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Dive Review of Mike Ball Dive Expeditions (Spoilsport) in
Australia/Coral Sea & GBR

Mike Ball Dive Expeditions (Spoilsport), May, 2003,

by Richard J. Troberman, WA, USA (Contributor Contributor 12 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 485.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Hawaii; Bahamas; Turks & Caicos; Cayman Islands; French Polynesia; St. Vincent.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas choppy, surge
Water Temp 77 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 130 feet
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Mike Ball Dive Expeditions (Spoilsport) is a first class dive operation. The crew did everything possible to accommodate the divers, and to meet every need. The level of service was superb. Surprisingly, however, the dives were not led by a divemaster. Once the boat arrived at a dive site, a crewman usually went into the water to check currents and other conditions. This was followed by a thorough dive briefing. The dive deck was then open for diving for a specified length of time, and you could do as many dives in that time as your computer would allow, depending on depth and bottom time. This was a very efficient and enjoyable way of diving, and even though there were 26 divers on board, there was plenty of space to accommadate everyone, and everyone managed to keep out of everybody else's way. A guide was available if requested. Divers were asked not to go below 130 feet; to do two safety stops (30 feet for 2 minutes and 15 feet for 3-5 minutes); and to return with 500 PSI. There is a hanging bar at 15 feet and 2 lines at 30 feet. The week before my trip, the weather was bad, and the boat was unable to dive the wreck of the S.S. Yongala. Consequently, we went there first in order to make sure we could dive the wreck. The Yongala (300 feet plus) sank in a cyclone in 1911 and is a world-class wreck dive. It rests on its side at about 90 feet. No pentration is allowed (per Australian government). It is thoroughly covered with corals, and resembles a reef dive. Because there is nothing else around for miles, it is thick with marine life of all shapes and sizes, including sea snakes and some groupers weighing over 500 pounds. At night, squadrons of marbled rays patrol the site, often covered by 3 or 4 smaller rays, stacked like pancakes. I saw up to 15 rays at a time. Other sites in the Coral Sea included bommies and walls, some with caves and swim throughs. Many were frequented by spectacular lionfish and cuttlefish, as well as the usual array of reef fish. Unfortunatley, there was evidence of coral bleaching at several of the sites, but even at those sites the diving was enjoyable. The only disappointment was the lack of very many sharks. Saw only a few white tips, grays, and a few silvertips. On the other hand, Scuba Zoo (shark feed) was a bit hokey and way too long. Steve, the chef, did a fantastic job preparing meals. The food was excellent and plentiful. Spoilsport is a very well run boat in every respect.
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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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