Spirit of Freedom

Spirit of Freedom

Australia’s northeastern town of Cairns is the tropical gateway to two of the world’s greatest scuba diving destinations, the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea and the Spirit of Freedom can take you to both!

It is these destinations that the liveaboard Spirit of Freedom will take you to discover what diving dreams are made of. With 3, 4 and 7 days itineraries, and twice-weekly departures from Cairns, you can enjoy some of the worlds best scuba diving.  A couple of exploratory dives will always be included during your trip. Sites will vary from 3,000 ft walls to magical coral gardens to lone seamounts emerging from the ocean depths.

Roomy double or twin share cabins, all with private en-suite and individual temperature control, make a comfortable retreat at the end of your day of scuba diving. Delicious chef prepared meals can be enjoyed throughout the day and complimentary Australian wines are offered with dinner. There is also a comprehensive marine library, DVD’s, and a fully stocked bar for relaxation after diving. Nitrox fills, camera hire, and CD downloading are also available onboard.

Monday: The Spirit of Freedom courtesy bus will pick you up from your Cairns hotel around 11:00am to transfer you to Trinity Wharf, where you will board the vessel. You will be greeted by the Spirit of Freedom crew, who will give you an orientation of the vessel before a 12 noon departure. Enjoy lunch on board while we cruise to the Outer Great Barrier Reef for an afternoon check-out dive and a twilight or night dive. After dinner, we cruise north to the Ribbon Reefs.

 

Tuesday & Wednesday:
These two days are spent diving at the most northern of the Ribbon Reefs, Number 9 & 10 Ribbon Reefs. Dive sites and sequence may vary depending on the weather conditions, but will always include at least one dive at the Cod Hole, where you encounter a family of massive and very friendly Potato Cod. Other sites may include Wonder-wall, Pixie Pinnacle, Challenger Bay, Two Towers, Lighthouse Bommie, and the Snake Pit, just to name a few. If the current is right, you may also take a drift dive at Dynamite Pass, well know as a channel for sharks to pass through. 4 to 5 dives will be available each day, including a night dive on Tuesday.
On Wednesday evening we overnight at Watson’s Bay on Lizard Island and enjoy a sunset Bar-be-que dinner on the top deck.

 

Thursday: This morning after breakfast you will disembark and say farewell to Spirit of Freedom. Onshore at Lizard Island you can take the guided walk from Watson’s Beach to Mary Watson’s cottage over Chinaman’s Ridge and back to the air-strip. Here you will board a twin-engine light aircraft for your low level flight over the reef and / or along the coast back to Cairns. The one hour flight arrives at Hinterland Aviation, Cairns General Aviation Airport around 11.15 to 11:30am, where the Spirit of Freedom courtesy coach will meet you for your transfer back to your Cairns city hotel.

Thursday: Around 07:30am the Spirit of Freedom courtesy coach will transfer you from your Cairns city hotel to Hinterland Aviation at Cairns General Aviation Airport. Here you will board a twin-engine light aircraft for your scenic flight up the coast to Lizard Island. The Spirit of Freedom crew will greet you on arrival and escort you via tender to the vessel. After an orientation of the vessel, we depart for Ribbon Reef Number 10. This afternoon we will have the opportunity for two dives at a choice of sites including the Cod Hole, Challenger Bay, Lighthouse Bommie, Pixie Gardens, and Pixie Pinnacle. We depart in the evening for a 10 hour crossing to Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea.

 

Friday & Saturday: Two days will be spent diving Osprey Reef (weather permitting). Australia’s Coral Sea reefs are renown for crystal clear water with visibility ranging from 100 to 300 feet! The landscape is amazing with sheer walls laced with gorgonians, sea whips, and bright yellow soft corals, rising from the ocean floor thousands of feet below. ‘North Horn’ is a dive site at the tip of Osprey is a site where grey reef sharks, silvertips, and the occasional oceanic congregate, and you can experience a close encounter with the Spirit of Freedom shark attraction dive. 4 to 5 dives will be available each day, including a night dive on Friday. On Saturday night we will depart Osprey Reef for overnight travel to the Ribbon Reefs.

 

Sunday: At Ribbon Reefs Number 3 we will dive such sites as the sensational Steve’s Bommie, Temple of Doom, and Flare Point. A second option for this day, in special weather conditions, is to head south from Osprey to Bougainville Reef, known for its unusual underwater landscape of caverns, and it’s partially submerged wreck. On Sunday evening we will cruise overnight back to Cairns.

