This is one liveaboard dive trip that truly will be one week of your life that you will never forget on this trip of a lifetime as you dive with sharks and man sized giant potato cod fish.
This Great Barrier Reef Coral Sea Safari will showcase all of the best dive sites that Australia has to offer with the highlight of "Diving with Sharks".
On our 7 day liveaboard dive trips from Cairns we will take you to pristine reefs that are far away from the coastline to areas where the clarity of water is amazing out in the depths of the coral sea and where there is no other boat traffic.
This region of the Coral Sea has such an amazing diversity of the marine life due to its remoteness, tidal currents that the marine life use as highways that you are sure to see things you may never have seen before on a liveaboard dive trip.
This area is so pristine and amazing that Sir David Attenborough has said it is his most favourite place in the world and not enough people come to witness its beauty!
Dive amongst the gargantuan coral gardens, experience drift diving along 1,000 m tall coral walls and get a chance to dive with opportunistic sharks on our signature shark dives.
These magnificent streamlined predatory creatures are amazing to watch under water and still inspire heart-stopping awe as you see them and get close to them eye to eye in their domain.
A mid tour stopover where some guests leave and others arrive at the exclusive Lizard Island really sets this liveaboard dive expedition apart as you get the opportunity to explore the famous island that Captain James Cook used as a lookout to plan a route out of the reef, - a view that is still the same all these centuries later. It is now host to a luxury resort for the loved up couples and the rich and famous from all over the world.
Any other time of the year you can look forward to spending time with sea turtles (this area boasts having 6 of the 7 marine turtle species on the planet), rays, sharks, massive Humphead Parrotfish, schooling Trevally and Barracuda, dog size Maori Wrasse and diver size Potato Cod fish and Groupers.
For the small critter fans and macro photographers, there are Nudibranch, Gobies and Blennies, pipe horses, moray eels and clown fish.
If you wish to bring the whole family we will accept children on our liveaboard dive trips over 8 years old with any divers to be over 12 years old with dive certificates.
If your group has non-divers there is amazing snorkeling at the dive sites and being a large boat there is ample room to relax on the top deck (sun chairs provided) or in the sumptuous living area (with 2 flat screen TV’s and DVD’s).
As we are in a remote location with sometimes strong currents divers will be required to be experienced Open Water divers or Advanced divers.
Please note: This extended liveaboard Great Barrier Reef dive trip is not recommended for newly certified divers.
The visibility of the waters tend to be consistently clear and temperatures are comfortable and range from around 22 degrees celcius (71 fahrenheit) (August – October) to 30 degrees celcius (86 degrees fahrenheit) ( (Feb-May) – the rest of the time its in between.
Departure Dates (current as of 08/11/2023):
2024 Departure dates: 4, 11, 18, 25 January | 2, 9, 16, 23 | 1 August | 12, 26 September | 3, 31 October | 12 December
2025 Departure dates: 2, 9, 16, 23 January
You will board your liveaboard luxury vessel for the week at the Cairns Marina.
Arriving at 6 pm you will be introduced and welcomed to all the crew, where you can settle in your cabin and relax on the boat.
Sit on the top deck or in the lounge area and watch the amber glow of another beautiful tropical sunset as the final rays of the day disappear behind the mountains of the Great Dividing Range.
Overnight the vessel will make its way to the remote and pristine reefs of the far north Osprey Reef and the surrounding ribbon reefs of the Great Barrier Reef.
The dive sites visited on this trip are numerous and varied and will depend mainly on the season, conditions, currents and prevailing weather conditions.
The following are a selection of dive sites that are usually dived:
The world famous Cod Hole is the most famous dive site on the Great Barrier Reef. Aptly named after the diver-sized Potato Cod that inhabits the area.
These Cod can grow up to a weight of 30 kg (66 lbs) and are highly inquisitive and friendly with divers.
The curious Maori Wrasse, who are the size of a large dog and like to follow divers, will also most likely follow you around like a puppy dog.
For all photographers, make sure you have your wide angled lens for this dive – the fish are huge.
The science in naming dive sites is pretty simple. Due to lack of imagination, or just being obvious this dive site is called the Snake Pit due to the plethora of resident sea snakes here.
Diving on this site you are likely to encounter an Olive Sea Snake (or even a few of them) who call this dive site ‘home’.
Although they are highly venomous they are docile, non-aggressive and to date there is no known record of any diver fatalities from any encounters with them here.
The topography of this dive site is interesting and consists of two large bommies (coral mountains) in 10-30 m (30-90 ft).
There are some stunning drop-offs, sand flats and picturesque coral gardens to explore.
Apart from the sea snakes you can see sweetlips, sharks, stingrays, coral trout, gropers, batfish, triggerfish and turtles.
The Fairy Grotto
No, you won’t see fairies here (or anything called a fairy fish), but you will feel like you are diving in a fairy fantasyland.
This dive site is known for its crystal clear water and plummeting reef walls. You can swim into small caverns, through swim-throughs and along a towering 1,000 m (3,300 ft) sea wall.
