In September 2002, Sun buddies Geordie "Goose" Klueber, Mike Geldner, Jill Debord, Curt Harpold, Chris Hanson and I boarded Mike Ball's Spoil Sport for a trip around the Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea.
As usual, Mike Ball's crew outdid themselves on hospitality and skill. The accomodations were beautiful, the food was outstanding, and the diving, of course, was spectacular. Our trip leader, Will, and our captain, Mike, knew all the great spots to take us to and even took us to some places they had never been just to check them out.
Being on a live-aboard boat for nine days allowed us to leave the crowds of Townsville, where we started, and trek around the more remote areas of the Coral Sea where the day-trip divers simply can't get to. Be sure to check out the video and the underwater photographs from the trip below.
Of course, we could not pass up a chance to to see the sights of Australia while we were out there. After returning to Townsville (and spending a day getting my land legs back in the Jupiter Hotel's casino), we hopped on a plane to Sydney, where we spent a few days sightseeing and off-gassing.
We took one day visiting the unique creatures at the Taronga Zoo and another day in the Blue Mountains just a short van ride outside of Sydney. We hired a tour guide for the day, who showed us all around the area. After a barbecue lunch, we headed off to the nature preserve, where we saw a mother kangaroo and her joey grazing just a few feet away. The preserve has a large number of kangaroos, along with some exotic birds, who did not seem to mind our invasion.
On our last night of the trip, our Aussie friend Neil ("Peel") Cossor treated us to a genuine Australian barbie at his home just outside of Sydney. Neil and Curt first met on a previous Australian dive trip and Neil joined us back in 1996 in Cozumel. While at Neil's, we feasted on stone crabs and lots of Australia's usual beverages.