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Dive Review of Mike Ball in
Australia/Townsville - Coral Sea

October, 2003, an Instant Reader Report by Gary Krippendorf, CA, USA
Contributor   (14 reports)
Report Number 1411
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Cayman Brac, Dominica, Cozumel, Roatan, Sea of Cortez, Hawaii, Australia
(GBR), and PNG 
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, choppy  
Water Temp
77   to 79    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
20   to 200    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
First dive of the day needed to be the deepest. The maximum depth and total
dive time were recorded after each dive. Divers were allowed to dive their
own computer profile  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Camera tables on dive deck including compressed air. On-board processing
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
4 stars    
We boarded the Spoilsport in the evening in the Townsville harbor for the 6
night Coral Sea Expedition trip. The overnight trip out to the first dive
sites was very rough. Even those of us on prescription seasickness
medications and using motion sickness wrist straps became quite ill. Our
first dive was at 10 am that next morning. As we were anchored, the seas
were okay and most people were feeling better after breakfast.

Wade was the Trip Director and made sure everyone understood the daily
schedules, the systems used on the dive deck and in the water, and asked
for feedback. He and the crew did an excellent job at ensuring we all had a
safe and enjoyable trip.

The water was usually smooth at the sites and we either dove off the back
of the boat or had 5-10 minute rides in the rubber duck boats to the dive
site. Before each dive wed get a briefing for the site, which described
the lay of the land, so to speak, and listed the types of sea life known to
be in the area. The first 2 days of diving were at the Great Barrier Reef.
Visibility was usually about 50 feet and corals and fish were abundant.
Once we reached the dive sites around Flinders Reef out in the Coral Sea
the visibility was significantly better, with some sites at 150 feet or
more. Our second dive at a site called Cod Wall had visibility that was
well over 200 feet. There were lots of giant clams in a variety of color
patterns, schools of fish and healthy corals.

We did a shark dive at a site called "Scuba Zoo."  They have 3
large cages set up in an open V shape on a sand bottom at a depth of 55
feet.  Divers are told to either lie motionless on top of the cages or wait
inside. At this point in time 20 or more sharks are already circling the
area, having been attracted by the noise from the boat. Wade, wearing a
cape (to mimic a superhero?) used a rope and pulley to raise and lower a
garbage can filled with fish parts positioned in the center of the V. After
about 35-40 minutes of watching the sharks swimming around the food can,
divers were signaled to enter the cages.  The can was opened, the sharks
went into a feeding frenzy for about a minute, than most swam off. Divers
exited the cages and did a short look for shark teeth on the sand before
returning to the boat. This is an interesting event, but the extensive time
spent watching the shaking food can became a bit boring after about 15-20

The next day we arrived at the Yongala wreck. We spent 1 1/2 days at the
wreck. The visibility varied between 10-15 feet on some dives up to 35-40
feet on others. The currents were quite strong, which lead the crew to
cancel the late afternoon dive and night dive on our first day there. To
get to the wreck you would pull yourself along a surface line from the boat
to the mooring buoy, than down a line to the bow of the wreck. Youd drift
with the current to the stern, ascend up the line to the stern mooring
buoy, than pull yourself back to the boat using the other surface line.
They had the rubber ducks on standby to go after anyone who needed
assistance. There were unending schools of fish, both small and large
constantly circling the 300 foot wreck.

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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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