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

Mike Ball, Nov, 2007,

by Tom & Lynn Hayes, FL, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 9 reports). Report 3739.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving All around Carribean, Australia, Florida
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 79 to 81 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Normal recommendations, but we were allowed to do our own thing.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Excellent facilities- plenty of space for setup and good rinse facilities. Computers available for downloads. Classes available, and weekly photo contest. Onboard photo staff provided (for a fee) a DVD of the entire trip.

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 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This trip was a repeat of a trip we took earlier in the year that was cut short due to the approach of two cyclones. We handled everything via e-mail directly with Mike Ball, including hotel reservation pre- and post trip. The staff was extremely helpful and even provided storage for some luggage prior to our trip.

All of the staff could not have been friendlier or more helpful. Tanks were refilled (inlcuding Nitrox) within 15 minutes of our dive, enabling multiple dives at each site. Dive briefing were very thorough, guides were offered but not required, and many unusual underwater critter locations were marked with lightsticks by the divemasters so no one would miss them. Warm towels were provided, and there was always plenty of hot water for showers. Snacks were always available, as was coffee/tea 24/7.

The food was very good, with a lot of variety and plenty of vegetarian options always included. A continental breakfast was available for the early risers followed by hot breakfast after the first dive. Soft drinks were provided free, and wine was served with dinner. The bar was ala carte, but well stocked.

We had a premium cabin, which was very spacious and airy for a dive boat. Two large windows eliminated any feeling of confinement. Plenty of drawer space, very good A/C and a very comfortable bed. There was daily "maid" service and fresh linens mid-week. Chocolates were placed on the pillow at the turn-down (the staff even arranged to meet another dive boat and replenish the chocolate supply when it ran low- a very nice touch)!

The diving was what we had hoped for, and we identified over 150 species that we had not seen in the Carribean. Visibility was not as good as it could have been at all of the sites, but always good enough to make for good diving. We experienced a few currents, and there were several divers that had to be picked up in the inflatables, but the boat had a great system for keeping track of the divers and always having observers on the top deck and an inflatable in the water.

This was our second trip on this boat, and it mirrored the first trip (except for better weather this time), which says a lot for their standards and quality control.
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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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