General

Best bits:

  • Dive the world largest reef system
  • Combine the pelagics of the Coral Sea with the biodiversity of the Great Barrier Reef.
  • 2-3 shark attraction or feed dives with 100’s of reef sharks.
  • Dive the famous Ribbon Reefs with its human size Potato Cod
  • Have awesome pelagic encounters at the exciting Osprey Reef
  • Good chance of Sea Snake encounters
  • In season (June – July) there is the possibility of Minke Whale encounters
  • Stay aboard Australia’s most awarded liveaboard Spoilsport

The Adventure

One of the seven wonders of the natural world, the Great Barrier Reef is home to such an incredible amount of life and it has biodiversity of epic proportions! It is huge, comprising of over 3000 individual reef systems it can even be seen from space. Considered as a true bucket list dive trip, this location intrigues divers from all over the world who come to experience the world’s largest living organism.

On this 450 nautical mile adventure you will combine the Great Barrier Reef with its awesome biodiversity and the dramatic walls of the Coral Sea which is home to some epic pelagic marine animals. You will also get the opportunity to visit Lizard Island where you can step back in time at the ruins of Mrs Watsons Cottage; walk through the Pandanas mangrove swamp, on a boardwalk; a stroll up Chinamans Ridge yields magnificent views of the Island and reefs below.

In the Great Barrier Reef a highlight will be visiting the Ribbon Reefs where you can encounter Potato Cod the size of an adult human being, its safe to say they are not shy and will approach divers which makes some outstanding photographic opportunities. In season (June – July) and with some luck, there is a chance you could encounter Minke Whales. While you may hear them on dives an encounter with one of these beautiful creatures will stay with you forever, always keep an eye in the blue; especially on safety stops. As you visit all the best Great Barrier Reef diving spots you could encounter Sea Snakes, Bumphead Parrotfish, Reef Sharks, Turtles and even Mantas in season.

In the Coral Sea you will experience blue azure waters which are a playground for Sharks and big fish action. You will visit the famous Osprey Reef where you will see large amounts of Reef Sharks and the possibility of other pelagics such as Mantas, Hammerheads and Silvertip Sharks. During your time in the Coral Sea we aim to do 2-3 shark attraction or shark feed dives, this will allow you get near enough to admire these amazing creatures, from the glint of their silver sandpaper skin to the ampullae on their snouts, and be able to look right into their eyes as they swim past.

Throughout your adventure you’ll be aboard Australia’s most awarded liveaboard; Spoilsport, she is run and managed by Mike Ball Dive Expeditions. She provides superb dive facilities and outstanding hospitality that will make you feel very comfortable. She has a twin hull design which maximises stability and passenger comfort in all conditions. Measuring 30m in length, Spoilsport has a dedicated crew of 12 people including the dive team, Master, chef and host. You can relax in the spacious lounge/bar inside or head up to the sun deck and enjoy the view over the Coral Sea. She accommodates a maximum of 28 guests over 14 cabins that are all serviced daily and have air conditioning. This vessel it an absolutely awesome way to experience the best the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea have to offer!

Travelling by yourself? No problem!

We can place you in a standard cabin where you will share with someone of the same sex. In some cases, a single supplement can be paid to guarantee a cabin to yourself!

This adventure includes:

  • Transfers from Mike Ball Dive Centre to your vessel
  • Transfer to Cairns airport or inner city hotels at the end of your adventure
  • Accommodation aboard your vessel
  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner daily
  • 24/7 access to drinking water, tea & coffee
  • Snacks
  • DVD & book library
  • Towels (cabin & dive)
  • Diving (including tanks & weights)

Requirements

  • PADI Open Advanced Water qualification or equivalent
  • 30+ dives logged and be comfortable with drift dives.
  • Diving insurance such as DAN or equivalent

Non-Divers

Non-divers are very welcome and this vessel is the perfect place to relax, unwind as cruise through your days.

