The Great Barrier Reef is the largest naturally occuring structure on earth. Extending for more than 2,300 km from the northern tip of Queensland and south to Bundaberg, it comprises about 2,900 individual reefs, 900 islands or cays, more than 1500 different species of fish and six of the world's seven species of marine turtles.
For the average diver there are two major departure points for scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef. Alan Irving - author of this blog has worked these waters for more than 40 years as a Navy Clearance Diver, Commercial Diver, Recreational Divemaster , boat skipper and Dive Company General Manager. These sites have been selected not only for their beauty but also because they are accessible from Cairns or Airlie Beach by commercial dive boats.
Situated far out in the Coral Sea to the north of Cairns, Osprey Reef is visited infrequently by a small number of specialised liveaboard dive boats whose operators are absolutely fanatical about protecting the Great Barrier Reef. The departure point for Osprey Reef is Cairns and the reef complex is located approximately 150 km off the Queensland coast. Dive sites on Osprey include North Horn, North Horn Wall, Half Way Wall, Admiralty, False Entrance, Around the Bend, Castles, Silver City, Secret Caves and Rapid Horn. Each site has it's own unique appeal. This is pioneer territory and conditions can include strong currents and choppy seas. Specialised dive boat Spirit of Freedom visits these reefs. Probably the best time to travel to the Coral Sea is from September to December.
The beauty, splendor and marine life here has to be seen to be understood. Vertical walls descending to the seabed 1000 metres below and crystal clear visibility are what you will encouter at Osprey Reef.