Every year or so I travel to Port Douglas for a family get together for a long weekend. On this trip I went on a diving day trip onboard the SilverSonic, visiting Agincourt Reef which is part of the Great Barrier Reef.
Consulting with the local Cod
Usually we go in August, when the southern states are their coldest and the weather in North Queensland is usually nice and warm. This year we visited in November, close to the start of the rainy season.
The biggest difference at this time of year was the population of Port Douglas. August is a busy month for the small tourist town, with the streets and cafe’s full with getting a table at a good restaurant sometimes requiring a reservation. November was much quieter, there were still a few tourists about, but the restaurants, bars and cafes never looked like getting full.
The weather was for the most part fine, with the odd bout of heavy rain. It was a little hot sometimes, but overall fairly pleasent.
I’ve dived the Great Barrier Reef out of Cairns and The Whitsundays before, but not from Port Douglas. I booked 3 dives with Silversonic, which cost $304.
Agincourt Reef Scene
We left from the main marina at 9am, arriving at Agincourt reef about an hour later. I’ve wanted to dive on Agincourt for a while, I’ve heard it’s one of the better places to dive within day trip range and I was not disappointed.
We had our brief and started gearing up as we approached our first site. We dived in a small group of six, and were in the water shortly after the boat stopped. Conditions were not perfect, but visibility was still very good, and there was a fair bit of fish life about. On our first dive at Castle Rock we ran into a large Cod, which our Divemaster spent some time conversing with.
Maximum Depth on the first dive was 23 metres, with the first half of the dive spent around the 20 metre mark and the last 20 minutes at the top of the reef around 6 metres. I’ve found I’m consuming a lot more air than I used to since I’ve gotten back into diving, something I will need to work on. To get around it on this first dive I had to spend the last part in shallower water so I didn’t run out before the rest of our group.
Cuttlefish on Great Barrier Reef
You would normally expect to be doing a double dive on day trips like this, but the crew of the Silversonic managed to fit in three dives. Dive computers, using multilevel calculations also help, using the old tables would be much more restrictive as they base the entire dive on the deepest point reached.
We had a short surface interval of just over an hour, which was barely enough time to re-fill our tanks and move to the next spot. On the second dive we saw some cuttlefish, giant clams and stingrays.
The water was nice and warm at 27 degrees, it was actually colder on the boat, so I wore a shorty wetsuit along with the compulsory full body stinger suit. Next time I will bring my Lavacore suit, it would be perfect for these conditions.
After the second dive we had another hour surface interval, but this time we had to cram a buffet lunch into it. The food was nice, if not exceptional. Half way into the lunch break it started to rain heavily.
The last dive was fun, we saw a batfish and a small reef shark in the distance. The last dive was the longest at 51 minutes, but we were all taking it easy by that stage, just cruising along enjoying the scenery. We were out of the water by 3pm and back at the marina just after 4pm.. tired but happy.
Click on the link to see my divelog for this trip. Silversonic.pdf
Batfish Swimming By
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