Nautilus Interaction Expeditions - Coral Sea Research

No departures scheduled.

Adventure liveaboard diving on the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea, Australia. Highlights include observation, interaction and diving with the ancient Nautilus, as well as clear water, plummeting walls and amazing shark action.

The Nautilus Interaction Expedition is in the Coral Sea & Great Barrier Reef and features:

  • Rare opportunity to observe ancient Nautilus,
  • Big fish action in 40 meter visibility,
  • Drift dive with reef sharks at North Horn,
  • Coral gardens and sea snakes at the Snake Pit,
  • Outstanding marine life biodiversity,
  • Diver-sized fish at the Cod Hole,
  • All dives over 100 miles north of Cairns,
  • Coral sea walls with 1,000m drop offs and huge soft corals,
  • The amazing Amphitheatre shark dive,
  • Superior vessel stability in adverse weather conditions.

7 Night Nautilus Interaction Expedition

Each year we run Nautilus Expeditions, including a capture and release program for the James Cook University research department. Nautilus traps are set overnight at Osprey Reef and retrieved the next morning. Guests have the rare opportunity to observe, photograph and dive with these deep sea creatures.

Cod Hole - Ribbon Reefs

One of the Great Barrier Reefs most amazing phenomenons awaits you at the Cod Hole, where you’ll swim with incredibly inquisitive ‘small diver size’ potato cod. Also a great site to check out white tip reef sharks sleeping in the sand, the occasional grey reef shark and if you’re lucky, sometimes a hammerhead.

Lighthouse Bommie – Ribbon Reefs

Big schools of brightly coloured yellow and blue snapper cruise the top of an adjacent reef, while numerous species of anemone fish have also made it their home. For the 12 July 2018 departure, this is also a unique opportunity to possibly see the amazing Minke Whales.

Snake Pit - Ribbon Reefs

This Ribbon Reef site is one of the few places on the Great Barrier Reef where olive sea snakes are found. Sea Snakes are both very curious and very complacent, allowing the more adventurous diver and photographer to get very close indeed! It is also common to sight a variety of ray species.

Fairy Grotto - Coral Sea

Cruise overnight Friday, venturing 75 miles northeast beyond the Great Barrier Reef to the remote Coral Sea. Awake to find yourself exploring plummeting reef walls in gin clear water at the Fairy Grotto. This dive site offers a great introduction to Osprey Reef with lots of small caverns and swim throughs.

Admiralty Anchor - Coral Sea – Nautilus Time

This Osprey Reef location is the perfect place for the Nautilus catch and release. Mike Ball Dive Expeditions is proud to support Assoc. Professor Jamie Seymour with his Nautilus study, where the research goal is to identify if the Coral Sea Nautilus population is a unique species.

North Horn - Coral Sea

Exciting shark action in the Coral Sea! Your Osprey Reef adventure includes a spectacular shark dive at North Horn. You will see 10-30 grey reef sharks, white-tip reef sharks as well as other species. You can photograph these sleek high order predators at close- range, or not so close, you choose!

Dive Site Guarantee!

Spoilsport’s outstanding stability minimizes disruption to your itinerary and your scuba diving experience. If weather forces an itinerary change we divert to the best, ‘safe, accessible sites’ to ensure you get the best scuba diving available. 9% of Coral Sea itineraries are diverted to the Great Barrier Reef.

All itinerary details are subject to change, specific marine life cannot be guaranteed.

Sorry no dive site map yet.

Expedition prices, per person in Australian dollars.

4 Night Expeditions: Departing Cairns April 2019 - March 2020

Reef Tax $6.50/day
Fuel Levy $0

4 Night Expeditions: Departing Cairns April 2020 - March 2021

Reef Tax $6.50/day
Fuel Levy $0

Rates include:

  • Accommodation in twin/double cabins
  • Delicious meals & snacks, wine and soft drink are included with the evening meal
  • Tanks, air fills and weight belt
  • Daily cabin service
  • Reef ecology programme
  • Dive computer workshop
  • Transfer to the airport or Cairns hotel after your expedition
  • Scenic flight between Lizard Island and Cairns (only on 4 night expeditions)
  • Vivid Pix digital photo editing software workshop

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.

Click on the links here for extras such as dive courses, photo services and gear hire, plus discounts available.

Premium – queen or double bed, private bathroom, sea view
Standard – twin beds, private bathroom, sea view
Club – twin bunk beds, private bathroom, no sea view
Budget – twin bunk beds, share bathroom, no sea view


Sample itinerary, subject to change based on conditions.


  • 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 Hemingway’s Brewery Cairns Wharf (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 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.

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.

  • 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 4pm. 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 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.  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
  • 3.30am: 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


  • 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.


  • We recommend that you allow 24 hours between your last dive and your onward flight (all diving is finished by 5pm Wednesday).
Advanced, or 15 logged ocean dives inc. 5 in last 12 months
Advanced Divers
Thursday 6pm - Trinity Wharf, Cairns.
(Check-in before 4pm at the Mike Ball office).
Contact UsSecure your spotClick here »Check AvailabilityAvailabilityClick here »Latest OffersDiscover our latest offersClick here »

More Information

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