Spirit of Freedom

The captain and crew welcome you aboard the liveaboard diveboat Spirit of Freedom as you prepare to embark on an amazing journey to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the remote islands and reefs of the beautiful Coral Sea. Departing from Cairns, you can take advantage of one of three scuba diving itineraries: the 3-day / 3-night Cod Hole & Ribbon Reefs Dive Adventure, the 4-day / 4-night Coral Sea & Ribbon Reefs Adventure, and the 7-day / 7-night Cod Hole, Ribbon Reefs, & Coral Sea Adventure. You will thrill to shark dives and a Potato Cod feeding, as well as sheer walls covered with massive corals. Manta Rays, Minke Whales, and a spectacular variety of other marine life populate the waters here, providing for some of the best scuba diving in the region.

**Special Offer** The Spirit of Freedom is currently offering 2012 Buddy Specials, with special rates available for trips departing between February 20 and May 31, 2012.

• 3-day Cod Hole & Ribbon Reefs Dive Adventure – For every booking of 2 people, the 2nd person receives a 25% discount off the rate of the trip.
• 4-day Coral Sea & Ribbon Reefs Adventure – For every booking of 2 people, the 2nd person receives a 25% discount off the rate of the trip. Note: Black-out date of April 5, 2012 departure applies to this trip.
• 7-day Cod Hole, Ribbon Reefs & Coral Adventure (Monday departures) – For every booking of 2 people, the 2nd person receives a 50% discount off the rate of the trip.

Conditions: This offer applies to new bookings received by December 31, 2011. The discount is on trip fees only, (not applicable to gear hire, courses, nitrox fills or levies). The second person must travel on the same date, same tour, and same cabin type for the discount to apply. The offer is not valid with any other specials. New bookings must be received by December 31, 2011.

The Great Barrier Reef stretches more than 1,430 miles (2,300 km.) along the coast of Queensland. This complex ecosystem, declared a World Heritage Site, is comprised of approximately 2,900 individual reefs. The Ribbon Reefs are located in the remote northern sector. These 10 string-shaped coral reefs lie within the protected green zones of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and provide absolutely stunning tropical reef scuba diving. You will find remnants of ancient volcanos in the waters of the Coral Sea, and experience sheer walls that drop to depths of 3,200 feet (1,000 km.). The marine life here includes sharks and massive schools of pelagics. The reefs of the Coral Sea are renowned for their crystal clear waters and visibility that ranges from 100 to 330 feet (30-100 m.). Photo and video opportunities abound.

Since Cairns is located in the Southern Hemisphere, summer here occurs from December to February, and winter is between June and August. Its proximity to the equator, however, means the climate is primarily tropical. Winters can be relatively warm and the summer months quite humid. From January to April, the mountainous region of Cairns produces rainfall, while out to sea it is often clear. Between December and February, the air temperature can get as high as 89°F (31.5°C), with lows near 74°F (23°C). Water temperatures at this time of year range from 82° to 84°F (27.7°-29°C). From June to August, the air temperatures range between 64° and 79°F (17°-26°C), while water temperatures average about 77°F (25°C). Wetsuits of 3-5mm. are recommended.

Most dives are made from the mother ship. Divers will need to present proof of certification upon boarding. On drift dives you may dive from the tender and drift back to the main boat. Night diving will be offered on every trip, providing an excellent opportunity to observe different marine life and underwater behaviors. Dives should be planned as no-decompression and made within your scuba diving qualifications. Beyond safe, normal diving practices, there are no time, depth, or style of diving limits placed on guests. Snorkeling may be available at some sites.

3-day Cod Hole & Ribbon Reefs Dive Adventure Itinerary

This 3-day tour offers up to 11 dives, weather and sea conditions permitting, and is recommended for divers possessing mild- to mid-level comfort on dive entries and an experience level ranging from Open Water to Experienced. You will visit Ribbon Reefs Number 9 and 10, the world famous Code Hole dive site, and other sites such as Wonderland, Two Towers, and the Snake Pit. With just the right current, you may also visit Dynamite Pass to drift dive and see the sharks.

At Cod Hole you will be able to get up close and personal with the enormous Potato Cod that populate these waters. The Cod Feed lets you observe the spectacle as these fish feed. You can search for hidden treasures in the excellent coral life of the shallows and travel down a terraced reef to watch as the pelagics swim by. Some of the marine life you can observe here includes Lionfish, Pygmy Sea Horses, Red Bass, Ghost Pipefish, and Reef Sharks.

Wonderland features a large coral mound that rises from the depths at about 130 feet (40 m.) and presents ridges and channels that take you out into the blue waters that surround Wonderland. Pristine coral grows everywhere, and a large variety of marine life populates these waters. You can also explore caves in this area. Look for Cuttlefish, Leafy Scorpionfish, and Nudibranchs.

