The Sea Urchin – Species of the Reef

The sea urchin is a common site in aquariums and reefs around the world, and the Great Barrier Reef is no different. They abound on the shallows of the reef as well as the deeper areas and walls. Sea urchins are related to sea cucumbers and starfish. Like their cousins they have tubular feet they use to crawl across the reef. They use both water and blood as circulation systems in their bodies and eat mostly algae as part of their diet. When food conditions abound they can reproduce very quickly and therefore reach large numbers in a very short period of time. Likewise when the food sources dwindle they die of in masses just as quickly.

The spines are method of protection against predators but also offers a home to juveniles of smaller fish, offering them protection also. These spines are not dangerous to humans but as always it is best not not play with the wildlife.

A Better Environmental and Travel Experience

We do many things onboard our boats to make sure we minimize our possible environmental impact. That means you can enjoy your diving and snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef with the knowledge you are not impacting the reef in any detrimental way. One of the things we often talk to our guests about is the use of batteries instead of generators to provide power while we are at the reef.

By capturing energy that would otherwise be wasted during the normal operations of running the engines we charge our extensive battery banks. This allows our snorkelers and scuba divers to enjoy the reef, sunsets and sleep without the noise of a generator in the background. We then recycle the batteries after several years, and eliminating the generator decreases the use of oil and fossil fuels, as well as carbon emissions. A win for both the environment and your travel experience.

So when you are planning your next scuba diving trip to the Great Barrier Reef think about the best way to experience the reef, with only the noise of the waves and birds. If you decide to book with us it’d be our privilege to show you the beauty of this natural wonder…

Want to Keep that Summer Feeling?

If you are in the United States and want to keep that summer feeling going well into the fall. Qantas is offering some great deals now on airfares to the Great Barrier Reef and Cairns. Get your last snorkel and diving fix before the winter in the best place in the world to dive, The Great Barrier Reef.

To take advantage of this offer, start your travel between 19 October and 18 November 2010.

Hurry! This offer ends Tuesday, 27 July 2010. Availability is limited and as always check the airline website for the latest details.

Los Angeles to:
Cairns round trip from* $ 958

San Francisco+ to:
Cairns round trip from* $ 958

New York (Newark)+ to:
Cairns round trip from* $1158

Make sure you book your snorkel and scuba experience here as well to make sure you get to see the best the reef has to offer.

A Couple of Our Latest Customer Emails

It is always great to get feedback from our guests, here are a couple of the latest we have received……


I would like to compliment your company on its outstanding service and staff. We recently sailed for 3 days/2night on the Santa Maria with Mark, Tara, & Erin. We were lucky to have a smaller group of 5 and it was absolutely the highlight of our trip. Mark was a wealth of information about the different species and locations we would be visiting. He was constantly working to make everyone comfortable and working on the boat, you can tell he has a true appreciation of how beautiful that boat is and he was tending to every detail on board.

Erin kept all of us safe and well fed with excellent three meals a day and snacks at anytime we needed something. She was also keeping a very watchful eye while we were out, making us feel much safer to venture away from the boat snorkeling. There is too much to say about Tara, she was amazing, helping everyone to be comfortable and safe in the diving process, and so patient to work with us through our individual troubles in the water. This trip without Tara would have been completely different and I am very thankful for her presence and her knowledge while diving.

In the evenings we felt like we were in a group of friends, it was very nice to sit and talk with everyone. We found our ways of keeping entertained and it was quite a perfect and surreal experience.
If I found anything that could be improved I would suggest some meats and eggs in the breakfast menu and some bottles of wine furnished by the boat with dinner. If these are the only improvements I can find, please know it was an amazing experience and we loved the opportunity to be part of it. I will not miss this on any of my future trips to Australia.
My many thanks to Mark, Erin, and Tara of the Santa Maria. – Best Regards, Aaron


My boyfriend and I recently took a 3 day trip (May 24-26) on the Santa Maria. I just wanted to take the time to write about our wonderful experience and brag on the wonderful crew! There is not one thing that I would have changed about this trip. I loved that we had a small group so we were able to receive personal attention when it came to our scuba instruction.

Mark, our captain, was extremely intelligent and helpful. He knew so much about the reef, especially the marine life living there, and never hesitated to answer any of the questions I had. Erin was also wonderful. She was always very helpful and polite, and her cooking was excellent! Our scuba instructor, Tara, was absolutely amazing. She was so patient and helpful to everyone, especially me.

I came on the trip with absolutely no prior scuba experience. I was extremely nervous and anxious the entire trip. I panicked during my first dive, but Tara remained supportive and encouraging. She worked with me one-on-one for quite some time before I was convinced to give diving another try. She never once got the slightest bit irritated with me. She was so patient and encouraging the entire time. She was the only reason that I did not give up. Without her support and personal help I never would have given scuba dive along the beautiful Great Barrier Reef. I cannot thank her enough. Aside from the fantastic crew, the dive sights were beautiful and the prices very reasonable.

Overall, we had an amazing experience onboard the Santa Maria. I would easily suggest this trip to anybody wishing to have an unforgettable scuba diving experience in Australia. – Sincerely, Alana


Thanks again guys for this great feedback….
If you want to come and experience the Great Barrier Reef like our guests above. Come and join us…. We’d love to have you onboard!