With the amazing formations of corals here giving a really grotto feel as fan corals fan the small caverns and see sheltering bat fish, sweetlips and lionfish.
This site comprises of a series of large coral bommies in close proximity of each other. The gaps between these bommies make an interesting maze of canyons and gullies that are just so fun to explore.
The dive site dips down gently and you can see in the sand waving garden eels before the bottom turns into a wall with a 1,000 ft drop off (3,300 ft).
Admiralty Anchor provides the underwater photographer with plenty of great photo opportunities, with its colourful corals and schools of pelagic fish.
A large divide in the Great Barrier Reef gives this dive site its name. A large U-shaped gully gradually descends to around 30m (90ft).
There are also large amounts of bommies that rise up from the gully floor that make the topography of this dive so interesting.
Fans, whips and soft corals hide out of site in the undercuts, while a variety of hard corals inhabit the higher levels.
Schooling Big Eye Trevally and Barracudas are great entertainment and you might be lucky to see passing silver, grey reef and white tip sharks passing.
This geographical point creates plenty of shark action.
Located at the northern most tip of Osprey Reef these are where two ocean currents converge, so great to view the larger pelagic passing through.
You might be lucky to see a passing hammerhead, but there are many silver, grey reef, grey whalers and white tip sharks that converge here.
It’s at this site that makes a spectacular site for the shark dive.
Aside from the amazing shark action you will also see dog tooth tuna, mackerel, rainbow runners, barracuda, various code species and decorative soft coral, sea whips and the largest gorgonian fans that can be seen on the Great Barrier Reef.
Midway through your expedition you get to stop at Lizard Island and walk on your sea legs.
Explore Watson’s Bay and climb the hill to Chinaman’s Ridge, where Captain Cook once stood to get his bearings at “Cook’s Lookout”.
The view you see today has changed very little since all those centuries ago.
The Dingaal Aboriginal people believed that these islands had been created in the Dreamtime.
Together they saw the islands like a stingray with Lizard Island being the body and the other islands in the group forming the tail and called the island Jiigurru.
The name Lizard Island dates back to 12 August 1770 when Captain Cook visited. He commented, "The only land Animals we saw here were Lizards, and these seemed to be pretty Plenty, which occasioned my naming the Island Lizard Island."
By the 1860s the island was being used by sea cucumber fishermen to supply this popular delicacy to the markets in Asia.
Due to its secluded location and amazing scenery this island is often frequented by A-list celebrities such as Kate Hudson, Tiger Woods, Charlize Theron and Teri Hatcher.
It is now protected as part of a National Park and hosts an exclusive resort on the island, aptly called Lizard Island Resort.
Once back on the open sea again, you will be diving again at the most amazing dive sites on the Great Barrier Reef.
Challenger bay allows you to dive steep sloping walls that adjoin a shallow sandy bay that is dotted with small bommies and beautiful coral gardens.
For divers who want to dive to watch fish - and lots of them - this is a great site. This site is also the equivalent of a fish health farm and the site is littered with many cleaning stations.
Watch how the fish queue up to be next in line at these service points. See sweetlips, coral trout, triggerfish, angelfish and rock cods all taking their turn for a bit of a pamper.
Schooling fish also tend to congregate here so you can see barracuda, the massive humphead parrotfish, snappers, reef sharks, cuttlefish, colonies of garden eels, nudibranch and moray eels.
During winter, Lighthouse Bommie becomes a great place to spot the amazing Minke Whale. During the rest of the year it plays host to Green Turtles and large schools of yellow and blue Snapper.
Goggle Gardens usually requires more than one dive, as you discover and dive along the ancient riverbed and its adorning walls, sandy flats, coral bommies and sandy flats.
Vertical Gardens is only accessible to the lucky few who are around for the few days a year when conditions are right.
This dive site is a natural amphitheatre and is a perfect underwater viewing gallery. Watch the marauding herd of large bumphead parrotfish and hear them as they crunch their way through the reef with their massive parrot shaped mouths.
For the small critter fanciers you might see harlequin ghost fish, lace scorpion fish and leafy scorpion fish.
Though not sure who Steve was – he certainly has an impressive dive site named after him. Steve’s Bommie is one of the Great Barrier Reefs more frequented and favourite sites.
Located off one of the ribbon reefs, bommies rise from 30 m (90ft) to just under the surface. These natural towers offer protection and shelter for a variety of schooling fish.
Bigeye trevally, barracuda, Moses perch, yellow-lined snapper, and mackerel really make this site special, while reef sharks patrol the depths.
For the keen macro photographer there are nudibranchs, pipefish, scorpionfish, flatworms, lionfish and mantis shrimps among other small critters that will fill your lens.
See the amazing effects of a Flame Shell as it pulses its own neon light show and the resident clown fish hiding amongst the waving anemones.
These are only some of the dive sites that your amazing 26 dives on your 7 nights dive safari will see.
After your last dive you will return to Cairns overnight where you will arrive back and disembark at 8.00am at Trinity Wharf.
