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Scuba Diving - - Getaways -

WHEN TO GO The sev­e­nand eight- night itin­er­ar­ies run mid-june to early Septem­ber, and mid- Novem­ber to end of De­cem­ber. The 10- night sig­na­ture itin­er­ary runs April to mid-june and Septem­ber to mid- Novem­ber. The New Bri­tain South Coast itin­er­ary is of­fered in Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary, and the trans-solomon Sea 12- night trips run in March.

TRAV­EL­ERS TIPS Fly from LA di­rect to Bris­bane in 14.5 hours, change planes for a three- hour flight to Port Moresby, and then change again for the 90- minute flight to Hoskins. From the air­port to the boat takes an hour. Divers get an ex­tra 33- pound bag­gage al­lowance on top of the stan­dard 33 pounds for do­mes­tic flights.

Good choco­late is hard to come by, as are the lat­est DVD re­leases. Take a few bars and some movies on a mem­ory stick for the crew.

Us­ing a PNG spe­cial­ist like Best of PNG (be­stof­png. com), it’s easy to com­bine a cruise with cul­tural land tours or re­sort div­ing at one of the five dive re­sorts else­where in the coun­try.

DIVE CON­DI­TIONS With tem­per­a­tures be­tween 83 and 88 de­grees F, only a light wet­suit or skin is re­quired. Vis­i­bil­ity runs be­tween 60 and 120 feet, and there are mild cur­rents on pin­na­cles on ris­ing and fall­ing tides.

OP­ER­A­TOR Fe­b­rina (fe­b­rina .com) has seven be­low- deck en-suite cab­ins with in­di­vid­ual air con­di­tion­ing, which house 12 divers. It’s not a lux­ury boat, but the crew pro­vides five-star ser­vice.

PRICE TAG Prices per per­son dou­ble oc­cu­pancy run from $3,720 for the eight­night South Coast itin­er­ary to $5,640 for the 12- night Milne Bay to Rabaul run.

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