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.

 

Tusa Dive

 

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).

 

Tusa Dive

 

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!)

 

Tusa Dive

Tusa Dive

Tusa Dive

Tusa Dive

Tusa Dive

Tusa Dive

Tusa Dive

Tusa Dive

Tusa Dive

Tusa Dive

Tusa Dive

Tusa Dive

Tusa Dive

 

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.

 

Tusa Dive

Tusa Dive

Tusa Dive

 

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.

 

Tusa Dive

Tusa Dive

 

Good to know

Bring swimwear, towel and credit card or cash. You should also be aware of that T6 is a non-smoke vessel.

 

Final verdict

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.

 

Tusa Dive

 

If we ever find ourselves in Cairns again we will not hesitate to join another tour with Tusa Dive.

 

21 thoughts on “Diving the Great Barrier Reef with Tusa Dive

  1. Wow talk about a bucket list destination and activity checked off. Your pictures are gorgeous. The Great Barrier Reef is definitely up there with things I would love to experience and see with my own eyes!

  2. How long does it take for you to learn the basics of diving? The pics look tempting to try diving but I am still a newbie when it comes to swimming ? let alone diving.

  3. We are not certified divers but had our first diving experience in Cairns as well. Your photos are gorgeous and the spread of food that they offered is fantastic. Kudos to you for getting certified, it’s been on our to-do list but haven’t completed it yet. Thank you for linking up with #WeekendWanderlust

  4. Oh wow! That looks just stunning (the dive and the food)! I love to dive but the way till I’m under water scares me always. Especially if there are plenty of divers and I’ve to hurry up to keep up with them. But it’s worth the stress … isn’t it? #WeekendWanderlust

  5. I’ve never dived before, but my hubby has and loves it. It sounds like a wonderful company to spend the day with and it looks like you found Nemo!

  6. Looks like a lot of fun! I’ve never been diving before but really would love to do it sometime. That lunch buffet looks really tasty! Also I really enjoyed looking through your photos!

  7. So beautiful! I never dived before and is thinking about trying it on my trip to Iceland next month but I know I want to dive in Australia!

    I am really glad you stuck around and got a better customer service. Customer service is really important to me. If a place was fun or good but the service was rude, I won’t go back.

  8. The pictures look amazing! I also have my OWC and diving the Great Barrier is definitely high on my bucket list. Great to see that the coral looks very healthy in Cairns.

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