Papua New Guinea
Pick from World War II wrecks, big fish out in the Bismarck Sea, and strange critters to hunt down in PNG, ground central for lovers of muck diving
Papua New Guinea is one of those mystical dive destinations that appear on most serious divers’ bucket lists. The marine diversity is second to none. With a sparse population spread across terrain that boasts volcanoes and thick rain forest, there is plenty to explore. There are three main dive destinations: the long spit of island that is New Ireland in the north of the country, the northeast and southeast coast of crescent-shaped New Britain, and sites around the main island of New Guinea. The infrastructure is thin on the ground, so a liveaboard is a good option to explore a range of sites. But there are also several excellent resorts for land-based diving, including some within easy reach of the capital, Port Moresby. On the southern edge of the Pacific's “ring of fire,” the island of New Britain is dotted with volcanoes, protecting many of the bays on the north of the island. In that curve, Kimbe Bay is believed to be the place where the world's coral originated and spread from, meaning it has the oldest reefs on earth. There are some striking sea mounts, with thick marine life. PNG saw heavy fighting during World War II, and the evidence is still visible through much of the country. The town of Rabaul and neighbouring Simpson Harbour are the “wreck capital” of the country. It was a major Japanese naval base, and around 65 ships sank to the bottom during Allied attacks. Facing the open ocean from the western tip of New Ireland, Kavieng is famous for currents and big pelagics, notably grey reef sharks, trevally and barracuda. There are again plenty of wrecks. New Ireland and New Hanover have very deep water close to shore, bringing in large critters. PNG is famous as the home of “muck” diving, scouring through silty waters for odd critters. Milne Bay at the eastern end of the island of New Guinea made the practice famous, but is now dived less frequently. The town of Alotau is a jumping off point for trips around the bay. Diving around the capital, Port Moresby, features interesting “muck” sites and an abundance of rare and unusual critters There are also dive resorts north along the east coast of New Guinea, stretching from the fjords of Tufi further north to Madang and Wewak. Dive shops are beginning to cater to tech divers with rebreather and nitrox diving. But being a remote destination, it’s important to check that your PNG dive operator can handle your requirements.
Febrina • Tufi Resort • Walindi Plantation Resort