Diving the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef, with Optional Land Based Adventure
Australia is known as "The Land Down Under," "Oz," and "The Great Southern Land" for its vast resources from the Great Barrier Reef to the Outback. A full adventure awaits with the antics of Crocodile Dundee, The Great Barrier Reef with its crystal clear waters, the mountainous high desert of The Outback with wallabies bouncing about, and The Rainforest with its mystical secrets.
Join us for world class scuba diving of The Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea on Australia's most awarded liveaboard, Spoilsport. Leading the way in the Australian dive industry since 1969, Mike Ball Dive Expeditions will provide the opportunity to enjoy some of the most spectacular biodiversity Australia has to offer. We will visit the world famous Cod Hole, enjoy exciting big fish action, shark encounters and excellent visibility.
Our 7-night liveaboard expedition begins on Wednesday November 1, 2018 in Cairns and includes 6 days of diving, a single night stay at The Pullman Cairns International Hotel the night before boat departure (we recommend arriving a day before to allow time for any unforeseen issues), airport and boat transfers, daily cabin service, all meals, and much more…
Want to spend more time in Australia visiting Sydney, exploring The Outback, immersing yourself in a tropical rainforest, and experiencing local culture? We are offering an additional adventure package that will include a 4-night stay in Cairns before we board the Spoilsport, and an additional 3-night stay in Sydney after we depart Cairns. Hotel accommodations, activity fees, and transportation fees will all be included.
Come join us for a real down under adventure!!
Spoilsport 8-Night Liveaboard Adventure
Mike Ball and the Spoilsport liveaboard is where our adventure begins. Mike has been a leader in the Australian dive industry since 1969, and has been the name sought out by both divers and experts alike. Mike has spent his career working to both protect these world class dive sites, as well as, expose and educate divers from across the globe.
The Spoilsport is Australia’s most awarded liveaboard dive boat. It has a twin hull design which maximizes stability and passenger comfort in all conditions (this design helps to minimize the symptoms of seasickness). Take time to relax in the spacious lounge/bar inside, or head up to the sun deck to enjoy and beautiful ocean view. Also, the award-winning food and service caters to all dietary restrictions.
Our trip includes 6 days of diving, during which we will be visiting some of the best dive sites that the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea has to offer. Our first stop is Bougainville Reef. Click on the link below to view a map of the dive sites and the route the boat will be taking. Unfortunately, we will not be able to visit all of the dive sites, but highlighted below are the details of many of them we hope to visit pending weather conditions permit.
Bougainville Reef: dive sites are close together so travel time from one site to the next is a mere surface interval away.
MV Antonio Tarabocchia is the remains of a cargo ship that struck that the Reef in 1961. The scattered remains include a huge engine block and propeller which now lie on the gentle sloping terraces of the reef. The clear water, strewn wreckage and abundant fish life, including resident potato cod, make fantastic diving.
Bougainville dive sites are close together so the travel time from one site to the next is a mere breakfast/surface interval away.
Crystal Plateau, the top of the reef top descends to a spectacular terrace of hard corals at 20-30m before edging over into an abyss hundreds of meter’s deep. Sea fans and soft corals adorn the reef wall where sharks also patrol.
If that isn’t enough to whet your appetite, Dungeons and Dragons surly will.
Dungeons and Dragons, reef top here is cut with an incredible maze of caves, tunnels and swim trough’s – 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. We will finish off the first day of diving with a night dive.
The dive site will depend on conditions at the time. With dive day one in the books, we will then head slightly North West for Osprey Reef. The Spoilsport will steam during the night gently rocking you to sleep. By morning the ship will be dropping anchor at Osprey Reef. First of four dives of the day diving the Coral Sea.
False Entrance. This site never disappoints with exciting fish action alongside colorful 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.
Now I don’t know about you, but a hammerhead sighting while diving is on my bucket list. Now time to settle in after dive day number two.
Admiralty Anchor, 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.
Finally, we run the short distance to the final reef of the day North Horn.
North Horn welcome to shark central! Watch a controlled shark feed with 10-30 grey reef, white-tip reef, silver tip sharks. Keen photographers will have the opportunity to do a private shark shoot dive with limited numbers of divers, ensuring fantastic, clean and up close photos.
Setting sail once again as we settle in having another first class meal the ship heads West to day three, once again she sails at night allowing us to fall asleep to the gentle rocking of the boat. Our destination is
Tijou / Cat Reef These two reefs, are exciting wall dives that are buzzing with barracuda, rays, sharks and turtles and covered with fans and whips. The coral here will amaze too with Pussy Galore being especially beautiful. Explore the walls around Catcher’s Mitt, cut with gullies and full of fish and hard corals. We will be doing four dives plus a night dive on these exciting walls. After which we will pull anchor and head our way south overnight.