Daily cabin service with a 12 person highly experienced crew
Spacious living areas including bar and lounge, a large sundeck with lounge chairs and alfresco deck
Expansive dive deck with well-designed entry and exit platforms
2 large screen TVs
Freshwater camera rinse tanks and specially designed Camera tables with air guns
Daily presentations will be given by the safari’s Marine Biologist
Nitrox mix air available
Rebreather support available
2 large inflatable tenders for optimal dive access
Dive Boats Specifications:
Commissioned 1989 | Survey – 1B (29 pax)
Speed – 15 knots
Length - 30 m (100ft) Beam – 10.5m (35ft)
Instruments on Board:
HF & VHF Radios
Global Positioning Systems x 2
240V /110V Recharge Facilities
Chart Plotters x 2
Check My Price Now Ask Questions
PADI Advanced Diver Course
PADI Nitrox Course
All Scuba Gear Available for Hire
If you wish to rent any dive equipment then you can choose from the entire range of equipment. Fro
m BCD’s (Aqualung Wave), Regulators, computers and dive lights and snorkel gear.
By law all regulators and BCD’s provided by the dive operators have to be serviced every 6 months, so you can be rest assured that any equipment you rent will be safe and serviced.
It is strongly recommended that if you are bringing your own BCD or regulator then they should have been recently serviced within the year.
All divers are given a Nautilus Lifeline GPS (no extra rental charge), to be worn on each dive to add to the safety of each diver.
On board they have tanks compatible to European DIN and US style tank valves.
If you wish to hire an underwater camera, download and edit photos onto CD’s and DVDs then these are also available.
If you are a rebreather diver then please advise the tour organisers and they will forward pre-tour paperwork and ensure that they can support you on the trip
Rebreather services include:
MBDE Rebreather Pre-Dive Checklist for added safety
Complimentary supply of 2L aluminium, 3L steel “on board” cylinders and 7L steel “off board” cylinders (limited supply)
Extended service during Special ‘Deep Reef’ Expeditions includes:
Tri-mix rebreather service and decompression diving
Oxygen and soda lime supplied to order (fees apply)
Safety diver and bailout gas ready during decompression dives
HI 5G booster pump and fill panel
No time limit on dives (where practical)
Any depths will be limited to experience and qualifications
Please note: There is a ‘buddy only’ policy for rebreathers and decompression diving so no solo diving is allowed on this trip.
3 large camera stations with air guns
Special camera freshwater rinse tubs on diving deck
1x video/DVD player – to view videos
A 3 tier camera shelf that incorporates recharging facilities,
110v (USA style - 2 prong straight pin)
240v (Australian) socket.
All cabins also have 110v and 240v charging plugs
2x large flat screens for viewing photographs and video
In the main saloon you have access to a computer (Windows)
Win a free dive trip by entering the Guest Underwater Photo Competition that is run on every expedition.
Note: Remember to bring adaptors for the electrical sockets to suit your chargers and USB digital memory card readers.
Bring your nitrox certification card – or take a course and learn on board! Nitrox tanks and fills are available on board (at extra cost).
Your diving day will consist of:
Night Dive (at the same site as the afternoon dive)
You are offered guided dives with an experienced Dive Master who knows the area and the dives sites well, or if you prefer you can dive with your buddy.
Mid morning snacks and fruits available
Fruit and snacks
August - January
2023 Departure dates: 7, 14 (sold out), 28 (sold out) September | 12, 26 October | 9, 16 (sold out) November | 14 (sold out) December
2024 Departure dates: 4, 11, 18, 25 January | 2, 9, 16, 23 | 1 August | 12, 26 September | 3, 31 October | 12 December
2025 Departure dates: 2, 9, 16, 23 January
Scuba Diving – minimum age 12
Scuba Diving Restrictions
All cancellations must be in writing.
Please note that all cancellations will incur an administration fee.
Please see our terms and conditions for details prior to booking.
Operator’s Cancellation Policy:
Insurance should be taken to cover: weather problem; expedition cancellations; airline difficulties; medical problems and lost or damaged luggage. Unforeseen weather or machinery problems may cause us to cancel or change an itinerary. No refund is offered for time lost due to the medical evacuation of a guest or reduction of dives due to weather conditions. No compensation is offered to guests to change flights or holiday plans. DiveAssure offers cover for both Australian residents & non-residents traveling to Australia.
In line with the current Australian and Queensland Government we advise that COVID vaccination will no longer be required to travel on Mike Ball Dive Expeditions effective immediately.
We will however still require all guests to do a Rapid Antigen Test (self test) within 24 hours prior to boarding – and show negative result to board. We aim to minimise the possibility of active COVID boarding the vessel. Guests who have tested positive in the 12 weeks prior – with proof of the positive test will not be required to test.
Any guest testing positive within the 24 hours prior to boarding will NOT be permitted to board, and options for Travel Insurance or Travel Credit will be advised.
Please note that the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority requires us to collect an Environmental Management Charge of $7 per day spent on the Great Barrier Reef. This amount will be added to your bar bill at the end of your expedition.
Cancellations by MBDE:
1.Due to weather: 85% refund refund client.
Prices are AUD, per adult and include all levies fees and taxes.
Tour Code: 232