Spirit of Freedom Liveaboard – Diving in Australia
Dive Boat Specifications:
Length 37.0 meters
2 x Bauer 21 CFM Compressors
Eleven spacious air-conditioned cabins all contain their own private bathroom and are serviced daily. A range of cabin types is available and the three premium cabin types contain 26″ flat screen TV with hard drive of 300 + movies.
Our chefs provide first class meals and can cater to specific dietary requirements. Enjoy Australian and international cuisines and four meals a day. Australian wine and soft drinks are complimentary with the evening meal.
As a guest on board Spirit of Freedom you may dive with your buddy to your pace and interests with no set limits on time, depth or style of diving outside of normal safe diving practices. An orientation dive is offered on the first dive, and a safety instructor will be in the water on most dives. Guided dives will be offered on one or two dives each day. Browse Dive Trips aboard Spirit.
The Spirit of Freedom crew are dedicated professionals who work together as a team to ensure your diving and your time on board is fun, safe, and a first rate memorable experience that surpasses all your expectations.
Communications: Wireless internet is available when in range. Wide screen TV and DVD movie library. Passengers are also welcome to view their own digital images or videos on these screens. Computer & CD burner: For digital image download. Digital cameras and housings available for hire.
The Reef Flight:
Enjoy a one way low level flight over the reef between Cairns and Lizard Island on your 3 Day Cod Hole or 4 Day Coral Sea cruise. A spectacular way to begin or end your dive trip! The flight will save you traveling time, allowing more dives and more time in the clear waters of the northern end of the Ribbon Reefs.
QUERIES ABOUT THE LIVEABOARD BOAT AND DIVE TRIP
Where do you depart from?
We depart from Trinity Wharf, Cairns at 12 noon on Mondays and 8.30am from the General Aviation Airport on Thursdays. Please reconfirm with us at 24 hours prior to boarding.
Are transfers included?
Yes, we provide complimentary transfers from hotels in the Cairns city area. Please note that we do not offer transfers from the airport, the beaches to the north of Cairns, or Port Douglas. A taxi from the airport to the wharf will cost around AU$25.
What are the luggage weight restrictions on board the flight to Lizard Island ?
We request that your total luggage be kept to 20 kilograms (45lb) per person. Please try and keep you gear to a minimum and leave behind any weights or soft weight pouches.
You will be on board for only 3 or 4 nights so please keep your clothing and personal items to a minimum. Deck and cabin towels are provided on board, so towels are not necessary. Please ensure that all your dive and personal bags are soft sided, to allow for maximum stowage on the plane.
Do you have somewhere I can store excess luggage?
Secure storage is available at the Spirit of Freedom office for any excess luggage. We will collect this from you prior to boarding the boat/ plane. Please separate from your other bags and make sure this bag(s) is clearly labelled with your name.
What essential items should I bring on board?
Personal items and toiletries, swimwear, hat, sunscreen, casual clothing, and sweatshirt in the winter (May – Sept)
Will I need a power adapter?
Australian domestic power standard is 240V @ 50htz, with 3 pronged power sockets. You may need to bring your own international power adapter to use your electrical appliances or battery chargers. Click here for more information
Is there phone and email contact on board the boat?
While on board Spirit of Freedom you can enjoy intermittent phone and wireless email access when we are in range along certain sectors of the Ribbon Reefs. While at the Coral Sea, and certain regions of the Ribbon Reefs that are out of range, we can only rely on satellite phone and fax communications.
What food and beverages are provided?
Lunch and dinner are provided on the day of departure, with 4 meals a day on ensuing days, and breakfast on the day of return to Cairns. The 4 meals include continental breakfast followed by a cooked breakfast after the first dive of the day. Special dietary requirements can be catered to with prior notice. Tea, coffee and fountain water are always available for self service. Australian wines and soft drinks are served complimentary with the evening meal. Outside of this time we operate a ships bar with beer, mixed drinks, wine selection. Drinks can be placed on a tab for payment at the end of your trip.
How can people reach me in an emergency?
The Spirit of Freedom carries CDMA phones and satellite communications. Should an EMERGENCY arise and you need to be contacted on board, please our office phone is + 61 7 4047 9150 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to have a message relayed to you.
Do you accommodate for mobility impaired passengers?
Due to lack of accommodation on the main deck, steep stairwells, and hatch combings, the Spirit of Freedom is not a suitable vessel for people with mobility impairments.
We are two large people, what is the best cabin for us?
The Stateroom is the only cabin on board with a queen size bed. The Ocean View cabins have double bed only configuration. Many of the Double/Twin cabins have a double bed under with single bed over, if you wish to take your own beds.
We are bringing our teenage child with us. Is there an option for three of us to share a cabin?
Many of the Double/Twin cabins have a double bed under with 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. The third person in the cabin will be charged at quad share rate.
I have my own digital camera. Do you have an option to download on board?
Guest use laptops are available on board.
Do I need to bring my certification card?
Yes, you will need to present your certification card upon boarding, so don’t forget it!
Do I need a dive medical?
As a certified diver, generally a dive medical is not required. However, if you have a history of a medical condition that could be dangerous when diving (eg asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, heart or lung disorders) you are required to provide a current diving medical certificate, from a diving medical specialist, stating that you are fit to scuba dive.
If you are participating in the Advanced or Nitrox course, you need to be medically fit to dive as indicated by completing the PADI Australia medical questionnaire. In some cases this may result in a medical being required. Please contact us if you require a copy of the medical questionnaire.
