Michaelmas Cay Sailing Tour with Ocean Spirit Cruises

Michaelmas cay sailing tour is a relaxing day on a luxury 32-metre sailing catamaran.

Ocean Spirit  Michaelmas Cay tours start with a 7:30 check-in.  After a relaxing day exploring t the Great Barrier Reef this tour returns to Cairns at 5 pm.  After we depart, we will cruise forty kilometres northeast of Cairns to this island sanctuary.

This exclusive tour visits  Michaelmas Cay within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Here you will find sparkling blue waters and stunning coral gardens surrounding this island cay.

About Michaelmas Cay

Michaelmas Cay is more than just another Great Barrier Reef location. This sand cay is a national park and a protected bird sanctuary.

This sand cay is a vital bird sanctuary. During the day, visitors can see up to thousands of birds, including sooty terns and crested terns.

Situated on the western point of the Michaelmas Reef, Michaelmas Cay is a sandy cay. Underwater currents deposited shattered coral and shells on the reef, resulting in Michaelmas Cay.

As the Parrotfish eat their way through the reef, they break down the coral and excrete it as sand.

After a while, seabirds left salt-resistant grasses and creeping vine seeds behind. With periodic washing up of sand, this flora helped stabilise Michaelmas Sand Cay as a visible island.

Since time immemorial, migrating seabirds have made a beeline for this sanctuary cay to rest and recuperate before continuing their epic voyage.

Michaelmas Cay’s vegetation resembles the Outer Barrier Reef’s sand cays. Beach spinifex, stalky grass, goat’s foot, bull’s head vine, sea purslane, and tar vine are some of the plants found on Michaelmas Cay.

Seabird carcasses and droppings are a source of nutrients for the vegetation due to a lack of adequate and stable ground formation.


Along the way, enjoy a morning tea with muffins and focaccia as we cruise to the Great Barrier Reef.

While we are sailing to Michaelmas Cay, there is an informative marine biologist presentation.

Ocean Spirits beach buggy is available for transfers between the sand cay and the boat throughout the day.

Michaelmas Cay sailing tour features snorkelling in shallow waters and stunning coral gardens. During the day, visitors can stay dry on a semi-submersible tour.   While you are visiting, you can also try an introductory scuba dive and a marine biologist snorkel tour.


  • Fish feeding presentation
  • Snorkelling
  • Semi-submersible coral viewing tour
  • Introductory scuba diving.

Alternatively, relax on the spacious sun decks and enjoy  Michaelmas Cay’s beach.

During the day, guests enjoy a 5-star buffet lunch and reef activities.

After four hours at Michaelmas Cay, afternoon tea onboard enjoys a tropical fruit platter and cake of the day.

Next, depart the return voyage to Cairns.  Guests are invited to enjoy a complimentary glass of sparkling wine, cheese and crackers.

Then arrive at the Cairns marina at 17:00.

Next, which Great Barrier Reef tour suits you best.



  • Michaelmas Cay
  • 20,0000 nesting Sea birds


Michaelmas Cay Sailing tour Itinerary

  • 07:30 – Check-in at Ocean Spirit’s counter in the Reef Fleet Terminal
  • 08:00 – Next board the vessel and enjoy  Morning tea.
  • After that, it’s time to get underway!
  • 08:30 – Then Depart Cairns
  • 09:00 – Reef Brief, safety, and snorkel demonstration
  • 09:30 – Marine Biologist with slide show presentation
  • 10:00 – Dive brief for introductory divers
  • 10:30 – Arrive at Michaelmas Cay.
  • Reef activities commence
  • Fish feeding presentation
  • Snorkelling and reef briefing
  • Semi-submersible coral viewing tour
  • Introductory scuba diving. (Dive sessions are 11:00am, 12:15pm and 1:30pm)
  • Noon – Buffet lunch
  • 13:00 – Reef activities
  • 14:30 – Afternoon Tea
  • 15:30 – Commence sailing back to Cairns. Enjoy complimentary sparkling wine along with cheese and crackers.
  • 17:00 – Arrive back in Cairns


 This Michaelmas Cay Sailing tour includes:

– Return Ocean Spirit cruise from Cairns
– Experience 4 hours at Michaelmas Cay and Michaelmas Reef.
– Morning tea with muffins and focaccia
– Afternoon tea with tropical fruit platter and cake of the day.
– Hot and cold buffet lunch, including fresh prawns.
– Snorkelling equipment and lycra suits.
– Buoyancy vests.
– Marine Biologist presentation.
– Air-conditioned semi-submersible coral viewing tour with commentary.
– Fish feeding presentation on arrival.
– Glass of complimentary sparkling wine on the homeward journey, with cheese and crackers.

Optional Extras

Add some extra activities to your day

  • Guided snorkel tour
  • Introductory scuba diving
  • Professional photos

What to bring

  • Hat and shirt for sun protection.
  • Reef friendly sunscreen
  • Swimwear and towel.
    Cash or credit card for onboard purchases.
    Transfers (Optional):

How to get there

This Michaelmas Cay sailing tour departs from the Marlin Marina in Cairns.

Visitors are required to first check-in at the Reef Fleet Terminal, 1 Spence Street, Cairns.

Important Information

Safety Comes First!

Our mission is to provide our passengers with the best Great Barrier Reef experience.

All Great Barrier Reef operators must comply with the  Queensland Government Recreational diving and snorkelling code of practice.

We recommend that our passengers complete our dive medical questionnaire.  Some medical conditions, age, and medications may prevent you from scuba diving.

We are happy to help you with any questions you may have.   Please contact our office on 07 4037 2700 or email us at [email protected]

Or you may like to consult your Doctor for a Dive Medical using the Australian Standard Forms ‘AS.4005.1

Flying after Scuba Diving

Do not fly or go to altitude for at least 18 hours after a scuba dive.

Do not fly for 24 hours after your last dive for multiple dives.

If Skydiving or Hot Air Ballooning, you must wait 24 hours after scuba diving.
We recommend waiting a minimum of 24 hours whenever possible.



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