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Dive Review of Mike Ball Spoilsport in
Australia/Great Barrier Reef

Mike Ball Spoilsport, Jul, 2011,

by Amber and Brett Freliche, CA, US ( 2 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 6286.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 51-100 dives
Where else diving California, French Polynesia and Tonga
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy
Water Temp 72 to 75 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 70 to 90 Feet

Dive Policy

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

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Our plan was to snorkel with Dwarf Minke Whales and Mike Ball Spoil Sport made it possible! Mike Ball's staff was extremely helpful right from the beginning when booking our reservation for the 3 night fly/dive trip. It was great to finally meet Dorothy when we arrived at the Mike Ball office on Monday morning before our flight to Lizard Island. Mike Ball has a well organized operation. We were fortunate to meet him when we returned to the office to pick up some other luggage we had them hold at their office during our trip.
From the Mike Ball office, the group was transferred by vans to the airport where we boarded 1 of 3 planes. Ours was the smallest holding 6 passengers. The weather was perfect and our flight over the Great Barrier Reef was beautiful. We saw several dive sites that we would be diving at in the upcoming days.
When we arrived at Lizard Island, Mike Ball's photographer took pictures of all the guests. That was just the beginning of their system in place for safety. The crew met us on the beach and transferred us by zodiac onto Spoil Sport. The staterooms were clean and comfortable. Ours included a large dresser, double bed, and en suite bathroom with a shower.
On the dive deck each of the guests had their own space with a corresponding number for the dive gear. We set up our gear and after each dive the tanks were filled while in their space so you didn't need to remove the BCD from the tank after each dive. Each guest had a towel above the tank with a matching number which they would dry after your dives to be ready for the next. There were bins underneath the bench for your fins, mask, booties, water bottle, etc. The crew checked each BCD for a safety sausage and provided one if a diver did not have one already. Further regarding safety, a crew member would check off each diver or snorkeler as you were entering the water; once you exited the water and came back on board you would tell the crew member your dive time and depth which they would write down. Then, after drying off each diver/snorkeler would need to initial next to their name confirming the information and that they were back on board. The captain would not motor to the next dive site until all signatures were on the clipboard. The photos taken of the guests on arrival were in the dining area. The crew learned our names quickly making it feel like you have known them longer than just a day or two.
The first day we were diving at Challenger Bay and then went to Lighthouse Bommie to snorkel with the Dwarf Minke Whales. We encountered Dwarf Minke Whales at each of the locations the captain expected them to be. We saw two during our first snorkel with 3 dolphins swimming past deeper in the water. The whales appeared curious and it was incredible to look into the whales' eyes. The whales would tilt to the side and it appeared they were looking at us. Mike Ball had two ropes with bouys off the back of the boat which we would hold on to while staying at the surface and remaining as still as possible as the whales swam by; some came within about 5 to 10 feet. We were in the water with the whales at every opportunity which was a lot. After a dive, you could go on the snorkel line. We also saw some whales during our dives such as during our safety stop. One day, we saw 4 whales at once while on the snorkel line. The whales would swim past and stay around for a long time making multiple passes. During our last afternoon, there were only 3 of us on the snorkel line and one whale kept swimming by closely and would turn to look up at us. Finally we were called back to the boat due to the time, my husband and the whale researcher were kicking back a little faster. I was swimming slower since the whale came back. The whale swam next to me all the way back to the boat. It was hard getting back on the boat when the whale was still right there. Some of the guests and crew were able to see the whale swimming near the surface while I was swimming back to the boat. It was so exciting!
The combination of the encounters with the whales and diving was amazing. The dive sites we dove were Challenger Bay, Cod Hole, Lighthouse Bommie, Steve's Bommie, and Flare Point. At each of the dive sites, we saw healthy reefs flourishing with large schools of fish and there was no enticing them with food which was even better. Some of the highlights of the marine life at the sites included: mantis shrimp, barramundi, feather stars, olive sea snakes, large potato cod, large clams, batfish, various nudibranchs, a wobbegong shark, large schools of yellow snapper, and the list goes on. The diving experience level of the guests varied and some guests only snorkeled.
The water temperature ranged from 72 degrees to 75 degrees. I opted to wear a 5mm shortie over my polartec dive skin and my husband wore a 5mm shortie.
An unforgettable vacation!

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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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