from 6 reviews
PADI Dive Center
Tusa Dive Charters
Corner of Shield & Esplanade
|3rd July 2012||Tusa 6 day trip||No|
|16th June 2012||Tusa are a class act||No|
|14th June 2012||Scuba diving as easy as Sunday morning||Yes|
|13th October 2009||Fantastic dive company.||No|
|29th September 2009||Great Day Trip to the Reef||No|
3rd July 2012 by anna_h
Tusa 6 day trip
Visit Date: June 2012
The Tusa is a very new boat with excellent equipment, operating out of Cairns. They go to several reefs for day trips, offering 2 dives at the same site and a third at a nearby location. Their price appears a bit lower then other boats from Cairns but they charge extra for guided dives so I am not sure at the end they are any less expensive.
Their equipment is new, including full length 5mm wetsuits which was really nice. My less then perfect scores reflect the actual diving part.
The dive instructions were not very useful, I wonder what people do without a guide. We had a dive master. While she was nice enough, she did not go out of her way to find and point out things around the reef. But the main issue that the whole operation seems to be hurried. They use smaller tanks than usual, probably to make sure that each individual dive is 35 min or less. They also do not fill up the tanks fully, my small tank never had 200 bar in it, once it was under 190 bar - other operators usually go to 210-220 bars. They hurry everyone back to the boat, so they can be back to Cairns by 4pm. An extra half an hour would have made a much better experience.
16th June 2012 by spanishdancer
Tusa are a class act
Visit Date: June 2012
Spent a day on the fabulous Tusa T6 catamaran out of Cairns. Wow what a boat. It is so large that it doesn’t matter whether there are a lot of guests on board. They have a combination of certified divers, newbies undergoing their training and snorkelers and because everything is so well organised, nobody gets in each others way. What is the best thing about the T6 catamaran – the hot showers after a dive!!
The diving – OK hands up, I messed up. I had checked the water temperature online 2 weeks previously and it showed 27c – nice and I brought with me a 2mm wetsuit. Wrong, in that time the water temperature had dropped to 23c. So, I had to borrow a brand new 5mm wetsuit and also wore a 2mm vest, which I found ideal. We did 3 dives on Norman Reef. This was my first dive on the Great Barrier Reef and immediately on entry was accosted by a Maori Wrasse (1.5mtrs.) who was obviously used to being fed and made sure that he performed for my camera. I saw a reef shark and plenty of small reef fish, plus plenty of healthy coral. Visibility was about 15-20 meters.
The second dive, which arrived about 30 minutes after the first had finished was similar, except this time I had a welcome from a Batfish who was expecting more than my camera. We had a nice swim through that was about 75 meters and would have been nice to have a torch. Various interesting fish, such as Unicorn Fish, Moorish Idol and Black and White Snappers.
After lunch, we had the third dive and guess who was waiting, the Maori Wrasse – sorry but I don’t feed fish. Met up with a turtle who was totally disinterested in me and let me video him – thanks.
Tusa Dive Charters are a class act, no question. The Great Barrier Reef I have to admit I was slightly disappointed with for my first visit and I believe the best way to dive the reef is by liveaboard, so that you can visit the outer reef. Tusa have their own liveaboard called Spirit of Freedom, which I believe at 120 feet is the largest on the Barrier Reef. I will have to save up and take that option the next time!
14th June 2012 by ubascuba
Scuba diving as easy as Sunday morning
Visit Date: June 2012
I should declare upfront that I'm one of the founders of Scubadviser and visted Queensland as a guest of the tourist board. After the official trip was over, we stayed on for another week to get some sun and make the most of the 28 hours travelling time.
We were introduced to Tusa by Julie at Cairns Dive Adventures (they really know their stuff about diving out of Cairns). Tusa are an Advanced Ecotourism Operator, a requirement which was non-negotiable for me.
The Tusa 6 dive boat is impressive. Less than a year old, it is state of the art with great facilities. Although the boat was full, it never felt crowded and it was easy to move around the dive deck.
Their rental equipment is very good. They carry a good selection of wetsuits, full and shorties, which you can team up with vests if you feel the cold.
