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Detailed Trip Itinerary for Mike Ball Dive Expeditions, 3-night Cod Hole/Minke Whale Fly/Dive Trip

This Mike Ball Dive Expeditions Minke Whale trip is much more than a ‘dive’ trip. These trips are scheduled when the numbers of these whales is at it’s maximum, with a focus on snorkelling and diving amongst these majestic creatures during this period of high aggregation. Your second day is entirely devoted to locating Minke whales. © Mike Ball Dive Expeditions

Each passenger is able to partake in Minke Whale behaviour monitoring and research, attend lectures by trained crew on the ecology of the reef and discuss all facets of Minke Whale behaviour, biology and research with research volunteers.

Since commencing Minke Whale Expeditions in 1996 Make Ball Dive has had a 98% success rate of being able to provide their guests an in water encounter with these whales.. The largest pod seen was 28 whales, the longest encounter was 10 hours. Every day has a high probability of dwarf minke encounters

Monday: Check-in and Departure & Ribbon Reef #10 & #9 - Cod Hole, Cod Wall, Challenger Bay

-Checkin Monday by 7:00am, 3 Abbott Street, Cairns. Transfer to Cairns Airport.

-Spectacular low level 150-mile reef flight to Lizard Island to board Spoilsport.

-Commence diving approximately 12:30pm.

- Explore the rarely dived Cod Wall at the outer reef edge that disappears into 60 meters (200ft)

- Glide back towards the Cod Hole while enjoying the clear water and spectacular coral formations.

-Shallow but fantastic, Challenger Bay is extremely rich in biodiversity from spectacular coral gardens and unusual critters through to large schooling fish.

Tuesday: Ribbon Reef #9, #5, #4 - Lighthouse Bommie, Pixie Pinnacle, Andy’s Postcard, Clam Beds, Vertical Gardens

-Today the focus is on making contact with Dwarf Minke Whales, but there's also some great diving here!

- Circumnavigate Pixie Pinnacle and Lighthouse Bommie shrouded in fusilier baitfish. Fluorescent purple and orange anthias attract predatory fish to these photogenic sites.

-Rising from 80 meters the pinnacle of Andy’s Postcard is encrusted in hard corals, lion fish, nudibranchs, octopus, schooling trevally and barracuda.

-See spectacular giant clams at Clam Beds as well as caves, canyons and coral encrusted bommies awaiting exploration.

-Sheer walls covered in whip corals and sea fans brim the natural amphitheatre of Vertical Gardens. Marine life varies from the many colourful nudibranchs to large schooling bump head parrotfish.

Wednesday: Ribbon Reef #3 - Flare Point, Joani’s Joy, Steve’s Bommie

-Spiral majestic coral pinnacles teeming with marine life.

-See huge schools of baitfish stalked by barracuda, mackerel and trevally.

-Anticipate spectacular coral gardens, spotted rays, reef sharks and green turtle sightings.

Thursday: Dock

-Early morning docking at Trinity Wharf - Cairns, breakfast, 8:00am courtesy transfers to Cairns city hotels.

Prime dives sites - GUARANTEED!-

- This itinerary has been designed to include the ‘prime’ Ribbon Reef dive sites.

-If weather forces an itinerary change our surety of access to the prime Ribbon Reef sites is your guarantee of the best possible diving.

-Spoilsport’s outstanding stability minimises disruption to your itinerary and your diving experience.

Day 1 (Monday): After a 7:00am check in you will be taken to the airport for the flight to Lizard Island to meet Spoilsport. This is a very scenic flight, with great views of the reef, the rainforest covered mountains, and the coastline.

Spoilsport will take you to first to Cod Hole. (We have trouble thinking of a more amazing first dive!) Cod Hole is famous for the resident family of huge potato cod, which can be seen feeding with Maori Wrasse (another huge fish), and moray eels. Following that dive the boat will work southward towards Cairns, selecting from a variety of exclusive dive sites to find you the best diving.

Day 2 (Tuesday) and Day 3 (Wednesday): This section of the Ribbon Reefs is the winter home range for a population of Dwarf Minke Whales. Every effort will be made to assure that contact is made with the whales as the boat travels south towards Cairns, stopping at one amazing dive site after another on it’s way.

Besides having contact with the whales Spoilport will make up to four dives each day, selecting from a variety of amazing dive sites to find you the best diving conditions possible, which vary during the day with the tide and wind. The dives will be from a select list of amazing dive sites, which include Challenger Bay, Lighthouse Bommie, Pixie Reef, at Steve’s Bommie.

Thursday: (Thursday): Spoilsport will dock early in the morning. Breakfast will be served, and afterwards you will be transferred back to your Cairns hotel, or the airport if you are flying onward. (The last dive usually ends by 8:00pm Wednesday, be sure to plan for the appropriate surface interval before you fly from Cairns.)

This Mike Ball Dive Expeditions Minke Whale trip is much more than a ‘dive’ trip. These trips are scheduled when the numbers of these whales is at a maximum, with a focus on snorkelling and diving amongst these majestic creatures during this period of high aggregation.

Since commencing Minke Whale Expeditions in 1996 Make Ball Dive has had a 98% success rate of being able to provide their guests an in water encounter with these whales. -Note: Itinerary subject to change. © Mike Ball Dive Expeditions

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