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3-Night Ribbon Reef vs 2-Night Outer Reef Liveaboard?

Saint Louis...
Level Contributor
31 posts
122 reviews
3-Night Ribbon Reef vs 2-Night Outer Reef Liveaboard?

Hey all,

I think I might already know the answer to this, but just wanted to know if anyone has dove both the Outer Reef and Ribbon Reef/Cod Hole and could share their opinions?

We were initially thinking about the shorter (and much, much cheaper) Outer Reef liveaboards, but from my readings it sounds like a lot of those charters revisit the same dives and may not offer nearly the same variety (pelagics, nudis, etc.) Anyone care to verify/disagree?

Again, it's significantly more than we originally thought we'd spend, but if the experience is that much better, than I think we'll have to switch up plans.

Thanks so much for any ideas,


Vancouver, British...
Level Contributor
2 posts
24 reviews
1. Re: 3-Night Ribbon Reef vs 2-Night Outer Reef Liveaboard?

Hi Cmud, Just curious what you choose in the end?

Cairns, Australia
Level Contributor
656 posts
85 reviews
2. Re: 3-Night Ribbon Reef vs 2-Night Outer Reef Liveaboard?

i have done both , the outer reef off Cairns and the ribbon reefs and cod hole are some distance off Cooktown.

My opinion is that the most pristine reef is the area north of Cooktown , however this does not mean that the reef of Cairns are not pristine.

The extra cost do do the Ribbons is the travel time so if you can afford the extra do the Ribbons , the Cod Hole is just mind blowing.

A personal opinion only, others may see it differently.

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
7 posts
52 reviews
3. Re: 3-Night Ribbon Reef vs 2-Night Outer Reef Liveaboard?

Yes, the cod hole and ribbon reefs are amazing! However, the reef off Cairns is not to be disregarded... You mentioned you were choosing between a 3 night ribbon reef trip, and a 2 night reef trip off Cairns- as you say, it really does come down to budget!

If you can afford it, then do the 3 night ribbon reef trip for sure. I'd even suggest doing the 4 night Coral sea trip instead if your budget allows, and you are fairly confident/ experienced divers... This trip involves a flight (Thursday departure only) over the reef from Cairns to Lizard Island (near the cod hole) then a trip out to the absolutely pristine Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea- 30-40M visibility standard, shark feeding, 1000ft drop offs, need I say more...

Another important factor in choosing this trip is whether you or your travel companions suffer from seasickness?? It's a very different story cruising round the coast compared with steaming for 10-12 hours overnight in the open ocean...

Just a suggestion to complicate things even more for you perhaps!

If you do choose a trip off Cairns, I'd recommend you go with ProDive, my suggestion as the best boats on offer- they try not to visit the same sights for more than 2 dives each (weather permitting) and there's no reason why you shouldn't find a few Nudi's off Cairns, slim chance for Pelagics though.

Whatever trip you do choose, you should have a great time diving off Cairns. All the major operators have safe, modern, well run vessels, and the diving is great at this time of year

Happy diving!!

4. Re: 3-Night Ribbon Reef vs 2-Night Outer Reef Liveaboard?

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