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Dive Review of Mike Ball Spoilsport in
Australia/Great Barrier Reef

July, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Amber and Brett Freliche, CA, US (2 reports)
Report Number 6286
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
51-100 dives
Where else diving
California, French Polynesia and Tonga
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
72   to 75    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
70   to 90    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
4 stars   
5 stars    
Our plan was to snorkel with Dwarf Minke Whales and Mike Ball Spoil Sport
made it possible!   Mike Ball's staff was extremely helpful right from the
beginning when booking our reservation for the 3 night fly/dive trip.  It
was great to finally meet Dorothy when we arrived at the Mike Ball office
on Monday morning before our flight to Lizard Island.  Mike Ball has a well
organized operation.  We were fortunate to meet him when we returned to the
office to pick up some other luggage we had them hold at their office
during our trip.
  From the Mike Ball office, the group was transferred by vans to the
airport where we boarded 1 of 3 planes.  Ours was the smallest holding 6
passengers.   The weather was perfect and our flight over the Great Barrier
Reef was beautiful.  We saw several dive sites that we would be diving at
in the upcoming days.
  When we arrived at Lizard Island, Mike Ball's photographer took pictures
of all the guests.   That was just the beginning of their system in place
for safety.  The crew met us on the beach and transferred us by zodiac onto
Spoil Sport.  The staterooms were clean and comfortable.  Ours included a
large dresser, double bed,  and en suite bathroom with a shower.   
   On the dive deck each of the guests had their own space with a
corresponding number for the dive gear.  We set up our gear and after each
dive the tanks were filled while in their space so you didn't need to
remove the BCD from the tank after each dive.  Each guest had a towel above
the tank with a matching number which they would dry after your dives to be
ready for the next.  There were bins underneath the bench for your fins,
mask, booties,  water bottle,  etc.   The crew checked each BCD for a
safety sausage and provided one if a diver did not have one already.  
Further regarding safety, a crew member would check off each diver or
snorkeler as you were entering the water; once you exited the water and
came back on board you would tell the crew member your dive time and depth
which they would write down.  Then, after drying off each diver/snorkeler
would need to initial next to their name confirming the information and
that they were back on board.  The captain would not motor to the next dive
site until all signatures were on the clipboard.   The photos taken of the
guests on arrival were in the dining area.  The crew learned our names
quickly making it feel like you have known them longer than just a day or
  The first day we were diving at Challenger Bay and then went to
Lighthouse Bommie to snorkel with the Dwarf Minke Whales.  We encountered
Dwarf Minke Whales at each of the locations the captain expected them to
be.   We saw two during our first snorkel with 3 dolphins swimming past
deeper in the water.  The whales appeared curious and it was incredible to
look into the whales' eyes.  The whales would tilt to the side and it
appeared they were looking at us.  Mike Ball had two ropes with bouys off
the back of the boat which we would hold on to while staying at the surface
and remaining as still as possible as the whales swam by; some came within
about 5 to 10 feet.  We were in the water with the whales at every
opportunity which was a lot.   After a dive, you could go on the snorkel
line.  We also saw some whales during our dives such as during our safety
stop.  One day, we saw 4 whales at once while on the snorkel line.  The
whales would swim past and stay around for a long time making multiple
passes.   During our last afternoon,  there were only 3 of us on the
snorkel line and one whale kept swimming by closely and would turn to look
up at us.  Finally we were called back to the boat due to the time, my
husband and the whale researcher were kicking back a little faster.  I was
swimming slower since the whale came back.  The whale swam next to me all
the way back to the boat.  It was hard getting back on the boat when the
whale was still right there.  Some of the guests and crew were able to see
the whale swimming near the surface while I was swimming back to the boat. 
It was so exciting!
  The combination of the encounters with the whales and diving was amazing.
 The dive sites we dove were Challenger Bay, Cod Hole, Lighthouse Bommie,
Steve's Bommie, and Flare Point.  At each of the dive sites, we saw healthy
reefs flourishing with large schools of fish and there was no enticing them
with food which was even better.   Some of the highlights of the marine
life at the sites included:  mantis shrimp, barramundi, feather stars, 
olive sea snakes, large potato cod,  large clams,  batfish, various
nudibranchs, a wobbegong shark, large schools of yellow snapper, and the
list goes on.  The diving experience level of the guests varied and some
guests only snorkeled.  
     The water temperature ranged from 72 degrees to 75 degrees.  I opted
to wear a 5mm shortie over my polartec dive skin and my husband wore a 5mm
    An unforgettable vacation!  

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Other dive reports on Mike Ball Dive Expeditions

All Australia Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Australia
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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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