slower paced relaxed day
  • Families with children
  • First time scuba divers

Fitness level (out of 5):
  •  💪 💪  
Time of year:
  • All year round (Stinger season is from October through to April)
  • Lycra suits provided  

  • $202/Adult (+ $6.50 levy) SNORKEL
  • $101/Child (+ $6.50 levy) SNORKEL
  • $505/Family(+ $26 levy) SNORKEL
  • $62/Adult $32/Child & $156 Family (Additional cost) Guided Snorkel
  • $126pp Introductory Scuba Dive

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