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Dive Review of Mike Ball Spoilsport in
Australia/Barrier Reef/Coral Sea

February, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Tom & Lynn Hayes, FL, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (9 reports)
Report Number 3220
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

windy, rainy  
choppy, surge, noCurrents  
Water Temp
80   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 60    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Very few- Dive per your certification and come up at 500 PSI, although most
dives were not divemaster led unless requested.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
We did not do UWP, but those who did were very complimentary about the
setup, and an onboard course in UWP was offered, along with camera renatl
and training.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
5 stars    
This was our first liveabord after putting in nearly 200 dives around the
Carribean.  Unfortunately, our trip coincided with the development of two
tropical storms, one of which developed into Cyclone Nelson.  The net
result was the inability to dive a number of sites due to rough water, and
only about 16 dives for the week.  That said, however, we were very please
with the dive experience on the Spoilsport.

The cabins were very nice, and everyone seemed pleased with the A/C and
amenities.  We paid a little extra for a larger cabin, and were pleasantly
surprised at the size and condition.  We experienced none of the problems
with dripping condensation mentioned in previous reports, but it appeared
they had installed drip trays to prevent the problem.  Also, they
encouraged us to keep the units running all of the time, to keep humidity

The food was a pleasant surpise, boh in quality and quantity.  We had more
than enough to eat, snacks and coffee were always available, and wine was
provided with meals.  Quality and variety were wonderful, particularly
under the sea conditions. We had two barbecue nights which included shrimp,
steak and checiken cooked on the back deck.  There was always plenty of
fruits and vegetables.

Diving was good under the storm conditions, and we could only imagine how
good it could be under ideal conditions.  Fish life was abundant in size
and variety, and the coral/sponges were spectacular.  More fish life and
sharks than we were used to seeing in the Carribean.  Currents were
minimal, with some surge on the shallower dives.  Most dives were unguided,
unless requested.  The staff were only too eager to jump in if requested,
and were very good at finding the unusual stuff.  Profiles and maximum
depths were recommended, but not strictly enforced.

Dive briefings were thorough, but sometimes a little repetitive.  Great
care was taken to sign each diver out and in so there was no chance of
leaving somebody in the water.  Staff were extremely helpful in getting in
and out of the water, often jumping in to assist anyone needing help
re-boarding in the rough water.  On deck showers and freshly dried towels
were available after each dive.

Photographers were treated very well, both in training and facilities, and
on-board classes were offered.  The staff photographer made DVD's of the
weeks dives (for sale) which were very nice mementoes of the trip.  The
photo contest among the divers yielded some great pics of fish and coral

We got in only 16 dives for the week, which was far less than the norm for
this trip.  The literature was very clear that there would be no refunds
due to weather, but Mike Ball surprised everyone by providing a 50%
discount on a future trip- just one more example of what a good operation
this is.

Many people told us that the Mike Ball operation was the best there is, and
we found no reason to doubt that recommendation.  Everytime we asked for
something it was cheerfully provided, and staff went out of their way to
make sure everyone had a good time.
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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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