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

Mike Ball Spoilsport, Feb, 2007,

by Tom & Lynn Hayes, FL, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 9 reports). Report 3220.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Carribean
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather windy, rainy Seas choppy, surge, noCurrents
Water Temp 80 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Very few- Dive per your certification and come up at 500 PSI, although most dives were not divemaster led unless requested.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments We did not do UWP, but those who did were very complimentary about the setup, and an onboard course in UWP was offered, along with camera renatl and training.

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 4 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was our first liveabord after putting in nearly 200 dives around the Carribean. Unfortunately, our trip coincided with the development of two tropical storms, one of which developed into Cyclone Nelson. The net result was the inability to dive a number of sites due to rough water, and only about 16 dives for the week. That said, however, we were very please with the dive experience on the Spoilsport.

The cabins were very nice, and everyone seemed pleased with the A/C and amenities. We paid a little extra for a larger cabin, and were pleasantly surprised at the size and condition. We experienced none of the problems with dripping condensation mentioned in previous reports, but it appeared they had installed drip trays to prevent the problem. Also, they encouraged us to keep the units running all of the time, to keep humidity down.

The food was a pleasant surpise, boh in quality and quantity. We had more than enough to eat, snacks and coffee were always available, and wine was provided with meals. Quality and variety were wonderful, particularly under the sea conditions. We had two barbecue nights which included shrimp, steak and checiken cooked on the back deck. There was always plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Diving was good under the storm conditions, and we could only imagine how good it could be under ideal conditions. Fish life was abundant in size and variety, and the coral/sponges were spectacular. More fish life and sharks than we were used to seeing in the Carribean. Currents were minimal, with some surge on the shallower dives. Most dives were unguided, unless requested. The staff were only too eager to jump in if requested, and were very good at finding the unusual stuff. Profiles and maximum depths were recommended, but not strictly enforced.

Dive briefings were thorough, but sometimes a little repetitive. Great care was taken to sign each diver out and in so there was no chance of leaving somebody in the water. Staff were extremely helpful in getting in and out of the water, often jumping in to assist anyone needing help re-boarding in the rough water. On deck showers and freshly dried towels were available after each dive.

Photographers were treated very well, both in training and facilities, and on-board classes were offered. The staff photographer made DVD's of the weeks dives (for sale) which were very nice mementoes of the trip. The photo contest among the divers yielded some great pics of fish and coral life.

We got in only 16 dives for the week, which was far less than the norm for this trip. The literature was very clear that there would be no refunds due to weather, but Mike Ball surprised everyone by providing a 50% discount on a future trip- just one more example of what a good operation this is.

Many people told us that the Mike Ball operation was the best there is, and we found no reason to doubt that recommendation. Everytime we asked for something it was cheerfully provided, and staff went out of their way to make sure everyone had a good time.
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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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