We will be doing four dives plus a night dive on these exciting walls. After a full day of diving we are starting to work our way south. We will steam overnight landing at TMO (Three Mile Opening), Mamba #5, and Aladin’s Cave. Tijou Reef
TMO (Three Mile Opening) Day four we will be spending the first part of the day exploring the stunning coral gardens and alleyways created by a field of bommies. There is a huge variety of hard corals plus tons of fish life including bump headed parrotfish, eagle rays, sharks, turtles and other reef fish.
Mamba #5 Beaming with life and abundant coral gardens similar to Three Mile Opening, the dives include a huge variety of hard corals plus tons of fish life including bump headed parrotfish, eagle rays, sharks, turtles and other reef fish.
Wow what a fantastic day of diving, now to top it off a great meal, a few exotic beverages and a great night’s sleep while the Spoilsport heads South to Cod Hole. We wake up to day 5 of our mind blowing diving vacation. We will be diving 4 dives and 1-night dive today.
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 characters or a simply hang out and enjoy their company.
After a short steam we will find ourselves at Pixie Pinnacle.
Pixie Pinnacle. Pixie Pinnacle is 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.
Day 6 Cracker Jack, Clam Beds and Steve’s Bommie. All three are part of the Ribbon reef system.
Cracker Jack reef 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.
I expect you'll be happier than a clam at a clam bake when you dive the giant clam beds. Now that's a lot of clam chowder!
Clam Beds - Great Barrier Reef Hard coral gardens spread along the reef slope from 20m to 5m, dotted with giant clams that grow to over a meter in length and weigh over 200kg. Vibrantly colored mantles make for fantastic photo opportunities and an abundant fish population adds to the magic.
Rounding out our trip and our final dive (boo) is an area known for its diverse marine life.
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.
We've spent 6 fantastic days diving some of the worlds finest dive sites. With every dive we hope you've experienced something so special you won't be able to resist going on your next dive.
FES FIRST WEEK Mike Balls Spoilsport Package October 31, 2018 - November 08, 2018 Includes:
- Trip escorted by Fisheye Scuba.
- Unique FES trip souvenir.
- Pre and Post trip parties.
- Land transfers.
- 1 night stay at the Hotel Cairns shared room
- 7 nights on board Mike Balls Spoilsport, rooms vary depending on the package you chose.
- All meals on board (Day of arrival and boarding day no meals are included)
- Tea and coffee are available throughout the day.
- Complimentary wine or soft drink is provided with evening meals.
- Spoilsport has a licenced bar. Personal alcohol is not permitted onboard. Current Bar Menu w/Prices here
- Six (6) days of diving, number of dives per day are outlined in the Itineary section.
- Tanks, air fills and weight belt
- Daily cabin service
- Reef ecology program
- Dive computer workshop
- Transfer to the airport or Cairns hotel after your expedition
- Vivid Pix digital photo editing software workshop
- Fuel Levy
Please note that the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority requires us to collect an Environmental Management Charge of $6.50 per day spent on the Great Barrier Reef. This amount will be added to your bar bill at the end of your expedition.
Itinerary, subject to change based on conditions.
Wednesday: Oct. 31
- Arrive midday and check into the hotel (included in the trip price) Spend the afternoon exploring Cairns on your own or with the group. Dinner is on you. But there some really great restaurants in town to choose from. All are within walking distance from the hotel.
Thursday: Nov. 1
- Check in at Mike Balls office (3 Abbott St, Cairns) between 8.30 am and 4.00 pm.
- From 4.00 pm: Make your own way to Mondos Café, Bar & Grill (200m from MBDE 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: Our crew will lead you from Mondos 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.
Friday: Nov. 2 (4 dives + night dive, Remote Coral Sea)
Where: Bougainville: Dungeons & Dragons; Crystal Plateau; MV Antonio Tarabocchia.
Below is a “typical day” however exact times may vary.
- 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
Saturday: Nov. 3 (4 dives, Remote Coral Sea)
Where: Osprey: Admiralty; False Entrance; North Horn.
Sunday: Nov. 4 (4 dives + night dive, Far Northern Reefs)
Where: Tijou & Cat Reef: Catchers Mitt; Pussy Galore.
Monday: Nov. 5 (4 dives + night dive, Far Northern Reefs)
Where: TMO (Three Mile Opening); Mambo#5; Aladins Cave.
Tuesday: Nov. 6 (4 dives + night dive, Ribbon Reefs)
Where: Cod Hole; Pixie Pinnacle; Gotham City.
