Our 16m sailing schooner trips over the gentle waves on the blue waters of the Coral Sea, in the distance, an emerald isle surrounded by fringing coral reefs awaits our discovery. Just another day in paradise.
Green Island is 27km offshore from Cairns. It’s the only Great Barrier Reef island to have tropical rainforest and its fringing reefs and seagrass beds are home to a large Green Turtle population and hundreds of colourful fish.
Here, the warm waters are shallow, perfect for snorkelling, trying an introductory dive or certified scuba diving. Of all the Cairns based reef day tour options, only Ocean Free combines sailing with snorkelling and diving, and visits to the Great Barrier Reef and Green Island.
With an exclusive mooring at Pinnacle Reef, 1km offshore from Green Island, Ocean Free provides time on the reef and island. Arriving at around 10am it’s straight into the water, where we are soon joined by a friendly Green Turtle. Colourful Parrotfish graze on the corals and large Trevally gather under the boat.
Introductory and certified divers can choose between one or two dives and there is plenty of time for snorkelling. Dive depths do not exceed 12m and conditions are perfect for novice and experienced divers.
Lunch is a delicious buffet of cold chicken pieces, ham, salami, roast beef, bread rolls and a trio of salads, potato, pasta and green. Afterwards, a tender transfers you to Green Island where you can spend a few hours exploring the shaded boardwalks with interpretive signage, or just relax on the beach.
An Adventure Snorkel is a great way to end your time in the water. Drifting over beds of blue staghorn coral, we see large schools of Yellow-tailed Fusiliers weaving around the reef. Giant Clams rest gently on the sandy bottom, providing a luminescent colour show.
There’s plenty of time to enjoy your day, with up to 4.5 hours at Pinnacle Reef and on Green Island. At around 3pm, Ocean Free commences its return to Cairns, unfurling its sails for an authentic sailing experience.
Complimentary drinks are served and let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like ending your day at sea, sipping a cold glass of wine, accompanied by an excellent cheese platter and listening to the rustle of the canvas sails overhead.
Ocean Free is charted to carry 52 guests but limits its day numbers to just 32 people. This means you have plenty of space on board and time to get to know your fellow guests.
It’s owned and operated by a Cairns family, who are committed to customer service and ensuring the crew is focused on giving their guests, the very best day they possibly can.