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Dive Information - Mike Ball Dive Expeditions

Back to Mike Ball Main Page Dive Course Prices and Extras Spoilsport Vessel

»» Medical fitness

The following statement appears on all Mike Ball Dive Expedition 'Booking Form':

"I state that I am in good health for diving. I have no medical history of heart or lung disorders, asthma or epilepsy, neither am I an insulin dependent diabetic. I will not dive on your expedition if I am feeling unwell or I have a chest cold or respiratory congestion on the expedition. I understand if I have any medical condition contrary to these requirements I must produce a diving medical certificate completed by a diving medical specialist."

"You are authorized to make medical and transport arrangements as may be determined in my best interest. I agree to pay expenses incurred on my behalf which may be charged against my credit card."

»» Alcohol

Consumption of alcohol is restricted until after your last dive for the day. 

»» Disabled Divers

Dive sites may be quite exposed which can create comfort and safety issues for disabled divers. Spoilsport was not designed to facilitate disabled divers and is not suitable for divers who cannot make their own way around the vessel.

  • Cabins, bathrooms and diving are accessed from the main deck. Entry to the accommodation companionway has a step 23.5cm high and 12cm across. Door width is 61.5cm.
  • Dining and lounge areas are one deck up with 11 steps (21.5cm high & 65cm wide). Entry to the saloon has a step 26cm high and 10cm across. Door width is 61.5cm. 
  • Dive entry is via a platform 170cm above the water or by 8 steps (24cm high and 57.5cm wide).
  • Premium, standard and club cabins have private adjoining bathrooms. Cabin doors are 57cm wide. Step height into bathrooms is 4cm. All showers have a sunken tray of 5cm.
  • The rear Premium cabins have a double and single berth. Standard cabins have twin single beds. The smaller Club and Budget cabins are less convenient with bunk style beds and very small bathrooms. 

Also to be taken into consideration is the Lizard Island transfer in an inflatable dinghy, the walk from the airstrip to the beach (approx 400m with 30 across the beach) and the dimensions of their chartered aircraft which range from 5 to 12 seaters.

Supervision / Dive Buddy - A disabled diver must be completely independent or have an able-bodied buddy who can provide assistance for various conditions in and out of the water. They can provide an additional crew member to provide some assistance at an addition cost). This does not include physically manoeuving guests around the vessel or lifting from water!

»» Depth Guidelines

Depth guidelines are based on the diver’s experience and industry standards. The maximum recommended depth for divers with appropriate experience is 40 metres (132ft). Dives in excess of 40 metres (132ft) to a maximum of 50 metres (165ft) can only be undertaken by divers with a minimum experience of 100 dives with 25 deeper than 30 metres (100ft) including one to a depth within 3 metres of dive being undertaken. 

»» Equipment

Dive Cylinders - They have 42 tanks onboard 50% Air and 50% Nitrox; two thirds average 10.3 L (80 cuft) and one third average 11.3L (88 cuft);

Cylinder Valves – Air and Nitrox cylinder valves are compatible with US yoke regulators (UK A clamp)

DIN Fitting Regulators – They have 16 cylinder valves with a removable plug which will accommodate European DIN style regulators.

»» Equipment  - Wetsuits

Please see below the weather chart for water temperatures. If you feel the cold they recommend a 3mm full wetsuit in the warmer months (Nov - Feb) and a 5mm  full wetsuit in the colloer months (Mar - Oct).

*Temperature is based on yearly averages and may change depending on conditions. Please see below for monthly temperatures.

*All months have probability of excellent diving.

Tropical storms (cyclones) can occur between December and April. Statistically only 1 week of diving is effected every 2 years. If a cyclone threatens the safety of an expedition it would be cancelled. Trip cancellation insurance is recommended. These statistics are based on 25 years of meteorological records, however tropical weather is variable.

»» Equipment Rental

For equipment rental prices and details please click here.

»» Flying after Diving

The Mike Ball 'Fly/Dive' flights are at an altitude of 200 to 300 metres. This does not exceed the '600 metre Flying and Diving ceiling' requiring adherence to the 'Flying after Diving' procedures.

Commercial Flight Considerations: The surface interval between your last dive on Mike Ball Dive Expeditions completed at 5pm and flying out of Cairns (at say 11am) is 18 hours. Read below!

Dive Computer Considerations: Normally on completion of diving at the end of your expedition your computer's 'No Fly' times are less than 18 hours. Wait an appropriate amount of time (as indicated by your computer) before flying in excess of 600m.

Dive Table Considerations: PADI's recommendation after 'multi-day diving' is a minimum pre-flight surface interval of 18 hours. 

»» Guided Dives

Most of their guests prefer to plan and dive independently with their buddy. Single divers are teamed up with other singles and with their staff. It is not their policy for all dives to be divemaster led. They cater to guests who prefer more supervision with a combination of complimentary orientation dives to enhance skills, a scheduled morning and afternoon guided dive and the opportunity to dive with their staff on an ad hoc basis. This service does not provide constant guided dives or a personal dive guide.

