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Dive Review of MIke Ball in
Australia/Great Barrier Reef

May, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Lori Pottinger, CA, USA
Reviewer   (5 reports)
Report Number 4827
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
51-100 dives
Where else diving
Cozumel, Fiji, Hawaii, Bonaire, Florida Keys
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, rainy  
Water Temp
79   to 81    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Come back w/ 750 psi. If you have an alcoholic drink, that's it for diving
for you for that day (BRAVO Mike for the strict rule!)  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
dedicated area for gear set up. Computer to download pix. 
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
4 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars    
5 stars   
4 stars    
The good: Truly amazing, professional, friendly staff who were all really
dedicated to making our experience the best they could (including office
staff). Comfy boat, very good food (tho served buffet style, which meant
some things disappeared before everyone could have some). Good choice of
dive sites. Excellent safety standards and protocols, and especially great
system on night dive, which made even a first-timer in our party very
comfortable about jumping in in the dark. Even on a short (4 nights, 3
diving days) trip, staff managed to squeeze in an informative naturalist
presentation, a photo contest, a BBC ocean documentary, and a very fun
end-of-trip party!

The highlight was probably the very well organized night dive. I wish I'd
gone on both instead of just one! The 20 or so participants were divided
into teams, with a team leader, and all were given  a specific color glow
stick so you could easily find your group. (the leader had two of that
color.) And of course everyone had a flashlight ("torch"). This
system made even a new diver in our group confident to try a night dive,
and what a dive it was--huge crabs, a big resting puffer fish, free
swimming eels, schools of hunting trevally, giant basket star, a
feather-mouthed sea cucumber,tons of hunting small critters, etc. 

The bad: Billed as a "Fly-dive Coral Sea," rough seas meant we
never made it to the Coral Sea, with its deep walls and more exciting
sites. (It must be said that I totally respect the Captain's judgement on
this, and am glad we did not have to endure a dangerous and rough passage
to get to better diving!) Although Mike Ball (and most other operators)
note that they may charge an extra fuel surcharge w/o warning, maybe there
could be some kind of (small) rebate when fuel savings are large due to a
change in destination. On the other hand, this would probably open a can of
worms that no operator would want to touch! And while it was a
disappointment not to reach the Coral Sea, perhaps that's just the breaks
when one chooses one of the windier months to travel! (The captain told us
that Sept. is a better, predictably flat time of year.) 

We would definitely travel w/ Mike Ball again. 
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Other dive reports on Mike Ball Dive Expeditions

All Australia Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Australia
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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