The Mike Ball Difference
Since starting the first dive school in Far North Queensland in 1969, Mike Ball has continually strived to provide the best service for divers. Over our many decades of experience we have continually improved and refined our services and we believe we offer the best dive liveaboard in the region.
We only go to the best dive sites
All of our diving is conducted more than 100 miles away from Cairns, either out in the Coral Sea or on the Ribbon Reefs of the Great Barrier Reef. The Ribbon Reefs sit right on the edge of the Continental Shelf, bringing in an upwelling of nutrient rich water that attracts large fish populations and diverse coral species. We have a range of excellent sites to choose from and select the best to dive on any particular day based on weather conditions.
Spoilsport – Custom built for diving
Spoilsport’s twin hulled design provides optimum stability for a more comfortable ride, plus maximum space for guest comfort and privacy. There is a spacious sun deck for relaxation, and a large dive deck with three dedicated camera stations and freshwater showers on the lower entry/exit platform.
Our safe diving protocols cater for divers of all abilities, providing guidance underwater for those who need it and allowing greater freedom for those who don’t. Our ‘open dive deck’ and solo diving policies mean there are no restrictions on bottom time. During our ‘open dive deck’ sessions, divers have the freedom to choose when and how long they dive for, giving every dive a relaxed feel.
Safety is of utmost importance to us. Our policies and procedures are constantly being developed and meticulously reviewed to ensure safe diving for our guests and crew. We have even pioneered many safety procedures that have since been widely adopted across the industry as best practice. Safety drills are performed on every expedition to keep crew skills up to speed, and training and professional development is undertaken with all crew members. Our Vessel Spoilsport is maintained in accordance with regulations set out by the governing body Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA); which includes annual inspections by appointed surveyors to ensure the highest levels of vessel safety are maintained.
Many of our team have been with us for a long time. Our operations manager Craig Stephen has been with us for over 15 years and handpicks every new crew member we employ. The result is a crew dedicated to ensuring guests enjoy the best possible experience.
Best for Photographers
Spoilsport has two dedicated camera stations for photographers. Underwater cameras are available for rental and we offer a complimentary underwater photography workshop to get divers started. For those who want to develop their skills further, our onboard photo/video pro can teach PADI photography and video courses.
On each expedition we run a photography competition, the winners will have their images displayed on our website as part of our ‘Reef Reports’ and the best photo of the year will earn the photographer a free trip with Mike Ball Dive Expeditions!
Our photo/video pro prepares a fantastic trip DVD and a CD of photos for those interested in purchasing a record of their expedition.
If you are really wanting to get more bottom time bring your rebreather. At the time of writing we are the only liveaboard on the Great Barrier Reef with qualified rebreather supervisors.
See the Reef from above as well as below
Our ‘Fly Dive’ itineraries include a low level scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef between Cairns and Lizard Island. This flight takes a specially designed route along the continental shelf adjacent to the Ribbon Reefs where you have a birds eye view of the dive sites, plus views of Endeavour Reef (where Captain Cook ran aground) and the Emily (a shipwreck sitting on top of the reef).