Wednesday: Nov.7 (4 dives, Ribbon Reefs)
Where: Cracker Jack; Clam Beds; Steve’s Bommie.
- As the sun sets we pour the champagne, lay out the nibbles and get ready for a final farewell party!
- Overnight cruise to Cairns
Thursday: Nov. 8
- 7.00 am: Light breakfast
- 8:00 am: Disembark and courtesy transfer to Cairns inner city hotels, the airport or our office where we can store your luggage until 5pm if you have a later flight.
- If you are doing the add-on we will be flying to Sidney for the second leg of the add-on. Please see the add-on itinerary for details.
We have four cabin rates available:
Budget Cabin $3,500 pp dbl oc
For the Budget minded person who doesn't mind sharing the bath with 3 others this room is perfect. The room has a dresser and space under the bed for additional storage. The room has air conditioning to keep you nice and cool in the evenings. Keep in mind there is plenty of room for you, your roommate and your personal stuff. After all, just how much time are you going to be in the room anyway? Looking at the typical Itinerary you can see there is not a whole lot of time being spent in your room. You can see the room configuration and where the shared bath is through the boat layout link. Rooms are sold on a first come first served basis, so get your deposit in and be the one to select your room.
Club Cabin $4,126 pp dbl oc
I’ve actually stayed in one of the club rooms, there are over and under bunks like to picture shows, a dresser for clothes and a full bath. The room has air conditioning to keep you nice and cool in the evenings. This is an inside cabin; therefore, it doesn’t have a window. You can see the room configuration at the boat layout link. Rooms are sold on a first come first served basis, so get your deposit in and be the one to select your room.
Standard Cabin $4,666 pp dbl oc
There are two twin beds like to picture shows, a dresser for clothes and a full bath. The room has air conditioning to keep you nice and cool in the evenings. This is an outside cabin; therefore, it’s a room with a view. As you can see in the photo the windows run almost the full length of the wall. You can see the room configuration at the boat layout link. Rooms are sold on a first come first served basis, so get your deposit in and be the one to select your room.
Premium Cabin $5,136 pp dbl oc
Look at this room, there are either a double bed or a queen bed in the room. There is a dresser for clothes, night stands and a full bath. The bath is huge for a boat anyway. The room has air conditioning to keep you nice and cool in the evenings. This is an outside cabin; therefore, it’s a room with a view. As you can see in the photo the window runs about half way down the wall. You can see the room configuration at the boat layout link. Rooms are sold on a first come first served basis, so get your deposit in and be the one to select your room.
Room Configuration Link
Dive Site Map Link
Visit the Vessel Information page Link
Sample menu link
Current Bar Menu Prices
Optional Adventure Add-on 8 Days 7 Nights $1,675 pp dbl oc
Week two places us in the heart of the city of Cairns. Considered the gateway to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, is a city in tropical Far North Queensland. Cairns, is renowned for its relaxed, tropical climate and laid back ambience. Loaded with every kind of restaurant and bars imaginable, Cairns has something for everyone.
We begin our adventure when we check in to The Pullman Cairns International Hotel. After the long flight from the USA, the day is spent relaxing by the pool or exploring (on your own). We wake up early, and head out on our first adventure.
Australian Outback, About 1.5hrs from Cairns you hit the fringes of the vast Outback. Famous for its wide open spaces, blue skies and red earth, there is plenty to explore here including rugged ranges, underground lava tubes and wildlife. Visit for one or two days, or even longer.
Tjapukai Cultural Park, Gain a deeper understanding of Australia’s diverse Aboriginal heritage with a visit to Tjapukai. Get involved with interactive demonstrations of bush foods & medicine, spear and boomerang throwing, didgeridoo playing or sit back and watch a theatrical cultural show.
Kuranda Scenic Railway, Hop aboard this historic train on a slow and winding route through the rainforest from Cairns to Kuranda. The journey passes spectacular waterfalls and the stunning Barron Gorge.
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway,An immersive experience where you’ll see, hear, smell and become part of the tropical rainforest environment. Glide above the canopy in comfortable six-person gondola cabins over a line 7.5km long with two rainforest stops along the way.
FES Land based Activities exploring Cairns and Sidney Oct. 28 - Nov. 01: Nov. 08 - Nov 11, 2018 Includes:
- Trip escorted by FISHEYE SCUBA.
- Unique FES trip souvenir.
- Pre and Post trip parties.
- Land transfers.
- 4 nights hotel accommodations at the Pullman Cairns International Hotel, 3 nights Sidney hotel. All rooms are shared occupancy. Single supplement is available.