Personal Dive Guides
  •  Daily Dive Guide (4-5 dives per day) - $250/day (+ berth cost for guide) 
  •  Personal Per-Dive Guide (approx 2 dives per day). Available on most expeditions subject to staff availability - $50 per dive.

Note: Please request at the time of booking. 

»» Jellyfish

As in all oceans, including the Great Barrier Reef , there are a variety of jellyfish (also known as 'stingers'). The majority of stings that can be inflicted by jellyfish such as hair jellyfish (Cyanea sp.), blubbers (Catostylus sp.) and bluebottles (Physalia sp.) can be irritable to painful but can be prevented by wearing a "Stinger Suit" (available for purchase onboard).

The box jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri) may be present in North Queensland from November to May/June and are found along the coast and estuaries. These stings can cause fatalities in extreme cases however with the right prevention and medical treatment the risk is minimal. There is a small box jellyfish commonly known as the 'Irukandji jellyfish' (Carukia barnesi) one of a series of species that can give rise to 'Irukandji Syndrome'. Fortunately the stings are rarely life threatening, medical aid must always be sought as soon as possible. Immediate first aid is to wash the area with vinegar and seek medical assistance. 

»» Junior Divers

Age 10 to 14 years (15yr+ junior diver depth limits are the same as the non junior certification)
  • Junior Diver Certification, less than 12 years old, not available.
  • They recommended children bring their own equipment,
  • Junior divers requiring supervision are charged a ‘Dive Guide' fee,
  • Participation on some dives may be prevented due to conditions,
  • Junior diver depth restrictions are not compatible with Coral Sea conditions.
Age Depth Conditions:
  • Junior Scuba Diver 10-14 years 12 meters (40ft) Must dive with an instructor. Includes rental equipment (see note above) and one dive per day; extra dives $50 each.
  • Junior OWD & Jnr. Adventure OWD 10-14 years 12 meters (40ft) <12 yrs, first dive with an instructor, subsequent dives with: parent/guardian or Dive Master/Instructor >12yrs can dive with adult (18yrs+).
  • Junior Advanced OW Diver 12-14 years 21 meters (70ft) >12yrs can dive with adult (18yrs+). 

»» Main Vessel or Tender Dives

Most of their dives are from the main vessel while moored over the dive site. Each vessel has two inflatables for more personalized diving plus drift and night dives. The inflatables are large and stable with substantial rear entry ladders. 

»» Nitrox (EANx32)

Nitrox fills are limited to 32% oxygen and a maximum operating depth of 40 meters (132ft). Nitrox divers are required to dive on computer. A complimentary computer workshop is offered to those hiring a computer. FREE Nitrox fills during expedition are included with Nitrox Course. Nitrox prices

»» Rebreather

Prior to booking, you need to complete and return a Rebreathers Diver Record which specifies the various procedures and prerequisites of their rebreather service.

Rebreather Service Includes:
  • HI 5G booster pump and fill panel.
  • 2L aluminium, 3L steel and 7L steel bailout cylinders complimentary until March 2012.
  • O2  is charged to recover costs only.
  • No tri-mix rebreather service.
  • No solo diving rebreather service

»» Safe Scuba System

Dive site selection is based on the best dive sites available. Less experienced divers receive complimentary "orientation dives" as necessary while experienced divers are given the freedom to plan their own dives. 

»» Snorkelling
Fly Dive Cod Hole itinerary - Sites are suitable for competent snorkel divers.

Fly Dive Coral Sea itinerary - The first day of the itinerary is suitable for snorkelling. Note: they do not provide suitable sites or supervision for snorkelling in the Coral Sea.

Coral Sea Safari - Snorkelling limited to Ribbon Reef sites, Coral Sea sites not suitable. 

»» Solo Diving

Mike Ball Dive Expeditions Safe Solo requirement:
Minimum age: 18 years if dive master certified or 21 years with proof of 100 ocean dives with 5 in the last 12 months.

Equipment Required:
  • Redundant air system (minimum 6 cubic feet).
  • Safety sausage.
  • Dive light on dive if within 2 hours of dusk.
  • Dive knife and compass.

Rental pony bottle units are available see equipment rental

Skill Evaluation:
  • Surface snorkel 100 meters wearing scuba and be familiar with use.
  • Demonstrate use of safety sausage.
  • Navigate 100 meters at 5 meters with 75% accuracy.
  • Hover at 5 meters for 3 minutes, clear mask.
  • Slowly surface using redundant air source.

 They also offer the SDI Solo Diver certification onboard.

»» Unlimited Diving

Most divers do 2 morning, 2 afternoon plus a night dive most nights. Normally they have an ‘open deck’ at a single site in the morning and visit 2 sites in the afternoon - this may be reversed.  This provides divers with the freedom to dive as much or as little as they want. 

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