What equipment is provided?
Tanks and weight belts
What rental scuba gear is available?
By piece or by full equipment package the following scuba gear is available for rental: BCD, regulator with dive computer, wrist mount dive computer, wetsuits, torch and cylume sticks, and mask snorkel fins.
Is it required that I use a dive computer? Yes , all divers must dive with their own dive computers, however you are welcome to also use your dive tables.
What is the recommended weight wetsuit?
Lycra skin to 3mm in the summer (Oct – Mar) and 5mm in the winter (Apr – Sept). Vests and hoods are recommended to bring for extra warmth if you are not sure. On board the rental suits are 3mm and/ or 5mm full length suits.
What size are the tanks?
10.5 litre and 12 litre (75 and 88 cubic feet) aluminum tanks .
What is the standard tank fitting?
US style K valve. DIN Valves are not available, and adapters will be required.
How is the diving conducted?
The majority of our divers appreciate freedom and independence rather than being restrained in a larger group. As a guest on board Spirit of Freedom you may dive with your buddy to your pace and interests with no set limits on time, depth or style of diving outside of normal safe diving practices. An orientation dive is offered on the first dive, and a safety instructor will be in the water on most dives.
I’m a Nitrox diver, can I get fills on board?
Yes, nitrox fills are set at 32% at $10 per fill or package price for all dives on nitrox. Nitrox certification cards must be produced upon boarding.
What is involved in the Nitrox course?
This course is comprised of Video, instructional theory, and 2 dives on nitrox. The theory element generally takes 3 to 4 hours over two days.
What is involved in the PADI Advanced course?
The Advanced course is comprised of 5 dives in different specialty areas such as deep, night, navigation, boat, underwater naturalist, multi-level computer diving, underwater photography or nitrox. This course consists of self study, theory lesson, and Instructor supervised dives.
Will there be open water students on board?
No. We do not conduct learn to dive or referral courses on board. We only offer PADI Advanced courses and Nitrox courses.
My Partner is a non-diver, will they enjoy the trip?
The size and facilities of the Spirit of Freedom certainly offer the same level of comfort as a mini cruise ship. Non-divers can enjoy DVD movies, games, the resource library, and relaxing on sun lounges on the top deck. We recommend the Cod Hole and Ribbon Reefs itinerary for those who like to snorkel. There are many shallow coral gardens offering fantastic snorkeling.
Can I rent an underwater camera on the boat?
Yes, Digital Cameras including camera housing and USBs are available on board.
What will the weather be like?
Australian seasons are the reverse of the Northern hemisphere. Our summer is DEC – FEB and winter is JUN – AUG. However as Cairns is close to the equator and in a tropical zone, we experience relatively warm winters and high humidity in the summer months. Rain is not uncommon from January to April, but while this rain can fall on Cairns due to the surrounding mountains, it is often clear out to sea.
When is the best time of year for diving in Cairns ?
May to August being our winter and colder water can offer great visibility and beautiful clear days, but sometimes stronger winds. September thru December sees the water warm up a little, generally clear conditions and light winds, with many coral reef species breeding at this time. January through April is considered our wetter season with amazing feeding and marine action following the breeding season.
I suffer seasickness, do you have any suggestions.
Spirit of Freedom weighs 250 tonnes and is equipped with electronic stabilizers, however there is no such thing as a boat that doesn’t move! Our first recommendation would be to take a cabin that is on the lower deck mid ships, and avoid the Ocean View cabins on the top deck where you will experience the most motion. We have natural ginger tablets on board, but if you require something stronger we recommend that you consult your pharmacist. Take your medication just prior to boarding; don’t wait until you feel ill. It’s also a good idea to try your tablets or patches before your trip to ensure you are not affected by side effects. Please note all motion sickness medication will cause dehydration and we recommend that you drink extra water. The good news is generally most people gain their sea legs after a day or two.
What happens if I am sick and can’t make the trip?
We strongly recommend travel insurance to cover you against this eventuality, as our policies do not allow for refunds on late cancellations.
Do I need dive insurance?
When joining Spirit of Freedom we strongly recommend all passengers (divers and snorkellers) have evacuation and medical cover.Please be aware that Scuba Diving and in-water activities are not covered by all Travel Insurance Companies. NOTE: In a Medical Emergency any evacuation, vessel relocation or medical expenses are the finacial responsibility of that diver.
Divers Alert Network (DAN) and Dive Assure offer comprehensive insurance packages specifically for Scuba Divers
What are your recommendations for flying after diving?
Spirit of Freedom recommends a minimum wait of 24 hours before flying after multiple dives. The last dive of the trip will generally be around 5:00pm the day before we return to Cairns. 24 hours is a guideline only and for maximum safety give yourself as long as possible. Please be aware that skydiving or a trip to Kuranda or the Atherton tablelands will include going to altitude.
Please Note – Individual airlines have their own policies (48 hour minimum), check with your air carrier.
Where is the nearest chamber?
The nearest re-compression chamber is in Townsville, 450km to the south of Cairns. Spirit of Freedom requires all passengers to carry insurance to cover for a medivac from the reef. DAN Travel Assist will cover emergency evacuations and time in the chamber.
What about tipping?
Tipping is not mandatory in Australia, although becoming a more common practice. It is not governed by any percentage, and any cash tip for good service received, is always appreciated by Australian dive crews. Our practice is to divide tips received amongst all crew on board your trip.