Australia

AustraliaOne of the seven wonders of the natural world, the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea is home to such an incredible amount of life and it has biodiversity of epic proportions! It is huge, comprising of over 3000 individual reef systems it can even be seen from space. Considered as a true bucket list Read more

Blacktip Reef Shark

Blacktip Reef SharkThe blacktip reef shark gets its name from the prominent black tips on its fins. These sharks are relatively common on tropical Indo-Pacific coral reefs in shallow, coastal waters. At the surface, it’s easy to spot their exposed first dorsal fins. They can grow to be about 7 feet, but a blacktip’s average length is Read more

Manta Ray

Manta RayManta, proportionally, the largest brain of any fish, and we truly believe that you can see evidence of this when you look into their eyes during a close up ‘moment’ with these creatures. There are two species of Manta which differ in appearance and preferred habitat, they are the Giant Oceanic Manta and Reef Manta. Read more

Minke Whale

Minke WhaleThe Minke Whale is the most abundant species of baleen whale, with an estimated 750,000 individuals in the oceans. Living up to 60 years old, they can grow up to 8 meters in length and weigh several ton’s. Minke Whales have white and grey markings on their sides which makes it possible to identify different Read more

Olive Sea Snake

Olive Sea SnakeA true Sea Snake, the Olive Sea Snake gets its name after its olive coloured skin. While this species of sea snake spends its whole life in the ocean it still must come to the surface to breath air. While they can grow to over 2m, they are most commonly found at 2m in length. Read more

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark

Scalloped Hammerhead SharkNamed after their iconic hammer-shaped upper body, hammerhead sharks are one of the most famous shark species in the world. Hammerheads can grow to reach the impressive length of four metres. The eyes are found on either side of the shark’s head, giving it an impressive view of its surroundings, which is useful for spotting Read more

Silvertip Shark

Silvertip SharkFound in the tropical Indo-Pacific Oceans the Silvertip Shark is given its name due to the white tips and borders on all its fins. They are a large shark and dark grey, sometimes bronze-tinged from above and white below. They grow to a maximum length of around 3 meters. Silvertips are often confused with the Read more

Whitetip Reef Shark

Whitetip Reef SharkWhitetip reef sharks are a commonly spotted shark whilst diving reefs. They usually are not bothered by the presence of scuba divers so you can tend to get quite close as they rest on the bottom or in their caves. This allows for excellent photographic opportunities. They are most active at night and in some Read more

Other notable marine life in the Great Barrier Reef & Coral Sea

Other notable marine life in the Great Barrier Reef & Coral SeaOther Shark species Other shark species can be seen in this area, notable species that if you are lucky can be encountered is the Whale Shark, Silky Shark, Great Hammerhead & Tiger Shark. Potato Cod The Great Barrier Reef is home to diver-sized potato cod. These fish are incredibly inquisitive and don’t mind getting very Read more

Itinerary & Sites

On this 450 nautical mile adventure you will combine the Great Barrier Reef with its awesome biodiversity and the dramatic walls of the Coral Sea which is home to some epic pelagic marine animals. You will also get the opportunity to visit Lizard Island where you can step back in time at the ruins of Mrs Watsons Cottage; walk through the Pandanas mangrove swamp, on a boardwalk; a stroll up Chinamans Ridge yields magnificent views of the Island and reefs below.

Below is a sample itinerary you could expect on this adventure:

Day 1

  • Check in at the Mike Ball Expeditions office (3 Abbott St, Cairns) between 8:30 am and 4:00 pm.
  • From 4:30 pm: Meet at Hemingway’s Brewery Cairns Wharf which is only 200m from office to meet your fellow passengers. Please note that
  • dinner is not provided on the first evening so you may wish to eat before boarding.
  • 5:50 pm: The crew will lead you from Hemingway’s Brewery Cairns Wharf to board Spoilsport. Enjoy a glass of champagne and light snacks while
  • your Trip Director provides a full briefing.
  • 6:00 pm: Spoilsport departs Cairns.
  • Time to organise any rental equipment and put your dive gear together on the dive deck.

