Northern New Guinea

The northern islands of Papua New Guinea offer diving that is quite different fromthat of Milne Bay, Tufi, Madang, or other quadrants of the country.

The area around Rabaul was a major World War II battle site, so it boasts manyrather deep (but a few shallow) wrecks. There are some aircraft wrecks which makewonderful "props" for underwater photography.

As you move north and West from New Britain Island to New Ireland and New Hanover,more spectaculars await. I myself most enjoy dive sites, such as the Der Yang wrecknear Kavieng, a wreck site absolutely swarming with schools of jacks, tuna, and rainbowrunners until we divers disperse them.

There are several excellent reef sites, though reef life is not the strong suitof the reefs off these islands. Instead, the good dive sites scored with divers becauseof the presence of big animals.

These sites in particular stand out in one's memory for years after the dives.One is called, simply, "The Fish Place", and was it ever! This area hasa flat sand bottom at about 85 feet which is the top of an undersea formation overwhich nourishing currents flow. Hang on to a boulder and watch the water around youfill with spadefish, jacks, tuna, and barracuda in crystal-clear water.

"Chapman's #2" is another seamount with current flowing around it, whereeverything from 600 pound groupers to sharks, tuna, turtles, and rays swim aroundyou -- Marvellous!

The Silvertip Reef is home to a small group of these majestic sharks who put onan amazing performance when they feed. Not only are they beautiful, they are fearless,and they swim right up to us to see which of us had the food!

For those who enjoy small creatures, the wreck of the freighter TAIYO lies onher side just a few feet beneath the surface. Parts of her bulk are covered withsoft corals, fans, crinoids, and their associated reef fish. As a bonus, a Japanesemini-submarine lies upright a mere hundred feet from TAIYO!

With three major live-aboards offering these sensational sites, I'll be happyto steer you to the cruise that fits your needs best.

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