What if the weather is bad?
The rain in Cairns tends to stick to the mountains. Cairns is located in the wet tropics and attracts fairly high rainfall. However, as our reef is 40kms offshore, the clouds don’t collect, and the rain tends to stay away.
When is the best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef and the best season/month to go scuba diving or snorkelling?
The best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef is from April to November, but honestly, the answer is whenever you can really! Temperatures around the GBR don’t usually drop below 26°C. In November, the mass spawning of corals is a sight to see snorkelling and scuba diving. Once a year after the full moon in November/December, the corals release eggs and sperm into the water creating multi-coloured underwater snowfall making this an unforgettable natural experience!
Generally, from April to November you’ll experience fewer crowds and less rainfall, which can mean increased water clarity, fewer people around and you’ll see more specials and discounts on Cairn’s reef tours.
The warm waters of Tropical North Queensland are ideal for year-round diving. Water temperatures vary from 22° to 30° Celsius (75° to 86°F).
How far in advance should I book dive?
We normally advise our customers to book at least 3 days before the date of travel to secure a spot. However, please note that June, July, and August are very popular travel periods, therefore it’s advisable to book as soon as you’ve decided to travel, that way your spot is secured for your Scuba Diving Experience.
Can I book on the day?
Yes, you can book on the day, subject to availability. You can call reservations from 8am, and you will need to already have transfers booked over to the island for our first departure of 8am.
Diving Requirement FAQ’s
What are the diving age requirements?
The minimum age for Introductory divers and dive courses is 12+ years and Certified divers is 10+ years. Please keep in mind that all divers are required to complete a Medical Questionnaire. In our commitment to the safety of our guests, divers over 65 years (or 45 years for PADI dive courses) must have a medical clearance with a physician the confirms they are Fit To Dive. This can be provided by your own GP before you leave for your holiday.
Do you offer guided dives with a PADI dive instructor?
All introductory divers will be accompanied by a PADI qualified dive instructor for the entire duration of the dive. Your instructor will provide you with ongoing instruction for your safety and point out marine life.
If you are a certified diver, you will also be accompanied in the water by a dive instructor. Your instructor will provide you with ongoing instruction for your safety and point out marine life.
What is included in an introductory dive?
During your introductory scuba dive, you will learn the basic skills required to dive down to a depth of up to 12 metres while accompanied by one of our experienced PADI qualified dive instructors. The scuba dive experience lasts up to 20 minutes giving you time to feel comfortable and begin to enjoy your first dive on the Great Barrier Reef.
What is the difference between an introductory dive and a certified dive?
Introductory dives are for those who are not certified or who have never dived before. A certified dive means you hold a certified diving qualification and are competent to dive in a group guided by a Dive Master.
Do I need to complete a dive medical?
Please keep in mind that all divers are required to complete a Medical Questionnaire. In our commitment to the safety of our guests, divers over 65 years (or 45 years for PADI dive courses) must have a medical clearance with a physician the confirms they are Fit To Dive. This can be provided by your own GP before you leave for your holiday.
Please be aware that certain medical conditions (e.g. asthma, heart disease, diabetes) and/or prescription medication may prevent some people from diving.
I have lost my dive certification card or licence; can I still dive?
Yes, as long as evidence of certification can be provided eg log book or verification letter from your certifying dive company. You can do this by contacting your original certifying organisation. Some training agencies do offer online certification verification.
What depths will I be diving to?
The Great Barrier Reef is generally not a deep dive destination. Our dive sites have an average depth range of 10-25 metres (30-80 feet). As coral relies on sunlight for growth, some of the best diving can be done in depths around 10-15 metres (30-50 feet).
Do you have nitrox on the island?
No, we do not.
Can pregnant women scuba dive or snorkel?
Due to safety reasons, women who are pregnant are not allowed to scuba dive. However, pregnant women are allowed to snorkel. We have flotation devices available to hire.
What do I wear underneath my stinger suit?
No, you can’t go naked! You must wear something underneath your stinger suit. This needs to be something you can get wet like your swimmers/bikini/bathers.
Can I bring my own fins and regulator?
Yes, you can. However, we have everything on the island that you need for snorkelling and scuba diving so this is not required.
Will the water be cold on the Reef?
The water temperature is pleasant all year round. Average temperatures throughout the year are December-February 29C 83F, March-May 25C 76F, June-August 22C 72F, September-November 25C 76F.
Do you ever cancel?
Rarely. The only reason we would cancel a tour would be for the safety and comfort of our guests.
Are there sharks on the Great Barrier Reef?
Yes, there are sharks in every ocean, and a variety of sharks inhabit The Great Barrier Reef. What we most commonly encounter are smaller species which pose no threat to divers or snorkellers. The most infamous Australian shark, the Great White, prefers the cold water of the Southern Ocean and does not visit the waters of Tropical North Queensland.
I have heard about the stinging jellyfish. Can I still go diving?
There are 2 main types of dangerous jellyfish in our local waters. The Box Jellyfish is coastal dwelling and is extremely rare to see on the reef and Fitzroy Island. They breed in estuaries and live their life on the shoreline, they therefore generally do not pose a threat to divers. The Irukandji jellyfish is also predominantly a coastal dweller but is occasionally found on the reef. Divers are rarely troubled by either species, but there is still a risk of being stung. Full body coverage is recommended when jellyfish are prevalent. Fitzroy Island Resort provides full length lycra suits for protection from marine stingers at an additional charge. The jellyfish season in North Queensland is from November to April.
Is the reef dead?
Despite what you hear and read the reef is not dead, it’s not dying, it’s resilient, it’s healthy and we’ve made great strides forward in the last few years. The health quality of the reef has been a hot topic of discussion in recent years with climate change impacting coral life. It is Fitzroy Island Resorts utmost priority to protect the heartbeat of our iconic region and this major part of our ancient ecosystem.
There is still lots of coral to see! Not only do we love to show off the natural beauty of the reef, but we also love to educate our visitors on the abundance of marine life that they’re seeing daily on our tours.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park – supports about 40,000 jobs in the region – stretches 1,430 miles, extending south from the north-eastern tip of Queensland down to just north of Bundaberg. It includes 3,000 coral reefs, 600 continental islands, 300 coral cays, 1,625 types of fish, and much more. Remember, when you are talking about something as large as the Great Barrier Reef, you are talking about something bigger than the United Kingdom.
Every year corals engage in one of nature’s greatest spectacles, their mass reproduction during a November full moon. Fertilized eggs (larvae) travel on ocean currents for days or weeks in search of a new home (New Coral Growth).