Day 2 (4 dives + night dive)

This is a sample of a ‘typical day’, however exact times may vary to optimise the prevailing weather conditions on the day.

  • 6:30 am: Wake up call, light breakfast available in dining room
  • 7:00 am: Dive brief & diving commences
  • 9:00 am: Full cooked Breakfast
  • 10:30 am: Dive brief & diving. “Open decks” accommodate 1-2 dives either am or pm
  • 2:00 pm: Lunch
  • 3:30 pm: Dive brief & diving
  • 4:30 pm: Afternoon Tea
  • 6:30 pm: Night dive brief & dive
  • 8:00 pm: Dinner

Day 3 (4 dives + night dive)

  • As per above.

Day 4 (4 dives)

  • As per above, however all diving is finished by 5pm. Spoilsport moors off Lizard Island for the evening.
  • As the sun sets we pour the champagne, lay out the nibbles and get ready for an Aussie BBQ party night. Don’t forget to wear your loudest tropical shirt or dress and sing along to music played by our talented crew.

Day 5 (2 dives + night dive)

  • 7:00 am: Light breakfast
  • 8:00 am: Bid farewell to passengers doing the 4 night Fly Dive Coral Sea Expedition who will disembark here.
  • 8:00 am: Stay onboard or take a tender over to Lizard Island to stretch your legs and explore a little of this beautiful island.
  • 11:00 am: New passengers join us here. Drinks and light snacks provided.
  • 12:45 pm: Dive brief and dive
  • 2:00 pm: Lunch
  • 3:45 pm: Dive brief and dive
  • 4:45 pm: Afternoon tea
  • 6:00 pm: Dive brief and night dive
  • 8:00 pm: Dinner

Day 6 (4 dives + night dive)

  • As per typical day, above.

Day 7 (4 dives)

  • As per above. Exit last dive 5pm.
  • As the sun sets we pour the champagne, lay out the nibbles and get ready for a final farewell party!
  • Overnight cruise to Cairns

Day 8

  • 7:00 am: Light breakfast
  • 8:00 am: Disembark and courtesy transfer to Cairns inner city hotels, the airport or the office where we can store your luggage until 5pm if you
  • have a later flight.

Some of the awesome dive sites we aim to go to on this itinerary include:

Nonki Bommie - Holmes Reef - Coral Sea

Soft coral and sea fan enthusiasts will love this dive. Nonki Bommie rises to the surface from 35 metres and it is split with a huge crack down the middle filled with giant yellow and orange sea fans. Sharks and other fish are attracted to the site, making for an exciting dive.

Amazing - Holmes Reef - Coral Sea

A maze of bommies create tunnels and swim throughs, great to explore. The site provides a great habitat for fish as well as creatures such as octopus, cuttlefish and rock lobster, plus it’s a hotspot for grey reef and silvertip sharks which patrol the shallow reef wall.

Crystal Plateau - Bougainville Reef - Coral Sea

The reef top descends to a spectacular terrace of hard corals at 20-30m before edging over into an abyss hundreds of metres deep. Sea fans and soft corals adorn the reef wall where sharks also patrol.

Dungeons & Dragons - Bougainville Reef - Coral Sea

The reef top here is cut with an incredible maze of caves, tunnels and swim throughs – great to poke around to discover fish and other critters. Or venture beyond the shallows to a wall descending to around 1000m, where you can find sharks and barracuda.

Admiralty Anchor - Osprey Reef - Coral Sea

Named after an anchor lodged midway through a tunnel that makes for an exciting swim through. A maze of huge towering bommies are home to plenty of fish and a delight to explore. Below them a sheer wall attracts sharks and occasionally manta rays.

North Horn - Osprey Reef - Coral Sea

Welcome to shark central! Watch a controlled shark feed with 10-30 grey reef, white-tip reef, silver tip sharks.

False Entrance - Osprey Reef - Coral Sea

This site never disappoints with exciting fish action alongside colourful gorgonian fans, whips and soft corals. Resident barracuda and schooling big eye trevally make for great photo opportunities and keep an eye out for cruising hammerheads out in the blue.

