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Dive Review of Mike Ball Spoilsport in
Australia/GBR - Coral Sea

Mike Ball Spoilsport: "Good trip to add to a to a vacation in Australia", Jul, 2015,

by Debbie Pasich, CA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 8312.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We did the Mike Ball Coral Sea 4 night/fly expedition and found the operation very well run with a staff that was accommodating and for the most part friendly and seemingly happy with their jobs. The SpoilSport was well laid out and even with a "full house" there was ample space on the dive deck and communal areas for everyone. Meal and dive times were set and unless altered by water or weather conditions, occurred at their scheduled times. A Continental breakfast was available starting at 6:30 am with a full breakfast shortly thereafter. Lunch was around noon and dinner around 7:30 or 8 pm. Coffee, tea and water were always available as were cookies and a bowl of whole fruit. Sodas and adult beverages were available for purchase at a somewhat reasonable price. Dinner includes a glass of wine. Overall the meals were really good with a nice variety. Desserts were yummy and the soups served at lunch were great!

The 4 night expedition has just 3 full days of diving and depending upon weather conditions will take one of two routes. Our trip took us to the Holmes, Bougainville and Osprey Reefs in the Coral Sea. You miss Cod Hole with this "fair weather" route. We've done a fair bit of diving over the years and both of us feel that Holmes Reef should be taken off the itinerary or they need a new mooring. A fair amount of the coral on the 2 dive sites we dove on this reef were mostly rubble. Lots of fish but healthy corals were lacking. Bougainville and Osprey had nicer dive sites but definitely not the pristine diving we were hoping for. Some dive sites had specific dive times and others had an open dive deck allowing you to dive when you wanted. They always had someone available if you found yourself in need of a buddy. Nitrox is available with a $25 per day fee. The fish life was abundant on all dive sites but the reef was hit and miss. On any given dive some areas were beautiful while other areas were pretty beat up. We saw reef sharks on most dives. We also saw a few moray eels and a couple nice sized grouper and potato cod. A school of 1000's of small barracuda was a treat. During our trip other divers reported seeing one manta ray and a hammerhead shark. We saw a bunch of giant clam but none of them very large. Spoilsport conducts a shark feed dive that is very well planned and perfectly executed. The sharks are attracted by a long popsicle comprised of frozen tuna heads and the dive site is a perfect naturally formed amphitheater for the event. It took the sharks (gray, white tip and black tip reef sharks) less than two minutes to tear apart the popsicle at which point you can hunt for any shark teeth that may have come out during the feeding. Water conditions on this trip were such that we were given the opportunity for just one night dive as the boat needed to get underway for our nightly travel to the next reef area. Most of the diving was done from the main vessel but a couple sites were accessed by using the tenders. They set every diver up with a safety sausage and GPS and are very clear during briefings where NOT to go on the dive. They do not want to lose divers! In a nutshell, we really liked the boat and dive operation but were somewhat disappointed with the diving. We did this expedition as part of a longer trip to Australia and are glad we did but I would not travel to Australia specifically to dive the Great Barrier reef or Coral Sea. PS - the low level flight over the GBR from Lizard Island back to Cairns was great fun!
Websites Mike Ball Spoilsport   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Fiji, Palau, Belize, Roatan, Cozumel, Bonaire, Cayman Islands (all 3), San Diego
Closest Airport Cairns Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas choppy
Water Temp 71-72°F / 22-22°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60-120 Ft/ 18-37 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions They wanted you back to the boat with 850 PSI but did not really enforce it. They were very diligent about checking limits set by your computer (especially for NITROX use) and logging actual dive times and depths. Each diver was required to sign their log sheets after each and every dive.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments There is a large area on the dive deck and rinse tanks set up solely for cameras. Opportunities for terrific fish photography and a couple dive sites had really nice corals and coral formations. 3 star rating because each dive site had areas where the coral was pretty beat up.
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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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