- Skyrail Rainforest Cableway (Cairns)
- Kuranda Scenic Railway (Cairns)
- Australian Outback (Cairns)
- TBD Sidney Event....
- TBD Sidney Event...
Itinerary, subject to change based on conditions.
Sunday: Oct. 28
- Arrive midday and check into the hotel (included in the trip price) Spend the afternoon exploring Cairns on your own or with the group. Dinner is on you.
Monday: Oct. 29
Tuesday: Oct. 30
- Spend the day exploring Cairns, shopping etc.
- Evening we the evening at the Tjapukai Cultural Park
Wednesday: Oct. 31
- Kuranda Scenic Railway in the morning
- Skyrail Rainforest Cableway in the afternoon
Thursday: Nov. 8 (8:00am)
- Fly to Sidney
- Check into the hotel in Sidney and relax
Friday: Nov. 9
Saturday: Nov. 10
Sunday: Nov. 11
* NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT TO HOLD YOUR SPACE: $300.00
FES TRIP PAYMENT REQUIREMENTS: $300 initial deposit holds your spot until the next incremental payment is due. 1/4th of your FES trip package cost is due in to FES no later than Feb 01, 2018 and 1/2 is due March 1, 2018. 3/4 is due July 01, 2018 Final Balance due must be paid to FES no later than August 15, 2018. No refunds! Stateroom selection is on a first come first serve basis. Other than the what is listed above no other costs are included. FES will not be collecting payment for any other part of your trip. There are out-of-pocket fees, charges and tips.
FLIGHTS ARE AVAILABLE FOR THIS SWS PACKAGE. THE COST WILL BE POSTED AS SOON AS IT'S AVAILABLE. FLIGHTS ARE PER PERSON OR YOU ARE FREE TO BOOK YOUR OWN FLIGHT ITINERARY AND USE AIRLINE MILES IF YOU HAVE THEM. Flight estimate costs dependent on your choice of trip itinerary. Be sure to allow for international time change when making your flight reservations.
YOU MUST HAVE A PASSPORT VALID FOR AT LEAST SIX MONTHS FROM OUR RETURN DATE. U.S. Passport applications and information can be found on line at PASSPORT HOME
TRIP CANCELLATION POLICY:
If you must cancel, all deposit money is non-refundable unless we are able to fill your vacated space. If we are able to fill your vacated spot at the full purchase price, FES will credit your refund to an in-store account minus a per person $300 cancellation fee. If we are unable to fill your spot on the trip, all money paid toward the trip will be forfeited.
Note 1. YOU MUST HAVE A PASSPORT VALID FOR AT LEAST SIX MONTHS BEYOND YOUR RETURN DATE o travel to AUSTRALIA. U.S. Passport applications, renewal forms and information can be found on line at PASSPORT HOME The Australian Government requires you to have a VISA when traveling Australia. You can get the visa here: Get my visa link
Note 2: Every diver on this trip is required to have Diver Accident Insurance coverage. If you do not wish to join Divers Alert Network and purchase their Diver Accident Insurance, proof of another plan you have that covers you for an an out-of- the- country accident including medical flight evacuation back to the U.S. or to a better medical facility should that be required is acceptable.
Diver's Alert Network Divers Accident Insurance can be purchased on line by clicking this logo link:
NOTE 3: For peace of mind, FES strongly recommends you purchase additional trip cancellation/interruption coverage to help defray costs arising from unforeseen events. No one plans an emergency. But you can prepare for one. Carefully read any insurance policy before purchase to make sure it covers your specific needs. *Fisheye Scuba is NOT a seller of insurance. We are giving you information about insurance coverage as a service only.
NOTE 4: FES highly recommends purchase of this trip specific additional coverage. In the event you have to cancel, the additional trip insurance coverage could help you receive reimbursement for non-refundable deposits and costs should you have to cancel or interrupt your trip to come home for reasons not covered under the Diver Accident Insurance Coverage.
NOTE 5: Complimentary SPORTS TRIP PACKING LIST
NOTE 6: FES ACTS ONLY AS AN ORGANIZER AND EXPEDITER OF DIVE TRAVEL FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF OFFERING A SERVICE TO FES, INC. CUSTOMERS. FES DOES NOT SELL DIVER ACCIDENT INSURANCE NOR DO WE SELL TRIP CANCELLATION AND INTERRUPTION INSURANCE NOR ARE WE LICENSED TRAVEL AGENTS. WE SOLICIT THE ASSISTANCE OF LICENSED REPUTABLE TRAVEL AND INSURANCE AGENTS TO ASSIST US ON YOUR BEHALF.