Lizard Island

Mid-expedition we moor off Lizard Island, saying goodbye to some guests and welcoming new ones. You will have a few hours to relax on the beach, go for a swim or climb the hill to Chinaman’s Ridge for a view. One of our crew members will show you around.

Cod Hole - Ribbon Reefs - Great Barrier Reef

The Cod Hole is famous for its diver-sized potato cod. These fish are incredibly inquisitive and don’t mind getting very chummy with divers. A great opportunity to capture photographs of these magnificent characters or a simply hang out and enjoy their company.

Pixie Pinnacle - Ribbon Reefs – GBR

An exciting pinnacle dive draped in soft corals and absolutely heaving with fish life. Spiral your way up the pinnacle and search for interesting critters such as the flame file clam, or ‘disco clam’, named for the flashing light that appears to pulse along its mantle.

Coral Kingdom - Ribbon Reefs – GBR

A fantastic coral dive with vast beds of staghorn and other varieties, and dotted with colourful giant clams. Bump headed parrotfish and inquisitive barracuda cruise the site along with schools of other reef fish.

Steve’s Bommie - Ribbon Reefs - GBR

Steve’s Bommie is a photographers dream with an incredible quantity of diverse marine life. Hunt out such creatures as stonefish, scorpionfish, octopus, clown anemone fish and turtles, not to mention the many schools of fish that call this place home.

As divers we know that safety comes first, we also know dives can be affected due to factors outside of our control, such as poor weather and sea conditions. All effort will be made for all diving activities to take place, however if weather, sea conditions or any other circumstances out of Adventure Dive Travel or our suppliers control can mean some diving activities have to be cancelled. If dives are missed, we will attempt if possible to reschedule the dive within the remaining time on your trip, however this is not always possible and therefore it is not guaranteed.

Dive Info

The aim of this adventure is to give you varied dives to experience the best that the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea have to offer. Below we have put together a set of questions and answers that explain what to expect from diving on this adventure.

How much experience do I need?

You need to be qualified to Advanced Open Water (or equivalent) and have completed a minimum of 30 dives. Divers who have completed less than 5 dives in the last 12 months are required to complete a complimentary onboard orientation dive. In addition, divers over 65 years old, who have completed less than 50 dives are required to complete the complimentary onboard orientation dive.

When is the Coral Spawning?

Coral Spawning normally takes place when the water temperature is approximately 27 degrees, between the 2nd and 6th day after the November full moon. Warmer than median temperatures can cause the date to coincide with an earlier full moon, cooler conditions can cause spawning to coincide with a later full moon.

What is the weather & diving conditions like?

These are changeable depending on the time of year, please see below. We recommend a 3mm full wetsuit in the warmer months (Nov – Feb) and a 5mm full wetsuit in the cooler months (Mar – Oct). Minimum requirement when diving – wrist to knee coverage.

Is decompression diving allowed?

Decompression diving is not permitted on standard expeditions without prior arrangement.

What are the maximum diving depths?

Depth guidelines are based on the diver’s experience and industry standards. The maximum recommended depth for divers with appropriate experience is 40 meters (132ft).

How are dive sites selected?

Dive site selection is based on the best dive sites available. Less experienced divers receive complimentary ‘site orientations’ as necessary, while experienced divers are given the freedom to plan their own dives.

Are dives guided?

It is not this suppliers policy for all dives to be divemaster led. We provide complimentary orientation dives to enhance skills; a scheduled morning & afternoon guided group dive and the opportunity to dive with our staff on an ad hoc basis. Dive site briefs include maps with topography, depths, currents and marine life. This service does not provide continuous personal or group guided dives, however Private Dive Guides can be booked.

Do I need dive insurance?

YES. Dive and evacuation insurance is 100% mandatory.

How are dive sites reached?

Most of our dives are from the main vessel while moored over the dive site. Each vessel has two rigid inflatables for use when conditions require, including drift and night dives. The inflatables are large and stable with substantial rear entry ladders.