As its name indicates, Two Towers is two bommies that rise together from the sandy seabed at depths of about 80 feet (25 m.) to within 16 feet (5 m.) of the surface. On one side you will see a deep coral ridge that serves as a cleaning station. Inquisitive sea snakes residing between the pinnacles are likely to approach you. These isolated bommies offer shelter to an amazing variety of marine life and critters that have set up residence here. Here you will see Reef Sharks, Bull Rays, Green Turtles, Olive Sea Snakes, Moray Eels, Nudibranchs, Mantis Shrimp, and Anemone Fish.

With depths ranging from 30 to 100 feet (10-30 m.), the Snake Pit is an isolated reef located between Lizard Island and Ribbon Reef Number 10. Curious Olive Sea Snakes approach divers hoping to catch a glimpse of their reflection in a camera lens. You will also spot a variety of invertebrates including Sea Stars, Nudibranchs, Clams, and Sea Cucumbers. Large fish also congregate here—Trevally, Eagle Rays, Barracuda, and Sharks.

4-day Coral Sea & Ribbon Reefs Tour Itinerary

This 4-day tour offers up to 15 dives, weather and sea conditions permitting, and is recommended for divers possessing mid- to high-level comfort on dive entries and an experience level ranging from PADI Advanced (or equivalent) and above. At the Ribbon Reef Number 10, dive sites may include Cod Hole, Challenger Bay, Pixie Gardens, Pixie Pinnacle, and Lighthouse Bommie. At Osprey Reef, a volcanic atoll located 136 miles (220 km.) off the coast, you will dive the spectacular walls and visit the North Horn dive site where you will encounter vast numbers and varieties of sharks.

At Cod Hole you will be able to get up close and personal with the enormous Potato Cod that populate these waters. The Cod Feed lets you observe the spectacle as these fish feed. You can search for hidden treasures in the excellent coral life of the shallows and travel down a terraced reef to watch as the pelagics swim by. Some of the marine life you can observe here includes Lionfish, Pygmy Sea Horses, Red Bass, Ghost Pipefish, and Reef Sharks.

Lighthouse Bommie is an isolated pinnacle in deep waters, rising from depths of approximately 100 feet (30 m.) to within 16 feet (5 m.) of the surface. You will see schools of Trevally, Barracuda, and Fusiliers, and maybe even the resident turtle that appears on most dives, just waiting for the attention of photographers. Dwarf Minke Whales pass through this area during June and July as they migrate south. Other marine life here includes Manta Rays, Spotted Eagle Rays, Gorgonian Fans, Sea Whips, and Nudibranchs.

Challenger Bay, with its variety of marine life, is a great dive whether during the day or at night. The sandy bottom is scattered with bommies that slope upwards to meet the reef platform. Common sightings here are schools of Batfish and Sweetlips, as well as pelagic fish such as Tuna, Barracuda, and Mackerel. On night dives look for Giant Trevally, octopus, and Moray Eels.

Pixie Gardens starts as a gentle reef slope with coral outcrops along the way, and progresses into a large wall. This dive has something for everyone. You can expect to see Garden Eels, Cuttlefish, Pipefish, Moray Eels, Sharks, Leafy Scorpionfish, and Nudibranchs.

The North Horn dive site at Osprey Reef, used as part of a research project to monitor shark behavior, is a natural amphitheater located on the edge of a main reef. It has a wall that descends from near the surface to over 3,200 feet (1,000 m.). Sharks that congregate here include Grey Reef Sharks, White-tipped Reef Sharks, Hammerheads, and Silver-tipped Sharks. At depths of 80-130 feet (25-40 m.) you will see an abundance of soft corals. Other marine life you may encounter here includes Tuna, Parrotfish, and Potato Cod. A 3,200-foot (1,000 m.) vertical wall offers scuba divers and amazing drift dive. Here you will experience drop offs, shallow caves, and deep overhangs replete with colorful soft corals and a large variety of fish.

Other dive sites at Osprey Reef may include Rapid Horn, Silver City, False Entrance, and Admiralty. You will experience swim-throughs, shallow lagoons, bommies, grottos, caves, and more, as well as a diversity of marine life ranging from small critters to large pelagics.

7-day Cod Hole, Ribbon Reefs & Coral Sea Tour Itinerary

This 7-day expedition offers up to 26 dives, weather and sea conditions permitting, and is recommended for divers possessing mid- to high-level comfort on dive entries and an experience level ranging from PADI Advanced (or equivalent) and above. Along the Ribbon Reefs you will explore a number of beautiful dive sites and experience an amazing variety of vibrant, healthy corals and enormous schools of pelagic fish. Dive sites at Ribbon Reefs may include Cod Hole, Challenger Bay, Pixie Gardens, Pixie Pinnacle, and Lighthouse Bommie. This trip also includes a visit to the world famous Cod Hole dive site. Other dive sites you may visit are Wonderland, Two Towers, the Snake Pit, Steve’s Bommie, and Flare Point. With just the right current, you may also visit Dynamite Pass to drift dive and see the sharks. At Osprey Reef, a volcanic atoll located 136 miles (220 km.) off the coast, you will dive the spectacular walls and visit the North Horn dive site where you will encounter vast numbers and varieties of sharks.