 

Monday: We arrive back into Cairns at 06:30am. Enjoy a light breakfast onboard and a group photo opportunity before being dropped back to your Cairns hotel around 08.00am.

Monday: The Spirit of Freedom courtesy bus will pick you up from your Cairns hotel around 11:00am to transfer you to Trinity Wharf, where you will board the vessel. You will be greeted by the Spirit of Freedom crew, who will give you an orientation of the vessel before a 12 noon departure. Enjoy lunch on board while we cruise to the Outer Great Barrier Reef for an afternoon check-out dive and a twilight or night dive. After dinner, we cruise north to the Ribbon Reefs.

 

Tuesday & Wednesday:
These two days are spent diving at the most northern of the Ribbon Reefs, Number 9 & 10 Ribbon Reefs. Dive sites and sequence may vary depending on the weather conditions, but will always include at least one dive at the Cod Hole, where you encounter a family of massive and very friendly Potato Cod. Other sites may include Wonder-wall, Pixie Pinnacle, Challenger Bay, Two Towers, Lighthouse Bommie, and the Snake Pit, just to name a few. If the current is right, you may also take a drift dive at Dynamite Pass, well know as a channel for sharks to pass through. 4 to 5 dives will be available each day, including a night dive on Tuesday night.
On Wednesday evening we overnight at Watson’s Bay on Lizard Island and enjoy a sunset Bar-be-que dinner on the top deck.

 

Thursday: This morning after breakfast you will have the opportunity to go ashore at Lizard Island. A good chance to stretch your legs on land, you can take the guided walk from Watson’s Beach to Mary Watson’s cottage over Chinaman’s Ridge and back to the beach. Around 11.00am we will cruise back to Ribbon Reef Number 10 for two dives at a choice of sites including the Snake Pit, Cod Hole, Challenger Bay, Lighthouse Bommie, Pixie Wall, and Pixie Pinnacle. If the tide permits we may repeat a dive at the Cod Hole or visit new sites. We depart in the evening for a 10 hour crossing to Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea.

 

Friday & Saturday: Two days will be spent diving Osprey Reef (weather permitting). Australia’s Coral Sea reefs are renown for crystal clear water with visibility ranging 100 to 300 feet. The landscape is amazing with sheer walls laced with gorgonians, sea whips, and bright yellow soft corals, rising from the ocean floor thousands of feet below. ‘North Horn’ is a dive site at the tip of Osprey is a site where grey reef sharks, silvertips, and the occasional oceanic congregate, and you can experience a close encounter with the Spirit of Freedom shark attraction dive. 4 to 5 dives will be available each day, including a night dive on Friday. On Saturday night we will depart Osprey Reef for overnight travel to the Ribbon Reefs.

 

Sunday: At Ribbon Reefs Number 3 we will dive such sites as the sensational Steve’s Bommie, Temple of Doom, and Flare Point. A second option for this day, in special weather conditions, is to head south from Osprey to Bougainville Reef, known for its unusual underwater landscape or caverns, and it’s partially submerged wreck. On Sunday evening we will cruise overnight back to Cairns.

 

Monday: We arrive back into Cairns at 06:30am. Enjoy a light breakfast onboard and a group photo opportunity before being dropped back to your Cairns hotel around 08.00am.

Name: Caribbean Explorer II
Registry: Vanuatu
Boatmaker: Camcraft, 1978
Recommissioned: 1999
Construction: All aluminum
L.O.A.: 115 ft
L.W.L.: 101 ft
Beam: 20 ft
Draft: 7.5 ft maximum
Displacement: 99 tons
Maximum Speed: 12 knots
Maximum Range: 1,000 nautical miles
Engines: 2 GM 12 V 71 diesel main engines, 450 hp. each
Generators: 2 John Deere Diesels producing 110 V AC/220 V AC, 75 KW capacity.
Fuel Capacity: 2,500 gallons
Freshwater Supply: 2 reverse osmosis watermakers, 1,200 gallons per day, 1,500 gallon storage
Air Systems: 2 Bauer K-14 9.7 cfm compressors, electric, with cascade-type storage banks, located in engine room. Nitrox membrane, producing 32% nitrox, bank storage
Electricity: 220 V and 110 V AC power (110 V AC 3 prong grounded outlets in all staterooms and bathrooms)
On the Bridge: Furuno radar, 36 mile range with proximity alarm, Global Positioning System (GPS) with location alarm, digital depth sounder/bottom recorder with alarm, satellite telephone with data link, cellular telephone, SSB Radiotelephone and VHF radios, engine and bilge alarms, internal PA and intercom system
Public Heads: One on dive deck; private facilities in each stateroom
Accommodations: 18 passengers in 9 staterooms, all w/private vanities and toilet facilities. Up to 8 staff in crews' quarters.
Safety Equipment: Life rafts (4), life rings/strobes (4), life vests/strobes (25), emergency position locator, flares, oxygen, and first aid equipment
Other Equipment: Full service all electric galley and refrigeration, Ice machine
Stereo audio system, upper deck: CD, DVD, VHS, recharging station for strobes, batteries, etc. An extensive array of professional audio/visual editing, dubbing and special effects systems
Tender: 16-foot rigid hull inflatable (25 hp. engine) used for passenger transport

