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|Port Moresby and PNG Barrier Reef Dive Sites
- THE OWEN STANLEY RANGES
So named because of the resemblance to the majestic mainland mountain
range that runs the length of Papua New Guinea, the undulating
scenery of outcrops and troughs provide many interesting nooks
and crannies for you to explore. Tawny sharks are a common sight
snoozing under coral overhangs. At night Spanish Dancers, huge
red nudibranchs, can be found slithering across the corals and
- SANDY PASSAGE
A drift dive, you will be surrounded by swirls of barracuda, jacks
and tuna. The sandy floor of this channel is covered with huge
sea fans that find the 1-2 knot current an ideal medium in which
to feed. In the centre of the passage is a wonderful coral bommie
festooned with soft corals and sea fans, and sweetlips and snapper
can be found relaxing in the lee of the bommie. The reef structure
to the side of the bommie is covered in wonderful soft corals
and acroporas, home to fluttering schools of anthias.
- THE CAVES
Splits in the reef substrate allow you to penetrate caves, swim-throughs
and grottoes in the coral walls. They often appear through the
top of the reef or further along the wall. Soft light filters
through holes and cracks in the coral, and schools of glassfish
and others huddle in the cool shade. This is an excellent night
dive, being shallow and full of interesting invertebrates.
- THE PINNACLES
Three vertical towers of coral with their bases in 80ft of water,
two of which have their tops in just 10ft of water, the other
in 30ft. The smaller of the towers is covered in poisonous coraliomorphs,
stinging anemones - it is best avoided! The other towers are stunning
- the lower reaches are a thick mass of fan corals, soft corals
and clouds of anthias. Long-nosed hawkfish perch on coral outcrops
and lace sponges. Yellow-tailed fusiliers and hump-headed parrotfish
swirl in dense moving walls, while the resident hammerhead makes
a welcome appearance from time to time. Hard corals are home to
lionfish that hang against the walls, waiting for a tasty morsel
to swim past unaware! The tops of the two larger towers are covered
in a huge variety of anemones - I counted no less than 4 species
of clownfish on both structures! It is, in my opinion, one of
the most beautiful dives in the world!!!
- THE FINGER
Only a few minutes from Port Moresby Harbour, this is a coral
bommie that rises to within 40ft of the surface from a sandy patch
on the reef. The outer side of the pinnacle drops into the abyss.
Big Spanish mackerel and barracuda live among sharks and rays.
The wall of the reef is festooned with sea whips and fan corals,
shrouded in glassfish and anthias.
- SHARK ALLEY
This is a sure place to find sharks! A deep dive, it enables shark
enthusiasts to peer over the edge of the drop-off and watch literally
hundreds of sharks of many varieties hanging motionless in the
currents. Silvertips, whitetips, bronze whalers and the occasional
tiger shark are regular visitors. The reef top is covered with
splendid corals, but these may well go unnoticed!
- END BOMMIE
At the end of a coral outcrop, joined to it by a deep saddle,
End Bommie is THE place in the world to see rhinopias aphanes,
the weedy scorpionfish. Coming in a variety of different colours,
these beautiful fish mimic featherstars, nestling in their wavy
fronds, waiting for a tasty (and unsuspecting) morsel to swim
past. They come in a variety of colours, from exceedingly rare
pink, to quite rare orange through dark green to black. Whether
they can change their colouration to suit their requirements is
not known, but they are almost impossible to see without a trained
eye - in this case a local dive guide! End Bommie also boasts
a resident leopard shark and a host of sea fans, soft corals ,sea
whips and the usual fish life. At the end of the dive you can
move back onto the main reef system and enjoy a 15ft safety stop
admiring a huge bed of anemones and clownfish.
- PJ's PASSAGE
A spectacular wall flanking an open amphitheatre that drops into
the blue. This sand arena is a stage for several slivertips. A
cave at the back of the arena rises some 50ft towards to surface,
filled with a profusion of fan corals.
- GRAND CENTRAL STATION
So named because the few divers who have had the pleasure of diving
this incredible site cannot begin to describe the amazing marine
life that is found here. Huge schools of jacks, barracuda and
tuna vie with sharks and giant potato cod for your undivided attention!
The pelagic fish action here is unsurpassed!
- SUZIE'S BOMMIE
I would like to think this dive site is named after my wife, but
it isn't! A huge coral bommie sitting on a sandy bottom in 90ft
of water, perhaps 20 yards from the main reef system, this towering
coral formation rises to within 35ft of the surface. At depth
muricella are home to pygmy seahorses, and a host of nudibranchs,
flatworms and other critters can be seen. It is on the top of
the bommie that things get really exciting - residents of the
bommie include a massive school of striped sweetlips, huge quantities
of fusiliers, whirling conglomerations of jacks and three Maori
wrasse, including the biggest I have ever seen! On the top of
the reef itself dozens of lionfish lurk amongst the corals, clownfish
flutter in the currents and the largest and juiciest stonefish
you are ever likely to see sits, ugly as sin under a large plate
coral. There is so much activity on this reef that the sun can
almost get blotted out! This dive site, as well as End Bommie
and The Pinnacles are three "must dos" on any divers
- THE PAI II
A sunken fishing trawler in 90ft of water, this wreck has become
home to many fusiliers and snapper. A large resident grouper,
named Gobbler because of his voracious appetite, lives within
the wreck. Soft corals and anemones bedeck the superstructure.
At night the wreck is a dormitory for sleeping sharks and potato
cod. This is a guaranteed location to see pygmy seahorses, ghost
pipefish and a host of other critters.
- MV PACIFIC GAS
With her stern embedded in the sand, and her bow rising towards
the surface, the foc'sle of this vessel has become an underwater
garden, with soft corals as its flowers and over 40 butterfly
fish as its butterflies. The wreck is covered in lionfish and
schools of bass and snapper cruise through her open cargo holds.
Here I found invisible shrimp on a wonderful red fan coral, nudibranchs
and flatworms. Washed by deep ocean currents, Pacific Gas guaranties
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