Australia’s Ribbon Reefs and Cod Hole With Mike Ball

Ribbon Reef

Mike Ball is a scuba diving living legend, the first Liveaboard operator to be included in the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, he perfected the current concept of Liveaboard diving.

The cornerstone of his success includes the Ribbon Reefs and the famous Cod Hole dive site.

Mike Ball Dive Expeditions started providing Liveaboard trips to the Great Barrier Reef in 1969.

While at one time they had a much larger fleet operating around the Pacific, currently the company has concentrated its efforts on the diving around Cairns.

Their dive vessel, the Spoilsport, departs on Thursday’s for a week long Coral Sea Safari out to the far reaches of the Great Barrier Reef and beyond into the Coral Sea returning to Cairns.

During the voyage the Spoilsport will cover about 450 nautical miles and provide 26 diving opportunities on some of the best dive sites in the world.

Coral Sea Safari From Cairns

The Coral Sea Safari can be taken in segments for those who wish a shorter trip. They are separated into a four day segment called the Fly dive Coral Sea which is four nights and the Fly dive Cod Hole which is three nights.

The legendary remote island Lizard Island is the transfer point. Guest joining the Spoilsport at Lizard Island arrives after an early morning low level flight from Cairns.

The guest leaving the boat at that point fly back on the returning flight.

As divers we know that you should not fly for 24 hours after diving, however, these flights are safe as the are mostly below 200 meters and do not exceed 300 meters well within the 600 meter altitude of the no fly rule.

With the crystal clear water and shallow reefs, you can see the reefs and even spot rays, sharks and schools of fish as you fly over.

Just for the record while the three day cruise is named Cod Hole both segments stop at this legendary dive site.

Four Night Fly Dive To The Coral Sea

The outbound trip from Cairns, the 4 night segment, leaves late Thursday evening.

The trip is designed for advance divers and is not suitable for snorkelers. Overnight the Spoilsport will travel about 150 miles to the northern reach of the Ribbon Reefs.

Your Friday dives will include sites such as Cod Hole and the Snake Pit.

The Cod Hole is famous for the Potato Cod that live there.

A Potato Cod is the largest member of the grouper family, a species of fish that are known to be large and friendly. They are more likely follow a diver around to see what they are doing then to flee. And by large about the same size as an average person.

The snake pit is the home to Olive Sea Snakes.

This is the only area on the Great Barrier Reef that these snakes can be found in large numbers. They have an if you don’t bother me, I wont bite you attitude.

While the Ribbon Reefs are some of the best in the world, overnight the spoilsport will move another 75 miles, this time out away from the reef into the coral sea itself.

The destination is Osprey Reef, a reef that raises a 1,000 meters from the ocean floor.

This reef may be the most remote reef visited by recreational divers anywhere in the world. It is well worth the trip providing a variety of large species in 40 meters or more of visibility.

Drift dives with twenty or thirty sharks to join you, Huge Sea Fans, Black coral trees the list is almost endless. With two days of unparalleled diving the vessel heads back in overnight Sunday to arrive at Lizard Island Monday morning.

Three Night Cod Hole

The guest leaving the ship will transfer to Lizard Island after breakfast to get the plane back to Cairns.

Guest joining the Spoilsport for the three day Cod Hole fly dive will have an early morning pick up at their hotel, transferred to the airport and flown to Lizard Island, there they will be meet and transferred to the Spoilsport.

A few briefings, a short vessel relocation and  will be in the water in a few hours.

The first dive is normally at Ribbon Reef #10 which is the home of the famous potato cods and the Cod Hole dive site.

The Ribbon Reefs stretch over 55 miles, are seldom visited and have some of the best dive sites in the world. Lighthouse Bommie, Challenger Bay, and Pixie Reef are just some of the possible sites that will be visited.

Steve’s Bommie, one of the best sites for photography with a very wide range of marine life is the normal last dive.

Mike Ball’s Spoilsport

Australia dive expedition
Cod Hole Dive Expedition

The spoilsport is a 30 meter long twin hull vessel designed to be very stable in the waters both inside and outside the protection of the reef. She has 14 cabins, most with en-suite facilities, while the budget cabins do have a share facilities.

Besides have an excellent reputation of its diving support it is also well known for the quality of the meals that are served. The crew is always highly praised by the guest. Truly this is a trip and a dive Liveaboard that is legendary.


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