Great Barrier Reef Aboard Monsoon
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is a bucket- list destination for snorkelers, scuba divers and fishing enthusiasts alike. It is the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem, with more than 1,500 species of fish as well as whales, sea turtles, sharks, stingrays and more. An afternoon of exploration here is like being inside a neverending aquarium. (Well, almost never-ending, with the region spanning more than 130,000 square miles.)
For yacht charters, the base of operations heading out to the reef is Port Douglas, which is north of the airport at Cairns, in far northeastern Queensland. A car takes guests for the hour-long drive along the waterside Captain Cook Highway, which in and of itself offers some spectacular views of the piercing blue Coral Sea. At Port Douglas, day boats and charter yachts are tied up to the pilings, ready to take guests out to the Great Barrier Reef.
Monsoon is one of those boats, with a cruising speed of 15 knots that makes her well suited to day trips as well as charters of a few days out on the reef. She is a 2009 launch built in aluminum specifically for reef exploration. Snorkeling equipment is provided, and scuba diving gear can be arranged. For fishing enthusiasts, the yacht comes with bait, rods and reels, and the crew can schedule itineraries for light-tackle or serious sportfishing.
“This is by far the most popular yacht for private group day trips to the outer reef,” says Cameron Bray, managing director in Australia for Northrop & Johnson. “There’s a private chef experience, and private snorkeling excursions away from the tourist boats that carry hundreds of people aboard crowded pontoons.”
That kind of local knowledge is key not only to avoiding the masses, but also to finding the best coral reefs and underwater life. Monsoon’s crew is always on the lookout for beautiful snorkeling spots that are still thriving and healthy. northropandjohnson.com
The crew will take guests to the places where tourist boats don’t go.