My Dive with Mike Ball Competition

Want to tell the world about your expedition or experience ”Diving with Mike” in 250 words or less with an exceptional photo?
Mike Ball Dive Expeditions is giving you the chance to win the following prizes.

1 x $3000 MBDE Dive Dollars
2 x $1000 MBDE Dive Dollars
5 x T-shirts

Here’s how to Enter:
Describe the whole expedition or just an incredible experience you had onboard Spoilsport.
Maximum 250 words & 1 Photo.
Send your entry to marketing@mikeball.com
Submission of entry agrees to the Terms and Conditions in regards to the competition ‘My Dive with Mike’.
Please take a moment to read these here.


Random draws once a year of all published stories will determine the winners.
Submissions close 31st August 2018. Winner will be 14th September 2018.

Below are some entries already sent in.

Mike Ball’s Osprey Reef Shark Feed by Francesca Trotman read more
A unique Opportunity on the Great Barrier Reef by Genevieve Williams read more
Shark Shooter Expedition by Roxana Caha read more


Mike Ball’s Osprey Reef Shark Feed 

by Francesca Trotman

I went on the Fly-Dive Coral Sea Expedition in January 2017 with Mike Ball. I’ve been an avid diver since the age of 13 and am now a marine biologist and underwater photographer by trade. Sharks were the animal that inspired me and made me want to be involved with the underwater world so Mike Ball’s Osprey Reef Shark Feed Dive was one of the major attractions of the cruise for me.

It was amazing. There aren’t even words to describe just how incredible it was – I really thought I was in my version of heaven. It was so intense and so awe-inspiring to be in the presence of so many beautiful animals. Sharks generally have a bad rep in society as ‘monsters’ but I would encourage anyone to do this shark dive.

Mike Ball’s operations are extremely safe and you’re briefed before the dive so you know emergency procedures etc. It’s one of the safest ways to observe these animals in large numbers and it makes people realise they are not the ‘monsters’ the media portrays them to be but are apex predators that are key to our ocean’s ecosystems and crucial to our ecotourism industries.

This kind of operation inspires so many people to spread awareness and conserve sharks – I really think this is a life-changing experience and I wholly recommend it to anyone and everyone. My partner was a relatively new and nervous diver and even he really enjoyed it!

“Sharks were the animal that inspired me and made me want to be involved with the underwater world.”

This is a photo I snapped just after the ‘feeding frenzy’ of a reef shark just cruising away from the action. I like this shot as it shows how diverse the reef is as well as the beauty of this animal. The coral also frames it nicely with the light beams – I have the amazing Australian visibility to thank for that.

Francesca Trotman
Love The Oceans | Non-profit marine conservation organisation
lovetheoceans.org


Minke Whale Dive Expeditions 2017 – A unique opportunity on the Great Barrier Reef

by Genevieve Williams

After last year’s lower than average numbers, it was a great relief to see so many whales this year. Over the six weeks of dedicated Minke Expeditions, Spoil Sport crew and passengers encountered well over 200 dwarf minke whales and witnessed many incredible behaviours including breaching, spy hopping, pirouetting, and even some very close approaches (within 1 metre!!!). I was lucky enough to go out with the Mike Ball team for their final Minke Expedition with the man himself, Mike Ball.

We had several encounters but one in particular stands out to me. It was the 15th July and we had been drifting with 10+ whales for a few hours. The whales were exceptionally curious during this encounter and we were lucky to experience many of the behaviours mentioned above and more! At the end of the encounter, I was pulling myself back to the boat along the snorkel line when I glanced over my shoulder to see a 6 metre whale right behind me. I grabbed one final snap for our photo ID catalogue before continuing back the boat. When I turned back again, the whale was still there… This amazing creature was literally following me back to the boat! The whale then came up next to me (within 1 metre) and swam beside me as I made my way back to the vessel, never breaking eye contact.

“Everyone on-board was just speechless.”

Mike was the last one out of the water, and I will never forget the look of joy and excitement on his face as he took one last look in the water and shouted “there are five whales sitting underneath me!!!!” It appeared that the whales didn’t want us to leave! The whales stayed with us until we left, spy hopping occasionally to see where their new friends had gone. They even followed the boat briefly before conceding defeat and going off on other important minke business. Clearly they were not ready for the encounter to be over. Everyone on-board was just speechless.

There was no words to describe how special that experience was. Nature at its finest. There were smiles from ear to ear and few tears of joy were shed. Personally, I will never forget that swim back to the boat, being escorted by a dwarf minke whale in the blue waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

Genevieve Williams
Research Assistant & Volunteer Coordinator
The Minke Whale Project
www.minkewhaleproject.org


Mike Ball Dive Expeditions Shark Shooter Expedition

by Roxana Caha

The lure of diving with sharks and underwater photography was too much to pass up: the 7 Night Shark Shooter Expedition was one that needed to be ticked off the list!
We spent 7 days on-board Spoilsport diving some truly world class dives sites at Osprey Reef and Ribbon reefs, in the company of Mike Ball himself, and renowned shark photographer Damian Siviero. We were also fortunate to have three coral and fish researchers on board from James Cook University who were very knowledgeable, friendly and extremely informative.

Damian held daily photography workshops to help teach guests how to get that iconic shark shot. He was very attentive to guests and went above and beyond to help everyone with their photography (both compact and SLR set-ups).  I opted to also do a photography course with the Mike Ball photo and video pro Julia Summerling, which was fantastic. It was really valuable getting practical tips on both the photography and post productions side.  The photography tuition I received during this expedition defiantly took my photography to the next level, and I haven’t looked back!

The vessel itself was very comfortable, and the dive deck was well set-up to cater for photographers. There are also various spaces to chill, read and sun bake during surface intervals. The food was incredible as always: you never go hungry on Spoilsport, if anything you are likely to depart a few pounds heavier! The crew were brilliant: very professional, helpful and friendly.  The trip Director (Nick Buttenshaw) did a fantastic job at running the expedition; a testament to him was that guests actually looked forward to his charismatic early morning wakeup call…some even recorded it on their phones!

We were promised close shark encounters and that is exactly what we got at Osprey Reef. The highlight of this expedition for me was definitely the private shark attraction.  The feeding frenzy at the amphitheatre was exhilarating to observe, but having such a small number of photographers (4) located in close proximity to the bait, allowed for plenty of opportunity to get ‘the shot’ of the grey reef and the odd white tip reef shark. So much so that I actually got a sore trigger finger from taking so many shots during the attraction!  False entrance at Osprey Reef was also spectacular, the vis was out of this world, as was the topography and wildlife observed.

“We were promised close shark encounters and that is exactly what we got at Osprey Reef.”

The Ribbon Reefs didn’t disappoint either: my favourite was Steve’s Bommie which was bursting with biodiversity.  It was here that we saw the rare and highly sought after lacy scorpionfish. As a lover of photographing the “big stuff”, I was stoked to dive at the world-famous Cod Hole dive site and to spend time with the charismatic potato cod.

All in all I had an absolute blast on this expedition, and not only did I improve my photography skills but I also made some lovely new friends in the process. I found that the sites we dived allowed plenty of opportunity for macro, as well as wide angle photography.

So, would I do this expedition again? Yes! Would I recommend it to others? Absolutely!

Roxana Caha
www.roxanacaha.com.au

 


Terms & Conditions

  1. Your entry authorizes Mike Ball Dive Expeditions to use your material.
  2. Mike appreciates everyone’s entry and thanks everyone for participating.
  3. The competition closes on the dates shown. Winner(s) will be notified by email.
  4. Mike Ball Dive Expeditions decision is final, no correspondence will be entered into.