Is Nitrox available?

Nitrox fills are EAN32 (32% oxygen) with a maximum 1.6bar PO2 at 40metres depth. Nitrox divers are required to dive with a nitrox computer. A complimentary computer workshop is offered to those hiring a computer. FREE nitrox fills during the expedition are included with the 3 day Nitrox course. If you already hold a Nitrox certification, fills are $25 per day.

Important information

Diving Equipment

  • Nautilus Lifeline – All divers are required to use a Nautilus Lifeline GPS (supplied free on loan).
  • Dive Cylinders –All are Air and Nitrox compatible; two thirds average 10.3 L and one third average 11.3L.
  • Large Dive Cylinders – We have 4 x 15L Nitrox & Din/Int valve compatible, steel tanks available for hire (AUD$25/day).
  • Cylinder Valves – Valves are compatible with both US yoke (UK A clamp) and European DIN style regulators.

Dive Insurance

Please note, it is mandatory that you have a dive specific insurance that covers evacuation. We strongly recommend that passengers have valid Divers Alert Network insurance to provide coverage in the event of an accident. This location is a very remote area and the cost involved in evacuating a diver is very high. The D.A.N. policy is a vital protection to have. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need assistance with obtaining dive insurance (at least one week prior to the trip).

As divers we know that safety comes first, we also know dives can be affected due to factors outside of our control, such as poor weather and sea conditions. All effort will be made for all diving activities to take place, however if weather, sea conditions or any other circumstances out of Adventure Dive Travel or our suppliers control can mean some diving activities have to be cancelled. If dives are missed, we will attempt if possible to reschedule the dive within the remaining time on your trip, however this is not always possible and therefore it is not guaranteed.

Liveaboard Info

Throughout your adventure you’ll be aboard Australia’s most awarded liveaboard; Spoilsport, she is run and managed by Mike Ball Dive Expeditions. She provides superb dive facilities and outstanding hospitality that will make you feel very comfortable. She has a twin hull design which maximises stability and passenger comfort in all conditions. Measuring 30m in length, Spoilsport has a dedicated crew of 12 people including the dive team, Master, chef and host. You can relax in the spacious lounge/bar inside or head up to the sun deck and enjoy the view over the Coral Sea. She accommodates a maximum of 28 guests over 14 cabins that are all serviced daily and have air conditioning. This vessel it an absolutely awesome way to experience the best the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea have to offer!

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Included in your price is a bed in a budget cabin, upgrades are available at very reasonable rates, please ask us for the price on your selected adventure.

Budget cabin

Bunk bed with air conditioning, bathroom and shower facilities are shared with the one other budget cabin.

Club cabin

The same as a budget cabin but with an ensuite private bathroom with shower facilities.

Standard cabin

Beautiful sea views, two single beds, air conditioning and with an ensuite private bathroom with shower facilities.

Premium cabin

Superior sea views, double bed, air conditioning and with an ensuite private bathroom with shower facilities.

Features & technical specifications

  • Passenger average 22 (max 28)
  • Crew 12 T
  • Twin hull’s reduce seasickness & maximise stability
  • 2 Large inflatables Daily cabin service
  • Air-conditioned accommodation
  • Lounge & bar, sundeck, alfresco deck
  • Music / DVD player, large screen TV x 2,
  • Daily cabin service
  • 4 x Premium -2 x queen, 2 x double with private bathroom and ocean view
  • 4 x Standard - twin beds with private bathroom and ocean view
  • 4 x Club - twin bunk beds, private bathroom
  • 2 x Budget - bunks beds, shared bathroom
  • Length - 30 m (100ft) Beam - 10.5m (35ft)
  • Range - 1930km (1200miles) survey - QLD 1B survey (29 pax) commissioned - 1989
  • Main engines x2
  • Generators x 2
  • Compressors x 2
  • Air-conditioning system x 2

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Rental Equipment

Hire Gear Price
Reg, Ocy, Gauges $15/day
BCD $10/day
Computer $12/day
Snorkel Gear $5/day
Light/Torch $10/day
Wetsuit $10/day
Safety Sausage (SMB) $10/trip
Nautilus Lifeline GPS No charge
All of the above $44/day
2L (13 cu.ft) Pony Bottle + Reg $15/day
15L (120 cu.ft) Steel Bottle $25/day
Nitrox Fills $150 for a week

Travelling by yourself? No problem!

