Golden Dawns - Summer cruises in Hermit & Ninigo Islands
by Captain Craig DeWit
As I write this log, we are mid-way in our first season of charters in Northern PNG. The Madang-Wewak trip was very successful, the outer reef diving from Islands like Bagabaga proving to have exceptional dives with grand scenes of lovely gorgonian fans, dropoffs, undercuts, caves, pinnacles and ledges. Fish life being equal to the best PNG has to offer with jacks, barracuda, dog tooth tuna, Spanish mackerel and bumphead parrot fish becoming common everyday encounters. At night the vessel is nestled in picturesque bays with stunning panoramic views with volcanoes in the distance rising over 6000 feet and quaint traditional villages huddled under the palms of coconut trees. The night dives at these anchorages were also a surprise, nutrient rich waters meant that the invertebrate life was abundant.
Further north the WWII wrecks in Hansa Bay and Victoria Bay have proven to be great sites, the wrecks are totally covered with marine growth, large forests of black corals, anemones and crustaceans. My personal surprise being the finding of nudibranchs, Halgerda, Ardeadoris, Kuniei, and Risbecia all of the Chromodoridadae family. Additionally, the sighting of the five twin spotted lion fish Dendrochirus biocellatus on one night dive!
At Wuvulu Island we have had some memorable dives with literally plagues of turtles, to count fifty different individuals on a dive would not be impossible (one client has remarked that they never saw that many turtles at Sipidan!). At the Ninigo Group of islands I discovered a sandy passage where large gorgonian fans stand as it at attention, the waters were swirling with schools of pelagics, and the ever graceful eagle rays hung above seemingly motionless in the blue.
On the big animal scene this season we had memorable encounters with a pod of five orcas that allowed us to observe them for over an hour, seven manta rays, a dugong, hundreds of dolphins, dozens of eagle rays, marble rays and turtles. Of course one should not forget to mention the ever present sharks which always have welcomed us on our ocean dives!
The Golden Dawn has been graced with calm seas and warm (84-86 degrees F)clear (100-150' vis) waters and while anchored at an isolated tropical island atoll watching a sunset symphony of flaming pink, orange, and reds on a far away horizon, you will surely wonder, as I do, what more could you want out of life? Craig de Wit
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