We booked Seastar based on it being the highest rated on Tripadvisor, and we were not in the least disappointed...it was an amazing day!
We were group of four newly retired age Canucks, one with extensive diving experience, one with some snorkelling background, and two whom had seldom ventured beyond their bathtub. All four of us had different experiences during the day, but all were fantastic!
As an experienced (if significantly out of practice) diver, the relaxed camaraderie was incredibly welcoming, and diving on the reef was the stuff of bucket lists. For our kinda snorkeler, this was a chance to be taught how to snorkel properly, how to relax and enjoy the experience, and how to make the most of every minute in the water; she is now set up to truly enjoy every future trip. For the bathtub couple, it was a whole new experience that they were guided through step by step, enjoying a journey they could never otherwise have taken.
Michaelmas Cay, in itself, is really cool, and incredible opportunity to meet, literally face to face, a myriad of the the local winged inhabitants. They appear to sense that they at no risk as they sit just inside the roped off area, clearly laughing at the tourists...the birds sit on the rope, heckling like Statler and Waldorf from the Muppet Show. I spent ten minutes just watching one juvenile brown booby as we sat inches apart.
As you swim away from the Cay you may be disappointed as it is just sand, but the reef comes up soon enough, and it is a cool introduction to the world beneath the waves, and sets you up for an incredible experience at Hastings Reef.
In a word...AWESOME.
The staff are friendly, relaxed, patient and understanding. They make sure everyone is safe and understands the need for prudence, but they stress that the experience is natural and has to be fun and relaxing. Typically Aussie, all the folks on the boat joked with us and each other, teased us, laughed with us, taught us much, learned a little from us, generally treated us like friends, not just customers.
Snacks and drinks and lunch were plentiful, the post dive imbidements were reasonable priced, the boat was comfortable. Diving equipment was basic but all was near new and in excellent condition.
One thing not mentioned on Seastar's website is that if you are NOT a certified SCUBA diver, you can still do a dive if you wish...the diving instructor will kit you out and (literally) lead you by the hand for an intro dive that will lead to certification if you choose to pursue it. Snorkelling is wonderful, but seeing the reef and its inhabitants at their level is an entirely different experience, and one not to be missed if you have the inclination.
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