Palau

TUFI


After a recent re-fit of Golden Dawn we headed off to Tufi which is North of Milne Bay. We were invited by the Tufi Resort to look at the possibility of running a season out of there during the months of January, February, and March. The result of which we have, can you believe it, a third destination to offer (it’s all too much...).

Again we picked prime time in that area. Here reef fish are in abundance and some incredible structures of hard corals can be found. The reefs here are individual mountain peaks that rise up from over a thousand feet, the tops of which are some 20-30' below the surface and are like these huge cleaning stations. Sightings of hammerhead sharks are common and are guaranteed if you have your macro lens on your camera at the time! Two world class wrecks are in this area, the S.S. Jacob considered the best shipwreck in PNG and Black Jack, the B17 Flying Fortress considered the best airplane wreck dive in the world. We will run these in conjunction with the Dive Resort and will be offering trips of ten days. Staying at the Resort a couple of days will also add to your holiday as they offer land excursions into the deep unknown...and they have a few dive sites close by that will knock your socks off!

DIVE SITES
TONY’S BOMMIE ---

This is a large reef, 30 minutes southwest of Tufi, and we have 3 planned dives here. Some parts of the reef have still to be dived and explored.

DIVE 1 --
This dive begins about 4 meters from our boat mooring. It is a direct descent down a vertical wall to the top of a sandy saddle which separates 2 reefs. The top of the saddle is in about 35 meters. The part of the saddle we go to is only about 4 meters wide. The beginning of a huge garden eel colony starts here, fans out and descends. There are always schools of barracuda sitting at the top of the saddle and on the descent we usually see a lot of large mackerel and dog tooth tuna. Sometimes, on the saddle, there is one huge Queensland grouper, and occasionally we see manta rays coming through the passage.

We have a maximum of 3 minutes bottom time at this depth before starting a gradual ascent up the side of the opposite reef until we reach a very large gorgonian. We spend up to 10 minutes around this area with large schools of surgeon fish, trevally, turtles and sharks. We work our way up to 10 meters swim across the saddle then ascend to the top of the reef. At the depth of 3-5 meters under the boat we have a safety stop as long as possible, exploring the top of the reef for morays and the “macro lovers delights” which abound on our reefs.

DIVE 2 --
Bottom of wall varies between 25 meters and 40 meters. We spend most of the dive at 18-20 meters where there are swim through caves, cray fish, white tip sharks, black tip sharks, Tufi whalers and turtles. Excellent visabillity, a great dive.

DIVE 3 --
Moon garden dive, all different types of topography, gradual inclines, walls, saddles abundant fish of every description; so many different things in one dive.

CYCLONE REEF ---
Thirty minutes from Tufi, Cyclone Reef is a coral atoll and bird rookery. Absolutely spectacular snorkeling, this again is a large reef with several dives. There are quite a few large clams on this reef. This is an excellent snorkeling site, in fact some divers prefer to snorkel here.

The best dive here begins as a drop into a chimney and then along a wall. After swimming about 75 meters the wall becomes a more gradual incline, which then comes to a point. As soon as you reach this point the current suddenly become quite strong, though it does vary. At this point you hold onto something and just watch it all happen; sharks, barracuda, turtle, dog tooth tuna. At the end of the dive it is a relaxed drift dive over the top of the reef to the boat.

We have dived with pilot whales on a reef just past cyclone. They were around for several days.

REEF BETWEEN CYCLONE REEF AND TUFI --
Have yet to name a group of fourteen (counted so far) reefs, varying in size from football fields to tennis courts. There are a large variety of reefs and many have not yet been fully explored. One thing for sure though, there will be something spectacular on certain parts of these reefs. The other consistent thing with these reefs is sharks, the most common one being the Tufi Whaler, a big bellied Grey Whaler who is quite inquisitive, I have seen hammerheads and macho sharks here too, but they are not common. Large schools of colorful speckled trevally and surgeon fish are plentiful. In short, fish life is simply abundant - clouds of them.

STUART’S AND PAUL’S REEFS --
The two closest reefs to Tufi, both quite small but with excellent walls. Again the coral and fish life are spectacular. Barracuda and large schools of mackerel are common. ’Paul's Reef starts off with a wall, after turning the corner the wall becomes a gradual incline going down to a saddle. Looking up the wall there is a lot of soft and hard coral, schooling fish and even turtles are frequently seen. Both sites are excellent for night dives with leopard sharks, epaulette sharks, octopus, crays, moray eels, nudibranchs, flatworms, shrimps, and many other macro specimens.

MULLOWAY REEF --
One of the many reefs that we had gone past many times and only recently decided to check out and what a blow out it was, awesome. It is only a small reef, the whole reef could be circumnavigated in one dive. There is so much to see I have not been all over it as yet. Hammerhead sharks, grey whalers, white tipped, schools of jacks, schools of trevally, schools of batfish, barracuda, pinjali pinjali and much more.

FJORD DIVES AND SNORKELING --
Fjords are excellent for macro diving with gobies, nudibranchs, shrimp, clams. Most of these things can be seen by either diving or snorkeling. In addition, because of the lack of current some sponges and coral species grow unimpeded by rough water. There are some very large sponges and shelf corals which are not as common on the outer reefs.

Sincerely,Craig De WitGolden Dawn


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Modified 05-23-97