Compass Cruises Great Barrier Reef Day Cruises

Understanding dive tables is important for scuba diving
Scuba diving

Visit The Outer Reefs Of The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Both above and below the water the Great Barrier Reef has been called one of the most beautiful locations on Earth.

Visitors to the Cairns area can explore the reef on board the MV Compass Cruises

Compass Cruises carries both snorkelers and scuba divers


Compass Cruises leaves from Cairns Marlin Marina every morning with boarding starting at 7:30 and the departure set at 8:00 am.

The vessel heads to the outer reef portion of the Great Barrier Reef.

The first destination is one of the sites of Hastings Reef.

Hastings Reef is one of the most visited reefs in the Great Barrier Reef Park.

However since it covers over 2,500 acres (1024 hectares) you will feel like you are the only ones out there.

The top of the reef is just six to fifteen meters below the surface and with the great visibility that the reef has it means that even those on the surface can view the reef.

After the first water session there is a freshly prepared buffet lunch served.

While eating you can enjoy the scenery while the Compass Cruises relocates to Breaking Patches reef for the second water session.

In  total you will have about 5 hours on the reefs adding in the cruising time the trip is about 10 hours, so there is plenty of time to include some sun bathing on the large sun deck.

When the snorkeling and scuba diving is done for the day, then the boom net is put into the water.

Compass Cruises is the only reef tour that offers boomnetting

Boom Netting is a different type of activity.

A large boom net is in the water behind the vessel and the guest who wish to try, grab a hold of it.

The vessel starts moving and the net and those holding on to it are pulled behind it.

Of course, it is weather permitting and depends on the sea conditions but most the time the conditions are favourable.

On the way back to Cairns is a wine and cheese party. As you sip some wine you can enjoy the wonderful views. You will arrive back at about 5:30.

Why The Outer Great Barrier Reef

The term outer reef means that the reef is the farthest from land and is part of the boundary, a barrier reef.

Hastings Reef is very near the edge of the continental shelf.

If you think back to your Earth Science studies you may recall that the continental shelf marks the end of the continent and that the ocean gets considerable deep very fast.

The ocean side of Hastings reef drops more than a thousand meters.

The top of the reef provides a number of different locations for diving and snorkeling.

Hastings reef is a crescent reef and the area behind the reef is called a lagoon.

Lagoons are areas of calm protected waters, you could see white capped waves on the other side of the reef and have no more motion than a swimming pool in the waters you are in.

A note on the term Lagoon, it’s scientific meaning includes all waters between the reef and land.

On crescent shape reefs the term is often used to describe the water within the crescent.

Being the closest to the deep water you see a higher number of Pelagic species around Hastings Reef. Pelagic species are those that live in what is called mid waters of the ocean.


They stay in deeper water but above the bottom. Some examples of what you may see are sharks, tuna and barracudas.

The Breaking Patches Reef is slightly further away from the shelf but still is a direct run for the pelagic fish. Breaking Patches as the name suggest is a patch reef.

Depending on which expert you talk with there are three or four types of reefs. Fringing reefs, Barrier reefs and atolls are the three main types.

Experts disagree if a patching reef is an additional type or an immature variation of one of the other three. A patching reef is one of scatter reef outcrops.

These outcroppings are too small to take on a crescent shape or to form cays.

Cays are islands created when fast moving water hits a reef and suddenly slows dropping what sediment it may have been carrying.

Over time this builds up. Breaking Patches present a wide range of marine life and outstanding coral formations.

Green sea turtles are often seen by visitors on Compass Cruises
Green Sea Turtle

The Best Value Great Barrier Reef Day Tour

When you look to buy something, price is just a portion of what needs to be considered. What you get for your money is its value.

Not only is the Compass Cruises day tour available at below $100, when compared to other day tours it is the best value.

From the outstanding service, to the buffet and wine party, threw in the boom netting and you have the best value on the Great Barrier Reef.