The Captain’s Blog: All ducks in a row


Another Blog from Mike Ball Dive Expedition’s Captain Trevor Jackson

Refit on Spoilsport has to be seen to be believed. There’s so much going on at once it would make your head spin… in fact, it DOES make your head spin! Engineers are ripping stuff out and rebuilding. Welders carve chunks of metal out and tack new ones in. The crew are grinding and painting, replacing mattress’s and pillows, cleaning A/C units and replacing carpets. There’s usually someone hanging off a harness somewhere, and some really small person tucked into an even smaller hole. And DUST and HEAT!

It lasts for exactly four weeks, almost to the minute. And when it’s over, the boat looks great and the crew look… well… stuffed! Lucky for us, it’s a brand new, well-rested and fresh crew that are jumping on board for the first trip. The refit crew stand on the wharf and watch the revitalised boat steam off into the sunset and off to a new year.

The first trip out is always super busy. Because we are a ship, some things can only be finalised at sea, in ‘at sea’ conditions. So each year, just after we clear the leads, I call the crew in for a little pep talk… it goes something like this.

“You know when your down in the botanical gardens and you’re watching the ducks swim around in the lake? Those ducks just glide along so silently and peacefully,  they look like they don’t have a care in the world… But, if you were to look under the duck, you’d see their little pair of legs spinning around at a hundred miles a minute…. a turmoil of activity… yet on the surface… peace and tranquillity. Well, that’s what we are gonna need this week. We are going to provide an awesome trip for our guests and I know that some of you guys are going to be busier than usual, but if any post refit issues pop up… well… YOU guys are the ducks (pointing at the dive and galley crews)… and YOU guys are the legs (pointing at the mates and engineers). Everyone got it?”

The first trip after refit is always awesome. It’s not just because the boat seems like brand new. It’s the crew: they are super excited to be back at sea after a month, and that excitement rubs off on everyone. There’s a great sense of camaraderie built from knowing they have to go the extra mile and a sense of pride in knowing, that if they do their jobs right, it won’t matter how quick those little duck legs have to spin… all anyone will ever see, is the ducks!

Find the expedition you are looking for at:

Mike Ball Dive Expeditions

Mike Ball Dive Expeditions

Mike Ball Dive Expeditions operates exciting scuba diving expeditions on custom-built, award-winning liveaboard Spoilsport, to some of the best dive sites on the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Enjoy spectacular biodiversity on the northern Great Barrier Reef including the world famous Cod Hole, or venture out into the remote Coral Sea for exciting big fish action, shark encounters and excellent visibility. Find out more at

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