Spirit of Freedom

Additional Australia Travel

In addition to the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea, Cairns is a destination into itself with a wide range of accommodations to choose from and many wonderful nature-based and cultural experiences including white water rafting, hot air ballooning, skyrail rainforest cableway, Kuranda scenic rail, Tjapukai Aboriginal Park, lava tubes at Undara national park, crocodile spotting on the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation, to name just a few.

If you have more time to spend in Australia consider spending time in other parts of the country.

Spend a weekend in Sydney, catch a show at the Opera House or learn to surf and get a tan at the world famous Bondi Beach. Sydney has something for everybody it’s an inviting blend of the exhilarating and easygoing. There’s excitement in the city, but drive just a few miles and you’ll hit the golden sand of famous beaches like Bondi and Manly. 

Melbourne is a blend of bustling laneways, world-class restaurants, and captivating museums. Melbourne is Australia’s sports capital and its venues are legendary. The Melbourne Cricket Ground hosts international cricket matches from November until February, and Australian Football League matches from March until September. Melbourne has 9 teams in the league that share 2 different stadiums in the city so you should have no problem seeing a match. If you enjoy Tennis, the  Australian Open takes place the last 2 weeks in January and if you’re a motorhead the Australian Grand Prix is held in early March. 

A short flight from Melbourne or Sydney can bring you to one of the most interesting and least visited places in Australia. The island of Tasmania. Home to untamed rivers, ancient pine trees, and giant sand dunes, the west coast is at the heart of Tasmania’s wilderness. Considered one of the country’s last wilderness frontiers, the region’s convict, logging and mining past has helped shaped the social fabric of the state. In the Capitol of Hobart, you can climb a mountain and view captivating modern art in the same day. Eat fish and chips from a floating fish punt in the docks, or dine in the finest and freshest of restaurants. Add thriving markets, an unsurpassed natural setting and a tangible sense of history, and Tasmania’s capital city has it all.

Visit one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, Uluru. Not only is it a spectacular natural formation, Uluru is a deeply spiritual place. You can feel a powerful presence the moment you set eyes on it. At 1142 feet high, Uluru is one of the world’s largest monoliths, towering over the surrounding landscape and some 550 million years old. Made of sandstone, Uluru is often referred to as the heart of the ‘Red Centre’ and is one of Australia’s most recognizable landmarks. Breathe in, see the colors change before your eyes, hear the stories of time and be amazed as Uluru captures your heart.

Contact your Ultimate Dive Travel specialist for more information on side trips around Australia. 

Spirit of Freedom FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers

Spirit of Freedom can accommodate a maximum of 26 guests and operates with a minimum 10 crew.

We offer Ocean View Deluxe, Ocean View Standard, Standard Double or Twin share, Quad share and one Stateroom. Please note the Ocean View and Stateroom cabins have just one Double/Queen size bed and are suited to couples, or you can take as a sole occupancy arrangement.  Please enquire about Sole Occupancy Rates.

Individuals can book a single berth in a Double/Twin share or Quad share cabin.  Other people will be allocated to share the cabin.  Same gender share is not guaranteed.

Most of the Double/Twin cabins have a double bed under with a single bed over, and although we usually only allocate two people to this cabin type, we can place three of you in on your request.

