Mike Ball – Cod Hole & Ribbon Reefs Expedition – 4 Nights

from $2047 AUD

About this 4 Day / 4 Night trip

The far northern Ribbon Reefs are some of the most pristine, remote and untouched reefs on the Great Barrier Reef. Due to their distance from Cairns, a liveaboard trip to the Ribbon Reefs is a minimum of 3  to 4 nights (includes scenic flight between Cairns and Lizard Island) and maximum of 7 nights (entire trip spent on the boat). The Ribbons are home to some of Australia’s best dive sites, including but not limited to the Cod Hole, Steve’s Bommie and Lighthouse Bommie. The boats and dive operators who visit here are professional and these trips will create memories to last a lifetime. The Ribbon Reefs are the pinnacle of dive sites on the Great Barrier Reef.


  • 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 off 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.
    Dynamite Pass, Lighthouse Bommie, Pixie Wall, Pixie Pinnacle,
    Trolly Shoal, Coral Kingdom, Flare Point, Blue Lagoon.
    Steve’s Bommie – a highlight with incredible marine biodiversity, both large and small.
    Dwarf minke whales cruise the Ribbon Reefs during June and July. Read more here about our special minke expeditions.

Diving Details
Mike Ball Dive Expeditions is all about the diving. This trip offers dive freedom and you can tailor your expedition to suit your certification and experience level. There’s an open dive deck, which means you can dive when and for how long suits you and your dive buddy. There’s even the chance for solo diving, if you have the certification, experience and equipment to do it. In the Ribbon Reefs, dive depth is generally 8-35m. It’s open ocean diving at some amazing sites, including pinnacles, bommies and swim throughs.  There’s the option to extend your diving qualifications with an on-board course. The number of scuba dives available depends on your length of stay and package booked. You will need to bring your certification card.


  • 13 dives – Includes night dives
  • Choice of cabin types (Budget to Premium)
  • All meals (while onboard)


Hire of Dive equipment – $44.00 per day full gear hire

PADI Advanced Dive Course

Photography Course

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority requires the operator to collect an Environmental Management Charge of $7.00 per day spent on the Great Barrier Reef.  This amount will be added to your bar bill at the end of your expedition.


Option Price
Premium $2935
Premium (Sole Occupancy) $3522
Standard $2680
Standard (Sole Occupancy) $3216
Club $2375
Club (Sole Occupancy) $2850
Budget $2047
Budget (Sole Occupancy) $2456

Full Intinerary

2020 Departure dates: 10 September | 8 October | 5 November | 10 December
2021 Departure dates: 7, 21 December | 11 February | 11 March

4 Nights / 13 Dives. 

Sample itinerary, subject to change based on conditions.


Check in at our office (3 Abbott St, Cairns) between 8:30 am and 4:00 pm.
From 4:30 pm: Make your own way to Hemingway’s Brewery Cairns Wharf (200m from MBDE office) to meet your fellow passengers. Please note that dinner is not provided on the first evening so you may wish to eat before boarding.
5:50 pm: Our crew will lead you from Hemingway’s Brewery Cairns Wharf to board Spoilsport. Enjoy a glass of champagne and light snacks while your Trip Director provides a full briefing.
6:00 pm: Spoilsport departs Cairns.
Time to organise any rental equipment and put your dive gear together on the dive deck.

Friday: (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

Saturday: (3 dives + night dive)

As per above.

Sunday: (4 dives)

As per above, however all diving is finished by 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.
Overnight cruise to Cairns


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.

We recommend that you allow 24 hours between your last dive and your onward flight (all diving is finished by 5pm Monday).


