Papua New Guinea for 10 days in the Solomon Sea
I am proud and humbled to join Master Liveaboards on their first exploration of the northern coast of Papua New Guinea. I spent a year exploring this coastline whilst working at Tufi Resort, Oro Province and this destination remains one of the most incredible I have ever experienced. The trip runs from 10th – 20th December 2019; read on to see why you should put this location on your bucket list.
Recalling my first dive in PNG
Zipping out across the glass-like ocean I can remember the clarity in the sky, the water beneath our hull teeming with dolphins, and the odd whale breaching. The first dive site was Mullaway where the reef edge drops from 8m to what looks like infinity, and gin-clear water provided brilliant visibility.
I threw on my gear, jumped in and was overwhelmed by stunning healthy reefs, and more species of fish and marine life than I have ever seen in one location. We descended to our target, a small spear at the head of the reef some 30m down. Sure enough, just as the guide Archie had promised there was an abundance of larger pelagic and more importantly to me, sharks.
In the days leading up to this dive I had spent time in Port Moresby (PNG Capital) organising paperwork, confirming work visas, meeting the boss etc etc. There was much mention of the elusive ” White Hammerhead” around Tufi reefs which I suspected was more myth than reality.
Back to the dive
Hovering over the soft corals, miniature fish buzzing everywhere with the odd Spanish Mackerel giving chase my eyes could not keep still. Shark after shark cruised on by; white tips, black tips, a silky and then out of the blue, a Hammerhead. I bet you are expecting it to be the white one; nope, she came in two minutes later! A 3m female scalloped hammer with a significantly whiter than white glow. I couldn’t believe my eyes, whipping a look at Archie I could see the wry grin from behind his regulator that said it all. “Told you so.”
Tufi Reefs, Papua New Guinea
I will never forget my time at Tufi exploring the multitude of reefs and bommies and I am eternally grateful to Tufi’s owners and the local village chiefs for affording me the freedom to deviate from the known charts and explore new sites, map them, name them, and enjoy them. The outer reefs are large and extensive, with most descending to 70m and a few go well beyond 150m. This depth allows for good water movement, healthy nutrients and ultimately a very well stocked bio-diverse aquatic life. The majority of the reefs reach up to 4m from the surface which allows dive times to extend well past the 1 hour mark. The general dive profile was to drop to 20-30m, see the big stuff and as air supplies reduce slowly make our way along the reef capturing the odd snap shot of a sleeping shark or large coral wrasse as we shallowed. Finishing the dive on top of the reef and mooching for macro allows for arguably the best way to conduct a safety stop.
Remote diving at its finest in PNG
I have dived all over the world and in some of the most sought after locations but I have yet to find a location that compares to Papua New Guinea. During my tenure at Tufi I never saw another dive boat on location. I dived almost every day and the closest I came to seeing another boat was local fisherman and their kids in hand paddled canoes.
The liveaboard and I
Its fair to say that I know the Tufi reefs almost blindfolded and as such I will help the staff formulate the dive schedule and itinerary. In addition I will be open to any questions, pointers or assistance our guests may have. I am an avid photographer and more than happy to help with advice on camera use and post shot editing to make the best of our time on board and maximise your kudos with fellow divers upon your return home. Lets face it, we all love a cracking photo!
In addition, I will be giving advice on how we can help with marine research, in particular, endangered species. How to identify them, how to dive with them and how to pass your findings on to the relevant research agency such as Shark Guardian for whom I am an ambassador. I get my kicks out of providing an amazing experience for my guests so please do ask as much as you wish. Although the odd beer certainly helps the brain work as the sun goes over the yard arm.
The Tufi community and I
I returned to Tufi to host a Nomadic Scuba expedition with 23 guests and we received a beautiful warm welcome. Having lived and worked there I got to know the locals very well, especially the Tufi staff and in particular the dive guides. Tufi’s dive guides are all local men, they are all generous, humble and kind. They are also my PNG brothers that I had the honour to work with day in day out and up-skill their dive knowledge. We may have the privilege of diving with my boys whilst on this trip, and I assure you that if we do, then they’ll stay in your memories as much as the dive locations themselves. Those of you wishing to spend extra time at Tufi either before or after the trip will certainly have the pleasure of diving with Andrew, Alex, Diaz, Wesley, Mani and Glen.
You can view more footage I have taken during my time in PNG here including our latest Blackjack dive:
The boat is filling up fast, with Papua New Guinea becoming the next sought after location there are only 5 places remaining I would urge you to get on board if you are contemplating it. To make a reservation just get in touch with me by email, social media or WhatsApp (+61499021920) and simply request a reservation. Once we have your deposit you are then confirmed on the boat. Be quick though, I’d hate for you to miss out.
Further adventures with Nomadic Scuba:
Ten days in the Solomon Sea exploring the pristine reefs off the coast of Oro Province, Papua New Guinea.
Together with the highly experienced crew of the MV Taka we will be embarking on a journey through the remote waters of PNG between Tufi Resort and Goodenough Island.
The glass-like waters of the Solomon Sea are rich in nutrients and provide the aquatic life with the food-rich environment rarely seen in many locations nowadays.
Using my knowledge of the location and this excellent vessel I would be highly surprised if we see another boat during the 10 day trip.
Bring cameras and lots of memory cards as you will certainly be needing plenty of storage.