We can place you in a cabin where you will share with another likeminded diver. In some cases, a single supplement can be paid to guarantee a cabin to yourself!

Non-Divers

Non-divers are welcome aboard too, it’s the perfect place to relax and unwind!

What’s Included

Included:

  • Transfers from Mike Ball Dive Centre to your vessel
  • Transfer to Cairns airport or inner-city hotels at the end of your adventure
  • Accommodation aboard your vessel
  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner daily
  • 24/7 access to drinking water, tea & coffee
  • Snacks
  • DVD & book library
  • Towels (cabin & dive)
  • Diving (including tanks & weights)

Not included:

  • Flights (please ask us for a quote!)
  • $6.50AUD reef tax per day (added to your onboard bill and paid onboard at the end of your adventure)
  • Transfer to Mike Ball Dive Expeditions office on arrival (we can arrange this for you)
  • Bar, gift shop, and rental purchases
  • Travel & Diving insurance (including medical evacuation cover)
  • Rental equipment
  • Crew gratuities
  • Any required visa's (go to https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice for information on visa's)
  • Any recommended vaccinations (go to http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk for information on vaccinations)

Dive Insurance

Please note, it is mandatory that you have a dive specific insurance that covers evacuation. We strongly recommend that passengers have valid Divers Alert Network insurance to provide coverage in the event of an accident. This location is a very remote area and the cost involved in evacuating a diver is very high. The D.A.N. policy is a vital protection to have. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need assistance with obtaining dive insurance (at least one week prior to the trip).

Travel Insurance

This is important and highly recommended but not mandatory. Travel insurance ensures you won’t have any stress or worries if something goes wrong whether it’s a cancelled flight or a medical emergency.

Crew gratuities

Tipping is accepted onboard; tips will be collected at the end of the trip.

Travel Info

Great news! We can arrange your flights too! Please ask for quote at time of booking and we will happily handle the arrangements.

As a responsible and reputable business, any flights you book with us will be ATOL protected so your money is safe, it’s always worth booking with the professionals.

If we are not arranging your flights, then please wait for us to confirm your booking before booking your own flights.

You adventure starts and finishes at Cairns in Queensland Australia. To get to Cairns you will need to fly to Cairns International Airport. From Europe CNS can be reached easily via many different routes depending on which of the many different airlines you use and this normally encompass one or two stops enroute.

If you want to arrive early for or stay after your adventure and do some sightseeing or relaxing, we can arrange a multitude of different tours and hotels for you. Please ask us at time of booking and we will happily share ideas and make all the arrangements.

On arrival to Cairns International Airport you can either catch a taxi to Mike Ball Dive Expeditions or we can arrange transport for you. It is only a short 8km from the airport so the cost of this will be low. You can check in at the Mike Ball Expeditions office (3 Abbott St, Cairns) between 8:30 am and 4:00 pm. At 4:30pm you will meet at Hemingway’s Brewery Cairns Wharf which is only 200m from office to meet your fellow passengers. Please note that dinner is not provided on the first evening so you may wish to eat before boarding. Then at 5:50 pm the crew will lead you from Hemingway’s Brewery Cairns Wharf to board Spoilsport. Enjoy a glass of champagne and light snacks while your Trip Director provides a full briefing. At 6pm the vessel will depart Cairns.

At the end of your adventure you arrive back into port during your final night aboard. At 8am after having breakfast you will disembark and then receive a courtesy transfer to Cairns inner city hotels, the airport or the office where we can store your luggage until 5pm if you have a later flight.

*We try to update flight guides as soon as possible but airlines can change their routings at any time, this is a guide only which is correct at the time of publishing.