Great Barrier Reef: Mike Ball Liveaboard
I volunteered for a week: video & review
This review takes the form of a Blog entry:
The thirty-five knot wind howled across the top deck of the 25 year old twin engine catamaran of Mike Ball Dive Expeditions, as the rapidly drying wetsuits and dive gear flapped violently from the temporary clothesline.
We'd been at sea for 7 days, serving passengers from three continents who'd come to see what the Great Barrier Reef had to offer. Instead of paying the $3200+ ticket price, I'd blindly applied for one of the three volunteer positions hoping that there would be enough time for diving and shooting some footage of the reef's famous sea life.
Managing to get in eleven dives in 7 days was one thing, but finding time to keep camera and light batteries charged, video equipment prepped while being a good little bitch for 4 bosses (most of whom were young enough to be my children) proved challenging, and I had to run to keep up.
A sharp knife at 6 am in the galley for fruit platters, fruit salad and cut oranges for our eager passengers. Volunteer number 2: Ben from California, was already suitably jaded after a week of washing pots, but he'd established an amusing, mutually abusive rapport with the surly young cook called Levi, who was churning out 3 meals a day for three weeks without a day off.
Levi confided that "it's painful having to train new volunteers every two weeks, but it's better than doing your own dishes..." (picture of crew)
I thought it was ironic that these kids were all doing it "for the lifestyle" not for the relatively low pay.
Maybe it was their tiredness from the previous week's seas that had been rough enough to toss you right out of your bunk, but they didn't seem like an entirely happy bunch compared to other crews I've been around. Maybe the good lifestyle kicks in when the wind drops....
Month to Month temperatures and critters (and other info)