Another Blog from Mike Ball Dive Expedition’s Captain Trevor Jackson…
We were moving almost indiscernibly… three white buoys appeared in the loom of the front flood lights, our day was all but done. First Mate Ricky hauled the mooring line aboard and secured it. He turned and threw me that look, the one that says… it’s been a long, but very good day. We have a lot of these on-board Spoilsport, but this one was particularly special. Today we had pulled the proverbial rabbit, from its magic hat.
At lunch time, a few hours earlier, on the final day of the trip, we were staring down the barrel of our first ever Minke expedition, without a ‘Big Group’ interaction. A ‘Big Group’ interaction is where 10 or more Minke’s swarm the boat and hang round for ages. It’s that KA-POW moment that Spoilsport is famous for. That signature event that we pride ourselves on delivering, 100% of the time… but so far this week, the dozen or so Minke’s we had already seen had only arrived in pairs and singles… The mood on board was very jovial, the diving had been great, and the whales had put on a great show, but still, we knew we could deliver more.
That old showbiz adage… “Never work with kids or animals” was careering around in my head. You see, whilst the Minke’s decide how much fun to have once we’ve met up, we first have to find them. And if we wanted that KA-POW moment, we had to find them en masse!
After lunch I gathered the crew to the wheelhouse and spelt out our predicament: “Guys its 2.30pm. We’ve got another 2 hours to find a monster sized pod to really give our guests something they’ll talk about forever! After that our schedule has us leaving for Lizard Island. We’ve got one last throw of the dice, I’m gonna try a few sneaky spots from the old playbook, and we are going to need every set of eyes on the top deck… let’s do this!”
The crew was pumped, I was pumped, but the Minke’s…well not so much. Another two hours went by with nothing. The Trip Director came in and asked: “How long till we have to head to Lizard?” I went to answer, but was interrupted by the crackle of the radio… “MINKE’S ON THE PORT BOW, ELEVEN O’CLOCK”
15 Minke’s! The monster pod we’d been searching for! It was playtime!!!
We drifted with them till it was simply too dark to see, and in return, they put on a show for the ages. Intimate close passes, spy hops, breaches… the full monty. In a decade of Minke expeditions, I’d not seen its equal. It was as if the Minke’s had sensed our relief and joy at having found them. It was almost as if they felt the same way, or felt they owed us in some fashion. Whatever was going on, no one that was there, would ever forget it.
As the last snorkeler was counted back on board, Ricky came in and asked how far behind schedule we now were…”About two hours Ricky, but you know what…… schedules don’t matter, only the KA-POW moment matters! And when it comes to those moments, we deliver!”
Find more info on Mike Ball’s Minke Whale Dive Expeditions here!