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

Action Asia - - FINAL FRAME -

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.

Plan­ner Con­tents

Fe­b­rina • Tufi Re­sort • Walindi Plan­ta­tion Re­sort

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