Non-divers can enjoy games, the resource library, and relaxing on sun lounges on the top deck. We recommend the Ribbon Reefs itinerary for those who like to snorkel. There are many shallow coral gardens offering fantastic snorkeling, and the waters on the inside of the Ribbon Reefs are generally much calmer than the more exposed Coral Sea reefs. Spirit of Freedom does not offer snorkel guides. The Coral Sea reefs are not recommended for snorkelers due to the remote location and environmental conditions.

The Marine Park Levy, Lizard Island porterage fees, Gear Hire, Nitrox Fills, any courses taken on board, drinks outside of the evening mealtime, seasickness tablets, and any souvenirs purchased.

Personal items and toiletries (personal soap for each guest is provided), swimwear, hat, and warm clothing if you’re traveling in the winter months (May – September).

We can accept AUD cash, Visa and Mastercard.  Please note AMEX is not available onboard.

Australian domestic power standard is 240V @ 50 Hertz, with 3-pronged power sockets.

110V outlets are available in the lounge for charging your batteries and laptops.

If your electrical appliances are not rated to use 240V you will not be able to charge your devices in your room due to safety risks.

There is a separate camera washtub and camera table on the back deck. There is also a workstation provided in the forward lounge with 240V and 110V outlets for charging.

 

While onboard Spirit of Freedom you can enjoy access to free WiFi. Our satellite internet connection has limited bandwidth and is only suitable for general messaging and emails. It is NOT possible to upload photos, videos or use streaming services.

Travel Insurance is strongly recommended.  In the event the trip is canceled due to inclement weather, deeming it unsafe to travel, the company does not offer refunds for cancellations for reasons beyond the company’s control (Force Majeure).  Comprehensive Travel Insurance covering trip cancellation due to poor weather is strongly recommended in this case, particularly during the Australian summer months (November to May) when cyclones and high winds can affect our trips.

We strongly recommend travel insurance to cover you against any unforeseen eventuality, as our policies do not allow for refunds on cancellations within 21 days.

Also, should you experience any flight delays or cancellations, lost luggage, etc which may result in you missing the vessel departure, Travel Insurance should cover these issues.

We strongly recommend all passengers (divers and snorkelers) have evacuation and medical cover for scuba diving. Please be aware that scuba diving and in-water activities are not covered by all Travel Insurance Companies, and it is advisable to check with your insurance agent regarding your cover for scuba diving. It is important to note that in a medical emergency the costs involved for an evacuation, vessel relocation or medical expenses are the responsibility of that diver.

For the Ribbon Reef itinerary, the minimum level is Open Water Diver, with a minimum of 10 ocean dives including 5 dives in the last 12 months. (Scuba Diver is not accepted).

For the Coral Sea, the minimum certification level is Advanced Open Water Diver, with 20 ocean dives including 5 dives within the last 12 months.

For your safety, your diving may be limited if your experience or skills do not match our dive site conditions.

All our itineraries are in isolated, remote areas and include diving in open water exposed to wind, swell and currents. Sheltered calm water suitable for ‘easy’ diving is not available.

For all diving, if you are inexperienced or have not dived within the last 12 months, we recommend you take a refresher course with your local dive center or here in Cairns prior to the trip. Ask our friendly Reservations Team for options here in Cairns.

As our guest, you are free to enjoy your own diving style, within the boundaries of safe and responsible diving. As such, we set no limits on time, depth or style of diving outside of normal safe diving practices. You and your buddy are in charge, planning your own dive and diving your own plan. Buddy teams may follow one of our inexperienced groups, led by a Safety Diver, and come and go as you please.

Every dive begins with a detailed dive briefing. The dive staff are on deck providing surface support including a safety lookout. When available, dive staff may be in-water offering support with photography and critter spotting. Spirit of Freedom does not offer a full guided dive service. Our Safety Divers are assigned to those divers who are at risk or to assist students.

Yes, all divers must dive with their own (or our rental) dive computers.

Lycra skin to 3mm in the summer (Oct-March) and 5mm in the winter (Apr-Sept).  Vests and hoods are recommended to bring for extra warmth if you are not sure.  Depending on the season, onboard the rental suits are 5mm full length suits.

Yes, nitrox fills are set at 32% which you can purchase by the fill or opt for a package price for all dives on nitrox. Nitrox certification cards must be produced upon boarding and regulators need to be O2 approved by the manufacturer. Nitrox courses are available onboard.

Gallery

Bahamas Scuba Diving Vacations

Call us today at (800) 737-3483 to book your scuba diving vacation. Or simply reserve your vacation online by clicking below.