3 nights - 9 dives + snorkeling with whales.
Embark: Monday 7am - Cairns Colonial Club, Cairns.
Disembark: Thursday 8am - Trinity Wharf, Cairns.
4 nights - 9 dives + snorkeling with whales.
Embark: Thursday 6pm - Trinity Wharf, Cairns.
Disembark: Monday 11am - Cairns.
(complimentary city transfers)
7 nights - unlimited dives + snorkeling with whales.
Embark: Thursday 6pm - Trinity Wharf, Cairns.
Disembark: Thursday 8am - Cairns.
(complimentary city transfers)
Diving Experience: Snorkellers to Advanced Divers
Minke whales are commonly seen along the Ribbon Reefs north of Cairns between May and August. In June and July we conduct special Minke Whale Expeditions with the second day devoted almost entirely to finding and snorkeling and/or diving with minke whales. Since commencing minke whale expeditions in 1996 we have discovered the locations where minkes' are most commonly found. In this time we have evolved a diving and snorkeling protocol that has minimal impact on the whales and allows them to approach divers within their own comfort zone. This protocol combined with the minkes' natural curiosity provides you with very close encounters and spectacular opportunities for close up videos and photography.
Spoilsport = Dive Freedom!
Our 'Open Deck' policy provides the freedom to dive as frequently as you choose. Two large inflatables enable personalized diving away from Spoilsport, you can even dive during mealtimes. We provide the maximum diving at your pace. At sites like Challenger Bay some photographers do 2-hour dives to capture special fish behavior photographs.
Spoilsport = Better Diving!
Access to prime dive sites is guaranteed! From Cairns we focus exclusively on the superior Ribbon Reefs north of Cooktown including the Cod Hole. Here, the marine life is at its best, you will see spectacular concentrations of pristine corals, colorful tropical fish, schooling pelagics and shark action. Our experienced dive crew are often able to show you very rare species like the beautiful lacy scorpion fish and ghost pipefish. Spoilsport's complimentary Reef Ecology Program will assist you in identifying the rare marine life.
Fly Dive = Spectacular Flight!
250km GREAT BARRIER REEF FLIGHT! HALF THE FLIGHT BELOW 200M! The 'Fly Dive' flight is designed to maximize your appreciation of the northern section of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. We supply a detailed flight map so you can anticipate the low altitude pass (180m) over: Endeavor Reef where Captain Cook ran aground; the Emily Wreck; the outer reefs you will dive from Spoilsport and Lizard Island. Keen observers are often rewarded with sightings of minke whales, dugongs, rays, turtles and sharks.
"Who could forget their first encounter with a minke whale? For me it was towards the end of a dive on the Great Barrier Reef. I was leisurely making my way back after an incredible dive, when off in the distance I could see a large shadowy object. Excited, I waited. As I hung there, my mind a-buzz with possibilities, I could hear my breath catch in my throat as I realized what was heading in my direction. High on adrenaline I signaled my dive buddy who was, as you guessed, looking in the opposite direction! We hovered there, motionless, as the minke whale came within meters of us. All I could feel was my heartbeat and my buddies' hand excitedly grasping my arm in amazement. She drifted by effortlessly, lingered for a moment, and then continued on her way to destinations unknown." Liz Davis.
You may ask what is the thrill of the diving with these extraordinary creatures? It is one of those life-altering moments that we have so few of. It is an indescribable feeling of total tranquillity as you come face to face with creatures such as these. And you realize just how small you are in the grand scheme of things and have, for a split second, a better understanding of what it would be like to live in their world.
Dwarf minke whales are the smallest of the baleen whales. They have a characteristic white band on each fin that contrasts with a very dark grey fin tip; these markings are as individual as fingerprints. They like all baleen whales, have two blowholes. A fully developed adult is approximately 7-9 meters (25-30ft) in length and 5-7 tonnes in weight. Minke whales have a layer of blubber several inches thick and are quite sleek in appearance.
Breathing for minke whales is achieved by surfacing and taking air into their lungs through the two blowholes, which are located near the top of the head. They can submerge for 20-25 minutes; however they usually make shorter dives of 10-12 minutes and can swim up to 12 knots for short periods.
