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Eastern Fields
 

Golden Dawn Live-Aboard

 

Eastern Fields are true oceanic reef systems lying some 100 miles south of Port Moresby in the northern part of the Coral Sea. Unlike Osprey & Bouganville Reefs in the Australian part of the Coral Sea, Eastern Fields is not subject to the frequent and damaging cyclones that batter this part of the Pacific Ocean from January - March. As a consequence Eastern Fields are unsullied.

Like all oceanic reefs Eastern Fields seem to rise from the abyssal depths. The outer walls plunge thousands of feet to the sea bed below. And with no runoff from nearby islands (there are none!) and with such deep water all around visibility here can be so awesome that it defies description! Eastern Fields are the remnant of some long forgotten volcanic island that has, through time, slowly sunk back into the sea. Because of the clarity of the water sunlight filters to far greater depths than normal, and the constant upwellings of fresh and nutrient rich water coral growth is rich and furious. Not only do corals grow to great depths but corals that are normally associated with deep water, such as larger sea fans, huge soft coral and black coral trees can be found in relatively shallow waters. You do not need to go deep here to see some of the most spectacular coral formations in the world.

And because of the rich coral growth, the nutrient-laden currents and the pristine condition of the entire ecosytem, the food chain is intact and magnificent. Billions of fish billow across the reef - anthias, fuseliers, humbugs, etc in a profusion of colour an shapes. Higher up the food chain an be found great schools of snapper, bass, jacks, barracuda and batfish surge around the corners of the reef where the current is strongest. And higher still can be found apex predators - rainbow runners, dogfin tuna, and, of course, sharks. Here at Eastern Fields many species of shark can be found. Perhaps most common are grey reefs, whitetips and silvertips, but it is not uncommon to sea schooling hammerheads, or the odd bronze whaler. If you are lucky, you may see a tiger shark or a great hammerhead! Golden Dawn only does 5 or 6 trips to Eastern Fields in any one year. As a consequence the sharks are curious of humans and imminently approachable - or should that be we humans are very intriguing and imminently approachable!!!

Diving in the Eastern Fields is perhaps best described as "gorilla diving". It is certainly not for the faint hearted, nor for the inexperienced. The diving is done over deep water, with strong currents, and amongst creatures with little respect for divers!!! If you want to be engulfed by a swirling school of barracuda or watch 40 grey reef sharks enjoy a feeding frenzy then this is perhaps the best place in the world to go! But Eastern Fields has some subtle surprises too! The biggest, fattest and juciest soft coral trees in the world; none of your cauliflower-sized numbers here - they can be bigger than a human, and in the most vivid reds, yellows, purples, blues and pinks. Search amongst these intensely coloured fronds and you will find coral crabs and shrimps, nudibranchs and dainty shells. Sea fans of barn door proportions, on the downstream side of which schools of glassfish nestle from the sweeping currents. On the sea fans can be found gobies mimicking perfectly the colour of their habitat; cowries that even have little tufty growths that match the feeding polyps of the sea fan. And amongst the myriad and multi-coloured feather stars that perch upon every coral head you may even find a rhinopias or two!


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