At Cod Hole you will be able to get up close and personal with the enormous Potato Cod that populate these waters. The Cod Feed lets you observe the spectacle as these fish feed. You can search for hidden treasures in the excellent coral life of the shallows and travel down a terraced reef to watch as the pelagics swim by. Some of the marine life you can observe here includes Lionfish, Pygmy Sea Horses, Red Bass, Ghost Pipefish, and Reef Sharks.

Lighthouse Bommie is an isolated pinnacle in deep waters, rising from depths of approximately 100 feet (30 m.) to within 16 feet (5 m.) of the surface. You will see schools of Trevally, Barracuda, and Fusiliers, and maybe even the resident turtle that appears on most dives, just waiting for the attention of photographers. Dwarf Minke Whales pass through this area during June and July as they migrate south. Other marine life here includes Manta Rays, Spotted Eagle Rays, Gorgonian Fans, Sea Whips, and Nudibranchs.

Challenger Bay, with its variety of marine life, is a great dive whether during the day or at night. The sandy bottom is scattered with bommies that slope upwards to meet the reef platform. Common sightings here are schools of Batfish and Sweetlips, as well as pelagic fish such as Tuna, Barracuda, and Mackerel. On night dives look for Giant Trevally, octopus, and Moray Eels.

Pixie Gardens starts as a gentle reef slope with coral outcrops along the way, and progresses into a large wall. This dive has something for everyone. You can expect to see Garden Eels, Cuttlefish, Pipefish, Moray Eels, Sharks, Leafy Scorpionfish, and Nudibranchs.

Wonderland features a large coral mound that rises from the depths at about 130 feet (40 m.) and presents ridges and channels that take you out into the blue waters that surround Wonderland. Pristine coral grows everywhere, and a large variety of marine life populates these waters. You can also explore caves in this area. Look for Cuttlefish, Leafy Scorpionfish, and Nudibranchs.

As its name indicates, Two Towers is two bommies that rise together from the sandy seabed at depths of about 80 feet (25 m.) to within 16 feet (5 m.) of the surface. On one side you will see a deep coral ridge that serves as a cleaning station. Inquisitive sea snakes residing between the pinnacles are likely to approach you. These isolated bommies offer shelter to an amazing variety of marine life and critters that have set up residence here. Here you will see Reef Sharks, Bull Rays, Green Turtles, Olive Sea Snakes, Moray Eels, Nudibranchs, Mantis Shrimp, and Anemone Fish.

With depths ranging from 30 to 100 feet (10-30 m.), the Snake Pit is an isolated reef located between Lizard Island and Ribbon Reef Number 10. Curious Olive Sea Snakes approach divers hoping to catch a glimpse of their reflection in a camera lens. You will also spot a variety of invertebrates including Sea Stars, Nudibranchs, Clams, and Sea Cucumbers. Large fish also congregate here—Trevally, Eagle Rays, Barracuda, and Sharks.

Discerning divers everywhere continue to be impressed by Steve’s Bommie, with its massive quantities of schooling fish and pristine corals. Camouflaged in the reef are Stonefish, Wobbegong Sharks, and Leafy Scorpionfish. This bommie rises up from about 115 feet (35 m.) to within 16 feet (5 m.) of the surface.

Flare Point is a beautiful, sloping, unspoiled reef wall scattered with outlying bommies, vibrant coral reefs rich with marine life and brightly colored fish. Here you may find Mantis Shrimp, Moray Eels, Cuttlefish, Sweetlips, Unicorn Fish, Eagle Rays, Turtles, and White-tipped Reef Sharks.

The North Horn dive site at Osprey Reef, used as part of a research project to monitor shark behavior, is a natural amphitheater located on the edge of a main reef. It has a wall that descends from near the surface to over 3,200 feet (1,000 m.). Sharks that congregate here include Grey Reef Sharks, White-tipped Reef Sharks, Hammerheads, and Silver-tipped Sharks. At depths of 80-130 feet (25-40 m.) you will see an abundance of soft corals. Other marine life you may encounter here includes Tuna, Parrotfish, and Potato Cod. A 3,200-foot (1,000 m.) vertical wall offers scuba divers and amazing drift dive. Here you will experience drop offs, shallow caves, and deep overhangs replete with colorful soft corals and a large variety of fish.

Other dive sites at Osprey Reef may include Rapid Horn, Silver City, False Entrance, and Admiralty. You will experience swim-throughs, shallow lagoons, bommies, grottos, caves, and more, as well as a diversity of marine life ranging from small critters to large pelagics.

The Spirit of Freedom strives to provide scuba divers and guests with the highest quality and most memorable, innovative liveaboard experience possible. In addition to unmatched scuba diving, guests aboard the Spirit of Freedom will enjoy excellent accommodations and delicious meals as part of their vacation package. This dive boat affords guests both safety and comfort as it travels to the best diving sites the Coral Sea has to offer.