7 Night Ultimate Minke Whale Expedition

2017 Departure dates: 8 June | 15 June | 22 June | 29 June | 6 July.
2018 Departure dates: 7 June | 14 June | 21 June | 28 June | 5 July | 12 July.

7 Nights / 22 Dives.  An expedition dedicated to maximising your in-water interactions at the world’s only known minke whale aggregation sites, whilst enjoying the diverse marine life of the Ribbon Reefs.  Sites where minkes are most often seen may be visited several times.

*Combining our 4 night Fly Dive Minke expedition back to back with our 3 night Fly Dive Minke expedition. Please note that since the boat departs and returns directly to Cairns, there is no flight between Lizard Island and Cairns included in this itinerary.

  • Minkes – Dedicated time to find and swim with the whales
  • Continental Shelf – Dive 100 miles north of Cairns on the edge of the shelf, exposed to currents
  • Ribbon Reefs – great fish and coral diversity
  • Cod Hole – Swim with diver size potato cod
  • Dynamite Pass, Lighthouse Bommie, Pixie Wall, Pixie Pinnacle, Coral Kingdom, Flare Point, Blue Lagoon, Gotham City, Vertical Gardens
  • Steve’s Bommie – a highlight with an incredible array of weird and wonderful creatures.
  • Lizard Island – enjoy an hour or two exploring beautiful Lizard Island – white sand beaches and a short hike to Chinaman’s Ridge.



Minke Whale Expeditions

A unique opportunity to get face to face with these amazing creatures, and learn more about their biology and behaviour from the research volunteers on board.  You may also choose to participate in this research by assisting with behaviour monitoring and other projects.

 

The Ribbon Reefs

The most prized dive region of Great Barrier Reef, this stretch of reef from Lizard Island to Cooktown is also where the minke whales migrate each year to breed and calve. Nutrient rich waters from the Continental Shelf attract abundant fish and coral species.

Gotham City

A sloping reef, rich with hard and soft corals and reef fish. Minke Whales are sometimes spotted here.   This site makes a very exciting night dive with congregations of hunting fish such as sharks and trevally.

Lighthouse Bommie

This is one of the best places to see dwarf minke whales but it’s also an excellent dive site in its own right with one large pinnacle attracting tonnes of marine life including sharks, rays, turtles and reef fish, olive sea snakes, stonefish and other critters.

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.

The Cod Hole

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

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.

Steve’s Bommie

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.

Success Rate

Since commencing Minke Whale Expeditions in 1996 we have had a 98% success rate. The largest pod seen was 28 whales, the longest encounter was 10 hours. Every day has a high probability of dwarf minke encounters.

If we are not able to locate whales at our reliable sites, up to two hours at a time is spent searching for whales further afield. If none are sighted, we will dive as many of the Ribbon Reef sites as possible.

Itineraries are subject to change, specific marine life cannot be guaranteed.

Photo Credits: Vanessa Mignon, Catherine Travers, Brandon Cole and Mike Ball.

7 NIGHT EXPEDITION: June - July 2017
CabinPrices
Premium$5523
Standard$5024
Club$4345
Budget$3704

Courses
ItemCost
Openwater Referral (PADI)$245
Openwater Referral (non-PADI)$350
PADI Scuba Diver Upgrade$350
PADI Open Water Diver (3 Night Expeditions only)$395
PADI Advanced Diver$215
PADI Nitrox$325 or $200 Referral (incl 3 days free fills). NB referral is from shop (not elearning).
PADI Discover Scuba (Resort)1 free per day (conditions apply). Not available during Minke Season.
PADI Underwater Photography$250
PADI Underwater Naturalist$220
SDI Easy Nitrox$275 (incl 3 days free fills)
SDI Solo Diver$220
Photo Services
ItemCost
Camera Rentals & Extras
Canon G16$60/day
USB Stick - 16GB$15
Holiday Video & Photos
Standard Holiday Trip - DVD$80
Purchase of Second DVD$40
Personalized Holiday Trip - DVD$250 (Max 4 people)
Personal Holiday Photographs$100
Photo CD$50
Purchase of second photo CD$25
Hire Gear
ItemCost
Reg, Ocy, Gauges$15/day
BCD$10/day
Computer$12/day
Snorkel Gear$5/day
Light/Torch/Cyalume$10/day
Wetsuit$10/day
Safety Sausage (SMB)$10/trip
Cyalume Light Stick$2/each
Nautilus Lifeline GPSNo 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$75 for the 3 or 4 night/ $150 for a week
Extra Charges
ItemCost
Reef Tax$6.50/day
Sole OccupancyBerth cost + 70%
Fuel Levy - Standard Expeditions$0 (subject to change)
Fuel Levy - 7 Night Northern Reef Exploratories$44/pp (subject to change)
Yongala Environment Charge$13.55/day
Personal Dive Guides$250/day (+ berth cost for guide) or $50/dive.
Nitrox FillsSee below
Hire GearSee below
CoursesSee below
Photo ServicesSee below
Special Catering Admin Fee$30/trip
Bar and Ship Shop PurchasesVariable
Hire Gear - Sizes
ItemCost
BCDAqualung Wave x5 sizes.
FinsTechnisub Stratos (full foot) x6 sizes. We recommend wearing sturdy or neoprene socks with full foot fins.
Wetsuits5mm full length steamer. 6 male and 6 female sizes. Includes 3mm hood.
Discounts
ItemCost
Non-diver10% (not applicable on Minke Whale expeditions)
Non-diving child (8-15 years)25%
VIP5%
Global Shark Diving5% (must quote card number)
Airline Staff5%
Military5%
Dive Industry Staff$200.00
Agents / Media / ResearchersVariable discounts offered
Discounts are only accepted at time of booking and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Proof of employment is required.

Fitting extra small and extra large people can be difficult. Please bring your own equipment if concerned about fit. View Sizes chart

Itinerary

Sample itinerary, subject to change based on conditions.

Thursday:  

  • Check in at our 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:  (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

Saturday:  (4 dives + night dive)

  • As per above

Sunday: (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.

Monday:  (2 dives + night dive)

  • 7.00 am:  Light breakfast
  • 8:00 am:  Bid farewell to passengers doing the 4 night 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.  Champagne 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

Tuesday: (4 dives + night dive)

  • 6.30 am: Wake up call, light breakfast available in dining room
  • 7:00 am: Dive brief & diving commences
  • 9.00 am: Cooked breakfast
  • 10.30am: Dive briefing & 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

Wednesday: (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

Thursday:

  • 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.

Important:

  • We recommend that you allow 24 hours between your last dive and your onward flight (all diving is finished by 5pm Wednesday).
Summary
Minkes and Best Biodiversity
Experience
Snorkelers, novice & advanced divers
Embark
Thursday 6pm – Trinity Wharf, Cairns.
(Check-in before 4pm at the Mike Ball office).
Disembark
Thursday 8am - Trinity Wharf, Cairns
Reef ReportsLatest from SpoilsportClick here »Latest OffersDiscover our latest offersClick here »Check AvailabilityWhen can I diveClick here »Contact UsSecure your spotClick here »

More Information

Compare ExpeditionsWhich expedition best suits you!Click here to read »