Important Information For Course Participants continuing on with their dive education. Insufficient dive qualifications and/or some medical conditions may prevent you from diving. Prior to diving, you will be asked to complete a questionnaire regarding your diving qualifications, experience & current fitness to dive prior to commencing your course. Participants will be required to complete a PADI Medical statement. Should you answer yes to any of the medical question asked you will be required to consult a doctor to acquire a written medical clearance to dive prior to your dive course/trip. If you are unsure about a specific medical condition please check with your doctor or with us prior to making your reservation. Important Information For Certified Divers You will be required to sign a Waiver Release & Indemnity Deed onboard the vessel. Please Note: Some medical conditions may prevent you diving. You will be required to complete a waiver and medical statement prior to diving. If you would answer 'Yes' to any of the questions below you will need to consult a doctor and acquire a medical certificate stating that you're 'fit to dive' prior to your dive trip. Since completing your last dive medical assessment have you suffered any illness or injury that may affect your ability to dive safely? Are you currently suffering any illness or injury? Are you currently taking any prescription medication other than the contraceptive pill? Is there any other condition, fact or circumstance that may affect your fitness or ability to dive safely
The warm waters of Tropical North Queensland are ideal for year round diving. Water temperature can vary from 22° to 28° Celsius (75° to 85°F).
Yes, there are sharks in every ocean. A variety of sharks inhabit the Great Barrier Reef. What we most commonly encounter are smaller species which pose no threat to divers or snorkellers. The shark that Australia is infamous for is the Great White shark, prefers cold water of the Southern Ocean and does not exist in Tropical North Queensland.
There are 2 main types of dangerous jellyfish in our local waters. The Box Jellyfish is coastal dwelling and is never seen on the reef. They breed in estuaries and live their life on the shoreline, therefore do not pose a threat to divers. The Irukandji jellyfish is also predominantly a coastal dweller but is occasionally found on the reef. Divers are rarely troubled by either species but there is still a risk of being stung. Full body coverage is recommended when jellyfish are prevalent. The jellyfish season in North Queensland is from November to April.
The Great Barrier Reef is generally not a deep dive destination – so more your shallow diving. Our dive sites have an average depth range of 10 - 40 metres (30-130 feet). As coral relies on sunlight for growth, some of the best snorkelling and diving can be done in shallow areas around the reef top.
No you can hire all the dive equipment which is all extra charges depending on what gear you require.
Before every dive, the dive supervisor conducts a detailed site briefing beforehand. You will be allocated a dive buddy.
Yes, as long as evidence of certification can be provided eg log book, verification letter from your certifying dive company. You can do this by contacting your original certifying organizations. We can provide assistance in this area if you are PADI/SSI affiliated.
All liveaboard vessels have twin share cabins and double cabins available. Price can vary between cabin types and dive operators. For clients travelling alone, we will always try and arrange a twin share cabin with another person of the same sex.
Majority of companies offer complimentary transfers from Cairns though some will charge for Northern Beach accommodation (as far as Palm Cove) pickups. They do not pick up from private addresses but will collect passengers from the nearest hotel or pick up point.
A compulsory fee is collected for the Government Environmental Management Charge. A total fee per person is payable directly to operators. This amount incorporates the EMC as well as Port Departure Tax and administration costs. (This fee varies from company to company and is subject to change at short notice)
You will need to take along 2 towels - one for swimming and one for showering. You’ll need swimwear, comfortable clothes for liveaboard dive trips, toiletries etc. Luggage needs to be kept to a minimum (small bag) as space is limited on boats. Any excess luggage can be kept safely in storage for you at the respective companies retail shop or training centre.
Yes, you are allowed to bring alcohol on board, but in moderation as we only have limited space on all of our boats. Please note once any alcohol has been consumed, you are not allowed to go into the water again until the following day.
PADI standards recommend you leave at least 24 hours after your last dive before flying. You can fly, then dive the same day, however not dive then fly. You will complete your last dive around 12 noon on your last day of the liveaboard trip, so flying the next day anytime after noon will be ok. Other activities to avoid are sky diving, hot air ballooning and going to Kuranda.
You should ensure you have travel insurance which specifies medical evacuation and support for scuba diving, or purchase DAN membership for dive and other emergency support at www.danseap.org, Australian residents can check to see if their ambulance service will pay the cost of a diver evacuation.

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