Minke whales are social creatures and are often seen traveling in pods. Communication between whales is a series of grunts, moans and rasping sounds. Breeding occurs predominantly in late winter and early spring in warm waters near the surface. The gestation period is approximately 10 months and the calf is born close to the surface. A newborn calf will instinctively swim to the surface for its first breathe assisted by the mother. Incredibly, within 30 minutes of birth the calf can swim, dive and surface for air. Weighing in at about 454 kilograms (1000 pounds) and 2.8 meters (9ft) the calf is nurtured by its mother's milk, being weaned after 5-6 months. At sexual maturity they are 6-8 years. The life span for dwarf minke whales is unknown; other baleen whales live 50-60 years.
Dwarf minkes' are renowned for their curiosity and approachability. They also have behavior similar to humpbacks such as breaching, tail slapping and spy hopping, though not to the same extent as their larger cousins.
James Cook University, CRC Reef Research Centre & The Museum of Tropical Queensland.
Minke Whale Itineraries
Since commencing Minke Whale Expeditions in 1996 Mike Ball Dive Expeditions have had a 98% success rate. The largest pod seen was 28 whales, the longest encounters was 10 hours. James Cook University, together with the Museum of Tropical Queensland has an ongoing research project studying the whales. All passengers on our Special Minke Whale Expeditions are encouraged to participate and assist by recording their observations on the forms provided. Everyday has a high probability of dwarf minke encounters. Day 2 is specifically dedicated to locating and observing minkes' at close range under water.
In the unlikely event that we are not able to locate whales at our reliable sites up to two hours at a time would be spent attempting to find whales further a field. If none were sighted, we would provide as many of the standard Fly Dive Cod Hole itinerary dives as circumstances would allow.
In any event a minimum of 9 or 10 scuba dives on the Ribbon Reefs will be provided at the most spectacular sites, such as Cod Hole, Challenger Bay and Pixie Pinnacle.
Dive Site Guarantee!
All your dives will be north of Cooktown including ‘prime’ Ribbon Reef sites that have restricted access. If weather forces an itinerary change our surety of access to the prime Ribbon Reef sites is your guarantee of the best diving available. Spoilsport’s outstanding stability minimizes disruption to your itinerary and your diving experience.
You will notice there is no rush or limit placed on your dive time. Spoilsport’s itineraries normally provide 3 dive sites per day with opportunity for relaxed or unlimited diving. At sites like Challenger Bay some photographers do 2 hour dives to capture special fish behavior photographs.
Most guests prefer to plan and dive independently with their buddy. Guests who require supervision are offered a combination of: complimentary orientation dives to enhance skills; a scheduled morning and afternoon guided dive and dives with our staff on an ad hoc basis. Our crew will locate species like the beautiful leaf scorpion fish. The complimentary Reef Ecology Program will assist you identify the marine life.
Spoilsport = 5 Star Service!
We aim to spoil you! To ensure your needs are met, on arrival the ‘trip director’ will have a private consultation with you. In between dives you enjoy Spoilsports luxurious motor yacht atmosphere and attentive crew. Spoilsport is the Great Barrier Reef ’s most awarded live aboard.
Spoilsport was designed to provide divers with a new level of comfort and convenience. You get less rock’n’roll with more space and comfort. She has received 11 prestigious Rodale’s Reader Choice awards including Best Live aboard and Most Environmentally Sensitive.
Enjoy a sumptuous variety of meals that has earned Spoilsport an enviable reputation for catering excellence. Vegetarian and standard diets are catered for with Australian and International menus using fresh local produce. Please advise if you have special dietary needs.
Spoilsport Vessel Features:
- Spoilsport is Australia ’s most ‘Awarded’ live aboard,
- Length 30m (100ft); Beam 10m (36ft); Speed 15 knots,
- Passenger average 20 (max 28) Crew 11,
- Twin hull’s reduce seasickness and maximises stability, space and privacy,
- Twin or double cabins, most with ocean views. Daily cabin service,
- Spacious: dining room; lounge; alfresco deck and sundeck,
- Sensational chef prepared meals and in-between meal snacks,
- Complimentary soft drinks and Australian wines (with dinner)
Spoilsport Dive Services:
Details subject to change.
- Complimentary Reef Ecology Program,
- Low key photo comp on every expedition,
- Huge dive deck with convenient entry/exit platforms,
- Photographer friendly with 3 large camera tables,
- ‘Open dive deck’ allows flexible dive planning,
- 3 dive sites per day is normal,
- Underwater photography and video services,
- PADI instruction: Advanced, Nitrox, Naturalist and Photo/Video,
- Dry towel after each dive,
- Solo diving as per Mike Ball Safe Solo System,
- 2 large inflatables for personalised dive service.
Geri Murphy, Carlo Rosa, Warwick O'Brien, Yutaka Hanaki and Mike Ball.