Call Colorado Dive + Travel Adventures: 719.322.6941


The Great Barrier Reef + Minke Whales: June 27-July 4, 2024


Minke Whale Dive Expeditions – A unique opportunity on the Great Barrier Reef

Dwarf minke whales travel through the Great Barrier Reef each winter, with most sightings occurring during June and July.  The Great Barrier Reef is the only location where snorkel and dive tours with minke whales are available and Mike Ball Dive Expeditions is one of a handful of operators licenced to operate them. Most sightings occur at Ribbon Reef # 10, where some of our best dive sites are.

Swimming with minkes – an incredible experience!

It is a truly remarkable moment when these big, beautiful whales slowly approach you and glide gracefully past. As you come eye to eye with these amazing marine creatures you’ll realise just how privileged we are to share the ocean with them.

Minke expeditions are suitable for both snorkelers and scuba divers.  The close-up whale action combined with excellent winter visibility on the Ribbon Reefs makes for great diving.  A code of practice is in place to manage safety for both divers and whales, providing the maximum opportunity to see whales at very close range while ensuring the whales interact on their terms. Most diver and whale interactions occur while snorkelling.

The itinerary is dictated by the whales, visiting areas of high minke activity and our key dive sites.  The number of scuba dives advertised is the approximate number of dives provided but may vary to enable our whale-focused itinerary.  Since commencing Minke Whale Expeditions in 1996 we have had a 98% success rate. The largest pod seen was 28 whales, the longest encounter was 10 hours. Every day has a high probability of whale encounters.  If we are not able to locate whales at our usual sites, up to two hours at a time is spent searching for whales further afield.  If none are sighted, we will dive as many of the Ribbon Reef sites as possible.

The Whales

Dwarf minkes whales grow up to eight metres in length, weigh several tonnes and are very inquisitive. An average interaction consists of 2 – 3 whales for approximately 90 minutes. The largest minke pod seen was 28 whales, the longest encounter 10 hours. However, minke whales are wild animals and can be unpredictable; past success does not guarantee future success.

Research is continuing to define the exact species of the dwarf minke whale that visits the Great Barrier Reef.  There are two known species of minke whales, the North Atlantic minke whale and the slightly larger Antarctic minke whale.  It is thought that the Great Barrier Reef dwarf minke whale is related to the North Atlantic minke, or is an un-named species.

Video is courtesy of Undersea Productions

7 Night Ultimate Minke Whale Expedition

7 Nights / Up to 22 Dives.  An expedition dedicated to maximising your in-water interactions at the world’s only known minke whale aggregation sites, whilst enjoying the diverse marine life of the Ribbon Reefs.  Sites, where minkes are most often seen, may be visited several times.


MV Spoilsport is Australia’s most awarded liveaboard dive boat. Custom built to provide superb dive and guest facilities, Spoilsport has a twin hull design which maximises stability and passenger comfort in all conditions. Measuring 30m in length, Spoilsport has a dedicated crew of 12 people including the dive team, Master, chef and host.

We have everything you need for a comfortable, enjoyable liveaboard dive expedition. Guest cabins are a combination of double and twin share. All are air-conditioned and are serviced daily. Relax in the spacious lounge / bar inside, or head up to the sun deck and enjoy the view over the Coral Sea. Our award-winning food and service caters to all dietary requirements. Your chef prepares all meals fresh and vegetarians are well-catered for with their own dedicated menu. There is a reason Spoilsport is Australia’s most awarded diving liveaboard!

Mike Ball Dive Expedition includes:
  • Daily serviced, air conditioned accommodation in twin/double cabins
  • Delicious meals & snacks, complimentary soft drink or wine with evening meal
  • Tanks, air fills and weight belt
  • Reef ecology programme
  • Dive computer workshop
  • Cultural and historical walking tour of Lizard Island (Coral Sea Safari guests only)
  • Transfer to either our office, the airport or inner city hotel after your expedition

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority requires all visitors to pay an Environmental Management Charge of $7.00 per day (max 3 days) spent on the Great Barrier Reef.   amount will be added to your onboard bar bill.

Mike Ball Dive Expedition does not include:
  • International Airfare Denver (DEN) to Cairns (CNS)
  • Anything not mentioned on inclusions above
  • Rental dive gear
  • Scuba training
  • Nitrox $150
  • Crew gratuities
Complete Package Pricing – starting at $4459 AUD ($3010 USD).

Prices are per person in AUD, based on double occupancy.  Prices are subject to fluctuation and will always be satisfied by the AUD rate.

$1000 AUD = $675 USD (as of November 2022)

  • Budget Cabin – $4459 AUD ($3010 USD)
  • Club Cabin – $5233 AUD ($3533 USD)
  • Standard Cabin – $5990 AUD ($4044 USD)
  • Premium Cabin – $6521 AUD ($4403 USD)

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority requires all visitors to pay an Environmental Management Charge of $7.00 per day (max 3 days) spent on the Great Barrier Reef. This amount will be added to your onboard bar bill.


Deposit:  $1000 to reserve your space ($500 deposit is non-refundable)

Subsequent Payment:  $1500 is due on December 20, 2023

Final Payment:  Balance is due on March 20, 2024

Passport requirement – must have 6 months remaining until expiration date upon return to USA.

For all dive trips, consider purchasing travel insurance, and dive accident insurance.  Both are highly recommended, and are made available to purchase!

To purchase DAN dive accident insurance, please scroll to the bottom of this page, and click on the DAN banner link, Join DAN Today!, then follow the prompts on DAN’s website.

To purchase travel insurance, please scroll to the bottom of this page, and click on the DAN banner link, Purchase Travel Insurance?, then follow the prompts on DAN’s website.


Some sunscreen ingredients are not safe for corals; these include oxybenzone. Research indicates that these chemicals can cause DNA damage to corals, promote viruses in corals, and contribute to the bleaching of corals. So that we can help protect our reefs, we encourage our guests to choose and use a sunscreen that is “coral safe”.

To purchase eco-friendly sunscreen products, please scroll to the bottom of this page, and click on the Stream2Sea banner link, use code, “cleanreef” for a 10% discount.


Price is per person and based on double occupancy and items specified. Space is subject to availability, price subject to change without notice and not guaranteed until deposit is received. Cost for airfare cannot be guaranteed until paid and ticketed. Some restrictions may apply.

* Credit card or any payments made through the PayPal invoice will be charged an additional 3.5% (5% international payers). This fee covers the cost of the PayPal fee. Venmo, Zelle, Send Money to Friends and Family, and checks are always welcome.

If interested, please contact Andy Skuntz, at Colorado Dive + Travel Adventures, email to, or call at 719-322-6941. This exciting trip will fill up fast.

Trip flyer, terms and conditions, and a trip application will be provided. Once the application is complete, please return to Andy via fax or email, then an invoice for the designated deposit will be provided.


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