When researching overnight snorkel and scuba excursions on The Great Barrier Reef, a challenging aspect was understanding what the ship is like. In this post, we attempt to give a perspective of what it is like on the boat. If you are looking for information about the entire excursion, read our Coral Sea Dreaming Experience.
The boat is 52 feet long (16 meters) and can sleep 12 (plus 3 crew members) for a total of 15 people. Those numbers may lead you to believe it is a larger yacht, but it isn’t. Between the scuba and snorkeling gear, sailing rig and the necessities needed to keep 15 people going for 2 days at sea, the feeling is intimate.
Most people spent their time above deck. Not only because of the breathtaking views, but because of the limited space to move around below deck. The experienced Coral Sea Dreaming staff takes strides in effort to keep things comfortable, heavily considering the weather conditions and surroundings. I imagine it being pretty tough if you had inclement weather.
The forward dive deck of the ship housed all of the scuba equipment, with limited room to maneuver. Without seating or shade from the sun, it was a great place to take photos, not to lounge. However, in the evening when this deck wasn’t busy with active divers, it was a nice space to spread out.
The bow housed all of the diving and snorkeling equipment.
Coral Sea Dreaming is equipped with SCUBAPRO and AQUALUNG dive gear, including the computers. On board, there is a Bauer 3200 diver compressor to fill the tanks. A variety of quality 5mm wetsuits, fins for diving and snorkeling, masks and snorkels, and all the equipment needed for the best water experience were provided for this tour.
Amidship (the middle of the boat)
The middle part of the ship had a raised platform where we stored our snorkel gear. The crew strung up a hammock when anchored and it became a popular spot to relax in the evening.
The Sides Of The Ship
The Stern (back of the boat)
The rear cockpit was the most spacious area of the boat, easily holding all 12 passengers plus the crew, and our gathering area for instructions and sailing. Depending on the weather, the sides can zip up to provide protection from the elements. It was very comfortable and allowed great viewing of our surroundings.
Everyone was assigned a plastic cup that was stored in a tethered box inside the rear cockpit with their name on it. Next to our cups was a cooler beverage dispenser with plenty of fresh water to drink for the excursion. There were also coolers stored under the tables containing bottled water, cans of soda pop, beer, and wine at an additional purchase. The crew made it convenient with a paper and clipboard to log items purchased and then pay out after returning to the dock.
As you descend the steps, the first landing you come to is the captain’s quarters. This contains access to the ships navigational equipment and engine room. Two mats on either side of this room serve as sleeping quarters for the captain and first mate.
The seating area on the right was used a few times by a family with small children for eating. Otherwise people came down here to get their food (set out on the table on the left) and ate their meals upstairs.
Our family is rather tall, with our oldest son being 6’8″. Walking about the interior of this vessel was tight, but manageable. Our youngest son (pictured above) is only 6 feet tall. Mentioning this hopefully brings a greater perspective of the halls and doorways.
There are several options for bunking in Coral Sea Dreaming’s quarters. They offer 3 different private cabins with a double occupancy, a shared cabin for 4 guests (single bunks), and a bunk bed with 2 single bunks in a hall.
The two bathrooms are located on either side of the ship. One is near the bunk bed and 2 private doubles, the other is near the shared cabin and 1 private double.
We requested the 2 private double cabins and 1 of the bunks located at the back of the ship. Our family of 5 shared that space with one other guest (who was wonderful and kind) and was grateful for the conveniently located toilet and shower nearby.
Views From The Deck
Obviously, the views underwater at the Great Barrier Reef are breathtakingly extraordinary. But let’s not dismiss the views from the deck. The colors of the clear blue waters change as it shallows on top of the beautiful reef. The water clarity is so great, that you can stand on the edge of the boat and view sea turtles, fish, and the human swimmers circling about.
The crew helps keep a close watch for visiting dolphins and migrating whales. Look to the sky for the dazzling sunrise and sunsets, or the 40 different species of birds. (We were lucky enough to spot a bright blue Ulysses Butterfly circling the sails.)
At night, ask the crew to turn off the lights and get a show in the sky featuring millions of stars or the spotlight of the moon. There is so much more to enjoying the GBR than what is below in water.
You can tell the crew loves what they do, giving quality work ensuring their guests are safe and have a great experience. Even with the tight quarters, this adventure shouldn’t be missed! How many people can say “we visited Australia and slept on a yacht over the Great Barrier Reef”? We can!
- Bring small car air fresheners to hang inside of your quarters.
- Pack extra hand and body wipes to clean and refreshen.
- Be prepared when showering. There is no place to hang a towel inside the shower closet.
- Make sure to utilize the fans in the quarters. It can get stuffy and hot if you don’t.