Cod Hole- Great Barrier Reef Australia





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Introduction SuperSport Diving Procedure
The Dives Photographers Perspective Non-Photographer /  Non-Diver


This is a Mike Ball trip and I'm a Mike Ball junkie. My fourth trip with his team. Obviously I like the company. YMMV



The Cod hole trip is now the shortest trip run by Mike Ball and has 3 diving days. You can take it from Cairns to Lizard island or vice versa. I booked onto the lizard island to cairns version.

On the groundThe complete group of passengers met at the Cairns Colonial Club at 7 am on Monday for check in, review of C cards and general briefing. Up and away! We then loaded onto a mini bus for a brief (15min) trip to the airport where we boarded one of three 10 seater plans to fly to Lizard island. The flight is low level ( 200 meters) in recognition of people who may have been diving recently.

 Wreck from air En-route we had a great look at the reef and also got a good view of a wreck that had run aground a couple of years ago.

As we stepped of the plane on arrival at Lizard, we were greeted by a video camera and a couple of the crew. The departing passengers who had just come from cairns were waiting to take the same flights back.

We were quickly loaded onto Zodiacs for the trip out to Super Sport in the Lizard island bay. Top


Super Sport

Like all Mike Ball boats Super Sport is a purpose built catamaran that is around 100 feet long. It takes up to 26 passengers and has a good crew complement. There are three main decks. The top sun deck, the lower cabins and alfresco deck and the main dive deck with more cabins, dining area kitchen etc. There is also a lower deck that has some of the economy cabins ( bunks) crew quarters engine room  etc.

Facilities are good. The deluxe cabins have their own showers/toilets. The others share around 6 bathrooms. Each room is air-conditioned BUT be warned. The aircon can be mighty fierce! Its NOT adjustable in the cabins. I wasn't cold at night but some of my camera gear fogged upon leaving the room.

Food is plentiful and good quality with wine being provided at dinner. Additional alcohol can be purchased from the bar which runs on an honour system. The rule is - you drink - the days diving is over - also applies to snorkelers. Top


Diving Procedure

The boat is set up with a large dive deck, Camera table and plenty of room to stow your dive stuff. It's the routine of putting your gear together once for the trip and your tanks get filled in situ. Very convenient.

Gear stationNitrox is available for a small extra cost (AUS$20 / day) and Nitrox courses are available. I dive Nitrox and got a consistent fill at 31.4% so a MOD approx 30m - more than enough for this trip.

Good dive briefings are given at every new site, buddies arranged if required and the offer of a Guide frequently made. If there are any particular things to look out for, these are highlighted during the briefing and often the crew will place a cylume stick near unusual critters when they find them.

You are "required" to do your deepest dive first and a max depth of around 40 meters (not an issue here - can't get that deep without a shovel :-) ).

Gear viewThere is great assistance in getting in and out of the water as required, a lookout on deck at all times and a rigorous rollcall recording system. Clean towels after every dive and warm showers. Drinking water available and offered frequently. Top


The Dives

The first dive for us was at the cod hole itself. A checkout dive really, so the crew could identify those who were going to kill themselves :-)

Its quite shallow ( 20 m) and, of course, the main attraction are the giant potato cod. ( Imagine a Volkswagen with fins).

The second dive on the same site is the Cod feed which is a set piece that is video'ed. Not really my cup-of-tea and it does get silty as people flounder on the bottom but - its a big attraction.

Then off for a night dive at a local reef. Only 3 dives the first day.

The next few days were great, with sites like Lighthouse Bommie and Vertical gardens. There is massive growth on these places and heaps of hard and soft corals. Fish life is plentiful and some of the bigger pelagics turn up. Not as many sharks as you would hope - but that's the arena of the coral sea. Nudibranchs abounded and lots of anemones with attendant fish.

Visibility was between 20 and 35 meters and water temperature 26 Celsius. I wore a 3mm full length wet suit but was chilly toward evening after a number of dives. 5mm shorties are available on the boat for a nominal fee ( as well as all other equipment). Top


Photographer’s perspective

The boat is pretty well set up.

Plenty of power points ( 240V mainly but 110V available in rooms). Camera table The camera table is centrally located and - in general- kept clean of clutter ( stressed by the trip director during briefing). There is an air gun on the table if you want one.

Camera tubs are available on both side of the deck ( by the exit/entry points) and are kept filled with clean fresh water. The crew are camera savvy and more than willing to hand you your gear / collect the gear from you on each dive. There is a TV in the main dining area that you could hook your camera up to to review shots if you want. Top


Non- Photographer / non diver

This is the trip to take if you only recently qualified. Easy diving in spectacular places. Warm water and great visibility. The currents are infrequent / mild ( in my experience)  and the seas calm.

For the non-diver, snorkelers are well catered for and not treated as second class citizens. Top



Well as I said - my 4th trip with Mike Ball, and 2nd on this itinerary (others were in the coral sea). I like the atmosphere and ease of diving. The food is good, the accommodation excellent and the crew brilliant. The visibility never fails to please and there as soooo many critters to photograph!Glorious sunset

Highly recommended Top


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Page updated  Tuesday, 15 November 2005