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The Captain’s Blog: We Deliver!



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.

Photo: Julia Summerling

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!”

Photo: Julia Summerling

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.

Photo: Julia Summerling

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!

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


Midlands Diving Chamber donates £20k to Bite-Back



Hyperbaric and dive medical experts, Midlands Diving Chamber (MDC), has underpinned its long-term support of Bite-Back Shark & Marine Conservation with a one-off donation of £20,000, as the Rugby-based diving doctors wind down the charitable side of its operation.

The donation represents the single biggest financial contribution made to Bite-Back, delivering a huge boost to its campaigns to end the UK trade in shark products.

Spokesperson for Midlands Diving Chamber, Sally Cartwright, said: “For years we’ve admired and supported the ground-breaking work that Bite-Back is doing to save, protect and celebrate sharks. It’s a genuine pleasure to help ensure it stays at the forefront of shark conservation in the UK.”

Midland Diving Chamber first supported the charity at the inaugural Bite-Back at Cancer event in 2007 and then annually for the next six years. It even hosted its own James Bond-themed party on the Thames to fundraise for the marine NGO.

Campaign director for Bite-Back, Graham Buckingham, said: “We can’t thank MDC enough for its continued support and now for this massive contribution to our pioneering shark conservation campaigns. It makes us very proud that the country’s premier diving medical experts have chosen to back our campaigns that extend from parliament to primary schools. This financial windfall will allow us to continue to lead the shark conservation agenda in the UK and deliver measurable shark conservation breakthroughs to keep the oceans healthy.”

Bite-Back’s No Fin To Declare campaign to end the UK’s import and export of shark fins is now just months away from achieving Royal Ascent into law and, earlier this month it launched a free 56-page teaching resource for Key Stage 2 & 3 students on the importance of sharks and the threats they face.

Midlands Diving Chamber is based at St. Cross Hospital in Rugby and operates a hyperbaric decompression chamber offering NHS funded recompression to divers with Decompression Illness (DCI) together with other Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) treatments. Any diver with medical concerns should contact MDC on either 01788 579 555 or 07931 472 602.

Find out more about Bite-Back at

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Marine Life & Conservation

Watch The Real Watergate from Live Ocean Foundation (Trailer)



Sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke established Live Ocean Foundation out of their deep concern for health of the ocean and the life in it. Through their sport they champion action for the ocean, taking this message to the world.

Many of the issues the ocean faces are out of sight, but the science is clear, the ocean is in crises from multiple stressors; climate change, pollution and over-fishing. We’re not moving fast enough, not even close.

Live Ocean Foundation supports exceptional marine scientists, innovators and communicators who play a vital role in the fight for a healthy future.

Thanks to generous core donors who cover their operating costs, 100% of public donations go directly towards the marine conservation projects they support.

Find out more at


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Brothers, Daedalus, Elphinstone, Rocky Island, Zabargad, St Johns, Fury Shoals, Ras Banus and much much more! 14 nights on board Big Blue - and you can clock up 40+ dives on this trip! For more information call us on 0203 515 9955 or check out the e-brochure here: More Less

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