The format for the day is one I was very familiar with. Dive 1, short surface interval (not really worth taking your wetsuit off for), dive 2 followed by lunch while the boat moves to another dive site for dive 3. Tusa offer guided or unguided dives so, if you're confident with your navigation skills, that's a nice option. I couldn't navigate myself out of a paper bag, so chose to go guided and Bardon became my compass for the day :-)
One of the things I dislike the most about guided diving is the agenda. I've had many dives which are so hurried that there's no time to just 'be'. By that I mean that I like to have time to stop, to explore, to gaze and simply soak up the images around me. I don't want to be constantly worried about keeping up with a group. And that's the reason I had probably 3 of my most enjoyable dives with Tusa. Yes, I've been to sites where I've seen more fish but these dives were relaxed and easy which met my needs perfectly. For divers looking for more challenging diving, the non guided option gives you total control.
The reefs are very healthy. Lovely soft and hard corals. We spotted a few reef sharks cruising along, saw turtles on every dive (and had a very lovely up close and personal encounter with one very chilled guy) and some nice shoals. All the usual reef fish were in evidence and I never tire of watching them dart in and out of the coral.
Wally the Wrasse (I think they're all called Wally) stalked us for pretty much the whole of the third dive and there were some super friendly bat fish who very conveniently posed for a photo call.
In conclusion, it was a lovely day. I came back feeling relaxed and humbled to have shared the underwater world with all these amazing fish. When diving is done right, there really is nothing to match it.
How Tusa go the extra mile:
1. Hot showers on board. In all the day boat diving I've done, this was a very welcome first for me.
2. They put on and take off your fins for you (heaven!)
3. They play great music on board (although I only sampled Sarah's playlist which was awesome - it reminded me of being in the Caribbean)
Things to be aware of:
I was here in June, which is winter on the Great Barrier Reef. I was wearing a full 5mm suit and needed it.
On the day I dived, the air temperature was about 25C but there was a wind chill which meant it was very chilly getting out of the water (though, to be fair, I'm a bit of a baby when it comes to this and the hot showers were a god send).
13th October 2009 by Sleepypenguin45
Fantastic dive company.
Visit Date: September 2009
We had 3 fantastic dives at the GBR with TUSA. They bring both divers and snorkelers to the reefs, but have separate staff devoted to helping divers with gear and bringing them on guided tours so the service felt more personal. We did 3 dives on 2 different reefs. We paid for 2 dives, and they threw in an extra one for free. My only complaint is that they do not warn you that they charge for guided dives. It was $10 per person, per dive, which would have been nice to know before they billed us. However, our guide did point out many amazing things that we likely would not have seen without her: small pipefish and nudibranchs, hiding lionfish, camouflaged cuttlefish, etc.
The reefs that they take you to are amazing. I have been diving in other tropical locations (Hawaii, Bahamas), but I have never seen so much live coral as I did on the GBR. Australia really has done a fantastic job of trying to preserve their reef system, and it shows. The diversity or reef fish and invertebrates there are awesome, and it was some of the best diving I have ever done.
Overall, TUSA is a great dive company. They do not overcrowd the boat (only fill it to 50% capacity), which I know some other dive companies will do. The food that they serve is good (not great, but they do have yummy sandwich makings). They provide warm showers, which is great once all the diving is done.
I do recommend bringing motion sickness medicine if you are prone to seasickness. They do provide ginger tablets for free, but they charge on boat for seasickness tabs. My recommendation would be to go to a chemist ahead of time, and take the tablets before getting on the boat. We went on a pretty windy day, and the boat was very rocky.
29th September 2009 by ChrisB
Great Day Trip to the Reef
Visit Date: August 2009
We did six dives over 2 days on the GBR aboard the TUSA 5. The boat was very well-equipped, with 4 bathrooms, two nicely-laid out inside\outside decks and even air fill whips to eliminate changing tanks between dives (very nice feature). The boat even has an on-board photographer to help record your day above and below water.
Despite the presence of snorkelers, there was little crowding with them as the lower deck is devoted primarily to divers and their equipment while the snorkelers are on the comfortable upper deck.
The crew were all VERY nice and helpful. We opted for guided dives and our guide (John) was great. He led three very nice dives each day at the Saxon and Hastings Reefs and was helpful and patient when one of our group had trouble equalizing their ears during one day. After our dives, John even went to the trouble of writing out the dive sites and the fish we saw on each dive for later entry into our logbooks - how great is that!
All in all, TUSA offered us a very nice day out on the reef. If your schedule doesn't fit with a liveaboard, the TUSA group is a very nice alternative for a day-trip to the reef - whether you are diving or snorkeling.