Knuckle Reef Cruise Whitsundays

by John on March 24, 2011

Image taken from Helicopter of Cruise Whitsundays floating pontoon at Knuckle Reef.

From the air, it is easy to see where guests of Cruise Whitsundays floating pontoon can snorkel and dive at Knuckle Reef Lagoon. This is truly a great day cruise from Airlie Beach to the Outer Great Barrier Reef.

There are many good companies that take cruises to the Great Barrier Reef, so it is hard to sit on the fence when talking about how good one particular cruise is over another. Perhaps it will be easier to talk about what you will see once you get there.

In this regard, it is easy to talk about the condition of Knuckle Reef, where Cruise Whitsundays has located their floating pontoon. Anchored in Knuckle Reef Lagoon on the outer Great Barrier Reef, tourists have some of the best snorkelling conditions where they can enjoy the diversity of the amazing coral reef.

Knuckle Reef is located 95 kilometers off the coast from Airlie Beach and it takes the Cruise Whitsundays vessel Seaflight, a very luxurious 7-metre state of the art wavepiercer vessel, about 3 hours to make the journey. More of the fantastic day that Cruise Whitsundays provides will follow, but it is the awesome time you will have at Knuckle Reef I want to convey in this particular post.

What really stands out is the condition of the reef itself at Knuckle Reef Lagoon. Just 2 weeks ago we snorkelled the Outer Barrier Reef at Hardy Reef, which is virtually situated next door to Knuckle Reef. Whist it was good, we did come away from that trip a little disappointed after seeing the damage to the reef that is clearly visible to anyone who wants to see.

Knuckle Reef held no such disappointment for us, we came away with such a good feeling that Knuckle Reef is alive and well, we cannot wait to go back again. We appreciate the sad fact that over time Knuckel Reef will also be subjected to the human factor, which will undoubtably take it’s toll.

I saw how the human factor impacts on the health of the reef yesterday. While snorkelling, a huge parrot fish slowly glided into view, the person snorkeling near me became so excited he wanted to make sure his wife also witnessed this amazing scene and stood up to tell his wife. I watched in horror as his fins struck a piece of Staghorn coral, snapping off the beautiful, yet brittle horns. In that impulsive act, one human killed countless coral anemones. I felt like screaming!

All cruise companies tell passengers time and again during a cruise not to stand on the reef. Sometimes people do not listen or forget the fact that coral are living creatures. Whilst that incident did sadden me, it couldn’t spoil an otherwise awesome day. A truly remarkable experience, thanks to Cruise Whitsundays and their energetic staff.

You don’t go to the reef for the food that is served for lunch. You don’t go to the reef for what music is played during the cruise. Those type of things do add to the overall enjoyment of the day, but is not the main reason why you are taking a cruise. You take a cruise to the reef to see The Great Barrier Reef. This cruise delivers the goods.

If you intend to take a cruise from Airlie Beach, then I would highly recommend that you book with Cruise Whitsundays, simply because Knuckle Reef Lagoon, where you are allowed to snorkel, has a healthier coral population. It makes one wonder what would a pristine reef look like where there was no commercial snorkelling or diving. Must be totally awesome.

Both of the major cruise companies in the Whitsundays, Fantasea and Cruise Whitsundays, give their passengers an unforgettable experience on the Great Barrier Reef. It is my opinion that the reef where you are allowed to snorkel is more spectacular at Knuckle Reef than that at Hardy Reef.

Knuckle Reef is amazing, so I will let the images below do the talking. Click the images to see a larger size.

Awesome snorkelling for both the novice or more advanced. Huge plate corals, an abundance of marine life and fish species live just below the surface. Knuckle Reef is about 95 kilometers from the tropical township of Airlie Beach, Queensland.

Underwater photograph showing brain coral and green coral of Knuckle Reef, Whitsundays.

Knuckle reef in the Whitsundays is home to over 150 different species of hard and soft corals. Situated 95 kilometers from the coast, Cruise Whitsundays operated day trips to Knuckle Reef from Airlie Beach daily.

Awesome looking clam nestles among the hard coral at Knuckle Reef, Whitsundays.

Some of the clams are so awesome with different patterns and colours. Underwater photo taken at the Outer Barrier Reef on a day trip with Cruise Whitsundays.

Image taken from helicopter of famous Heart Reef in the tropical Whitsundays.

From Knuckle Reef you can take a helicopter flight to see the fabulous Heart Reef. Helicopter flights are an optional extra.


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