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Dive Review of Mike Ball Dive Expeditions/SpoilSport in

Mike Ball Dive Expeditions/SpoilSport: "Great Barrier Reef is great", Feb, 2017,

by Duane Kromm, CA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 10051 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Good:
Safety. Best dive briefings ever. Every day a detailed description of he reef, conditions and expected critters. Divers were self grouped, with gentle guidance by staff.
Freedom. Experienced divers could choose guide or not. Time lines were generous. Many afternoons were open diving on your own schedule, just sign out, and bak in.
Conditions. We skipped Coral Sea initially due to weather, instead on GBR. First passage was a bit rough, but nobody suffered terribly. All dive sites were in excellent shape, the big bommies were particularly fabulous. We would drop to 80' or so then gradually ascend by spiraling our way around the bommies. Dive staff would position themselves near hard to spot unique critters.
Gear. Everyone had a permanent spot on the dive deck. Tanks were promptly filled after every dive with no need to take anything apart. Nitrox sniffers were abundant. Staff was always there to help if needed.
Staff. Everybody on board is a diver, from captain to chef. Everyone one of them was always looking to help. Staff had a lot of camaraderie which kept everyone's spirits up.
Critters. Wobegone shark, banded sea snake, lots of sharks, particularly shark feeding dive, cod hole has lots of big ones, leafy scorpion-fish, big rays, stone fish, pipe fish, lots of good stuff every dive.

Fair. Rooms and food. It is a dive boat, small rooms, everything gets a bit musty after a bit. Rooms are made up everyday. Food is OK, always very edible but nothing really stands out. Service was great.

Logistics. We flew into Cairns from Tasmania. Spent one night at a forgettable hotel, looked around Cairns which is fine for a day or so. Flights in AU are easy, decent prices, good schedules and the best airport experience possible; the Aussie easy going attitude.

Mike Ball offers three and six day trips, with a transfer at Lizard Island for folks on the three day trips. We did all six. Most just did three.

Spent three days in Port Arthur, North of Cairns, at the Peppertree. Highly recommended location and lodging. Port Arthur is low key and right next to the Daintree Rain Forest. Well worth a few days exploring. Easy to rent a car in Cairns for the lovely drive. Go bird watching with a guide.

Value. Would we go again, yes. Mike Ball and his staff deliver a great experience.
Websites Mike Ball Dive Expeditions   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Bonaire, Belize, Cozumel, Grand Turk, Key Largo, Bahamas, Sea of Cortez, Philippines, Galapagos, Cuba, Great Barrier Reef
Closest Airport Cairns, AU Getting There Easy within Australia

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy
Water Temp 80-°F / 27-°C Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 40-60 Ft/ 12-18 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters N/A Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 2 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 Good bench, use of computer in lounge. Rinse tanks, tips from on board pro. Regular relaxed competition of favorite photos.
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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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