Day 55-58: April 30-May 3rd,2018. The Great Barrier Reef!

From April 30- May 3rd, I did my first ever live a board trip with Mike Ball and dove the magnificent Great Barrier Reef with the 3 day/12 dive Fly Dive Cod Hole boat trip. It was advertised as the best Cairns dive expedition for the average diver and included the Ribbon Reefs which offered excellent biodiversity. To be safe, I took their popular sea sickness medication, Qwells (similar to scopolamine) and it worked wonders on the constantly rocking boat. Sometime the rocking was minor, other times more rough. I nearly always had to hold onto something as the boat moved to different locations frequently. We had 7 guests on board (2 were already  there for 4 days and others had left). Mike ball was a great boat with fun and helpful staff. They were well organized and told us exactly what was coming up on the schedule next. The food was delicious as well and the rooms, dive deck, dining area were really comfortable. I’m glad I did the live a board as I was nervous about being sick on the previous yongala boat without

meds. I also completed my nitrox certification and dove with it as well. One dive we were dropped off the boat and swam left. We couldn’t time the exit rope to go up and me and 3 others bypassed it. We had to get picked up my the small boat (the tender.

Here is a summary of the boat trip!

Trip highlights and locations:

Monday 7am - Mike Ball Office, Cairns


Thursday 8am - Dropped off at Caravella Hostel

•Flying Start – Spectacular 250km low level scenic flight over the reef from Cairns to Lizard Island.

•Continental Shelf – Dive 100 miles north of Cairns on the edge of the shelf where nutrient rich waters attract rich marine life.

•Ribbon Reefs – a prized region of the Great Barrier Reef, with excellent fish & coral biodiversity.

•Cod Hole – Swim with diver size potato cod.

•Lighthouse Bommie, Pixie Wall, Pixie Pinnacle,

•Coral Kingdom,

•Steve’s Bommie – a highlight with incredible marine biodiversity, both large and small.

Schedule (Subject to change based on conditions)

Monday:  (2 dives + night dive)

•Check in at our office (3 Abbott St, Cairns) between 6:30 and 7am.

•7:15 am:  Transfer to Cairns Airport.

•8.00 am:  Board a light aircraft for a low level flight over the reef to Lizard Island (flight time approx. 1 hour).

•Board Spoilsport mid-morning where you will be served drinks and snacks while our Trip Director gives you a welcome briefing.

•Time to organise any rental equipment and put your dive gear together on the dive deck.

•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)

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

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 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.

•Spoilsport cruises back to Cairns overnight.


•Early morning docking.

•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.

Potato cod

Bat fish

White tipped shark

Gray reef shark

Coral trout

Parrot fish


Elephant trunk fish ( sea cucumber)

Mallory wrass

Spotted sweetlip

Gray reef shark

Coral trout

Parrot fish


Elephant trunk fish ( sea cucumber)

Mallory wrass

Spotted sweetlip

White tipped Sharks and fish attracted to light

Coral green yellow stylophora pistillatato

Sea cucumber- large ones in diff colors and with things sticking out, and one clear tube one with feelers


Gobie in shell

Giant trevally, and one small one with yellow and blue stripes



Damsel, angel, banner, parrot fishes

Anemone small fish

Sea cucumber



Large hermit crab

Sea cucumbers including a rolled up one with feelers on face

Large crab in crevice

Large purple starfish and small orange starfish

Nudibraches, small (1.5 inch) blue with yellow and larger yellow

Box fish

Angry turtle, calm turtles

2 cuttle fish

Claudia Wong