Back to the Future…

by Captain Trevor Jackson

When I was a kid … quite by accident, I discovered snorkelling. I lived in a little fishing village where, if you were keen, you could march straight off the beach and into adventure. There was nothing much to see, some reddish-brown weed and lots of little red clay rocks, blue jellyfish, a few oysters and the very rare, very sought after …. flathead … rounded out the biodiversity. Viz was 2 metres on an average day, 4 on a good day…and a spectacular 5 metres in the middle of winter on the best day ever … Looking back, not much to rave about but as a 12-year-old boy clutching an Amart spear gun…it was paradise on earth. Summer brought a water temp of around 24, but the viz was nil to nothing. Winter was when it got special. Cruising around in the shallows after school like a Great White … eyes peeled for that tell-tale teardrop Flathead shape on the sand that signified … dinner if I was good enough. Those were the days when you couldn’t get me out of the water. Despite winter water temps of around 14 degrees, my heart warms when I think of it …

These days kids are more familiar with iPhones than snorkels and more adept with texting than duck diving. As city living parents, opportunities to show our kids the thrill of undersea discovery are few and far between, but recently, we thought it might be a good idea to remedy that.

Our thinking went along the lines … Wouldn’t it be cool if we ran a few dive trips that started off in super calm water. Trips for families, some snorkel friendly islands perhaps, a bit of beach fun, some kayaks, a bit of calm … a bit of ‘just breath in and chill out’ Sure we’d still be hitting the outer reefs, but lets diversify a bit …

We decided to put thought into action and see if we couldn’t find some islands that would fit the bill. We did a three day trip concentrating on some islands north of Cooktown and hit genuine paydirt. I brought my two young daughters aboard as crash test dummies and along the way, they reminded me of something I’d lost somewhere between being that 12-year-old boy, to being this 55-year-old father … The sheer innocent JOY of it. They discovered beautiful coral gardens, beach snorkelling and critter diving in postcard quality, flat calm, tropical bays. Both of them learned to use a mask and snorkel for the first time and within minutes were pointing out baby sharks and giant clams to this particular, salty old sailor. By the time we moved out to the Ribbons proper, they could use the gear proficiently. The experience was … words fail me.

Our 4 Night / 3 Day Ribbon Reef trips that include a first day of exploration at Lizard and North Direction Islands are now a reality on board Spoilsport. If you want to see the delight on your daughters face when she sees her first blue starfish or green turtle … or want to hear your boy get excited over a giant Cod instead of a video game, then you need to give this a go … I can tell you it’s priceless. But don’t just take my word for it, come out here and join us and see for yourself … I hope to see you and yours … on board soon.

Cod Hole & Ribbon Reefs Expedition – 4 Nights
2020 Departure dates:  5 November | 10 December
2021 Departure dates: 7 January

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