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Dive Review of Mike Ball/Spoilsport in

February, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Randall Stephen Preissig, TX, US
Sr. Contributor   (29 reports, with 2 Helpful votes)
Report Number 4678
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Red Sea, Sipidan, Palau, Galapagos, Cocos, Carribean, Fiji, PNG, Truk,
Hawaii, Tahiti, etc.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
76   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
20   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox limits, o/w "sport diving" 130 ft.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 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  
Everything needed--separate wash tanks and tables, charging slots, computer
for digital use, excellent photo pro with classes, photo shows and contests
and a great attitude.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
4 stars   
5 stars    
Almost 1,000 dives and I finally made it to the Great Barrier Reef and
Coral Sea.  When I boarded and found out there were 26 divers
onboard(YIKES!)and 13 diving crewmembers, I was concerned.  (It can
accomadate 28 quests)  I was pleasantly surprised at the extremely
efficient operation and rarely felt crowded--on the boat or in the water. 
Mike Ball has moved its operations North to Cairns to be at the less
harmed(by global warming)parts of the reef.  I was happy to find the
quality and quantity of life on most dive sites was excellent . 
Cuttlefish, leaf fish, mating octipii(!!), sea snake, schools of baitfish
to jacks, giant clams, shark feeding(well done), huge cod, etc--Pacific
diving at its best. Some currents--GREAT!--that brings in the big stuff!
Food was plentiful, often, and good.  The crew were exceptional--I think
Peter Hughes and Aggressor could take a few "tips" from these
Aussies. Speaking of tips, one low-key sentence about "how to tip if
you wish to" was all we got--a welcome relief from the often
high-pressure spiel we get on other live aboards nowadays.  Richard was the
best "program director" I've ever had. The engineer tried
heroicly to fix my flooded dive light. 26 dives were offered in 6 days of
diving including 4 "evening" dives at dusk. Dive guides were
available on every dive, often two. With the Aussie dollar at 65 cents, the
trip was quite a bargain at $1700US.  I won't wait 30 more years to dive
here again! Undercurrent hints: 1. Book direct at and cut out
the middle man--they may surprise you with a cabin upgrade(we got one),
free nitrox, cheap air reservations, etc. 2. Remember: Nov. thru April is
the rainy season!  Expect some bad weather at these times.  A cyclone hit
the day after we disembarked.
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All Australia Dive Reviews and Reports
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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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