It had been over two years since we last visited Australia and over two years since we tried diving for the very first time when we joined a day trip of introductory dives to the Great Barrier Reef with Tusa Dive. It was because of that day we took a course in Norway and became certified open water divers.
We haven’t been diving too much since we became certified so we consider ourselves as newbies, and the last time we were diving was October 2014 in Mexico (cenotes are really something!), but when we were heading back to Cairns we just had to take the opportunity to dive the Great Barrier Reef once again.
We knew we wanted to go with Tusa Dive, so the first thing we did when arriving Cairns was to find their shop to book a tour. The first woman we spoke to at the shop was nothing but rude and we should just turned around and walked straight out of there, but we didn’t. Then another woman came and talked to us and she was quite the opposite; so kind and welcoming as we remembered the company from the last time.
Early the next day we drove down to the pier and walked out to T6, their boat. On board they got a photographer, so when you board the boat they take a picture of you (at the end of the day you can decide whether or not you want to buy the photos).
We sat down and waited for everyone to get on board, and it turned out that we were only about 15 or something that day (and it can be up to about 60 guests) and out of 15 it was only 4 divers (including the two of us). We got divided into groups; snorkelers in one group and divers in another, then they handed out equipment (snorkeling gear and stinger suites) and showed us our space with BCD, weights and tank. Then it was ready for some briefing with our guide on our way out to the outer reef (we wanted to go with a guide as we’re newbies, and it’s much more relaxing to have someone showing you where to go and find the best spots).
When arriving the first diving spot of the day we suited up and got the Cinderella treatment; stretch out your foot and they will put on your fins, one foot at a time. We jumped in and started descending when all in our group was ready. It felt sooo good to be back! The water was calm, no currents, the visibility was okay but could have been better. We didn’t expect super-clear water, as it had been some really bad weather the last few days. We enjoyed this and the following two dives so much!
We saw beautiful corals, many species of mollusks and fish, such as anemone, barracuda, triggerfish and so many more that we don’t know the name of. We did also see a couple of white tip reef sharks. (Yey, finally we got to dive with sharks!)
After our first dive we got back on the boat to find sliced fresh fruit, and between the second and third dive, while we were moving towards the next reef, they served buffet style lunch. You can also buy soft drinks and beer (but once you take a sip of that beer you are not allowed into the water again), just put it on the list next to your name and pay before you leave the boat at the end of the day.
On T6 they have lounge style seating over two decks, air-condition inside and open access to the wheelhouse and Skipper. There are 4 toilets – two of them come with hot shower, a dive deck with hydraulically lowered stairs and platform that rests just below water level, dive gear, snorkel gear, wetsuits and lycra suits.
Tusa Dive has three different options on the day trips: snorkel tours, ‘introductory’ diving and certified diving with up to 3 dives in the day available. In addition to this they also offer 4 day Padi Open Water course. Tusa Dive has access to more than 16 unique sites on the outer Great Barrier Reef, and two new sites are selected each day as the best for the day’s conditions.
Good to know
Bring swimwear, towel and credit card or cash. You should also be aware of that T6 is a non-smoke vessel.
With both times in mind, first times as absolutely newbies with no diving experience and this time as certified OWD, we are pleased with our time with the crew on Tusa 6, and can highly recommend going on a day trip with them. I remember it as it was yesterday; the first dive with instructor Vili (he wasn’t on the vessel this time, unfortunately), he was so encouraging, funny and I felt so good when he said I was like a fish under water. I felt like this, to dive, was something I really wanted to do. We both think he was the best teacher!
This time we had Jessica as guide, and she was good at showing us the life beneath the surface, giving us the signs and a heads up when she spotted something we shouldn’t miss out on.
The crew takes good care of everyone, the food is tasty and we loved the platter of fresh fruits. The facilities are great, and there is nothing better than take a nice hot freshwater shower after spending hours in a wetsuit.
If we ever find ourselves in Cairns again we will not hesitate to join another tour with Tusa Dive.