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Port Moresby and PNG Barrier Reef Dive Sites

Loloata Island Resort
Golden Dawn Live-Aboard

    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 sponges.

    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.

    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.

    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!!!

    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.

    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!

    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.

    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.

    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!

    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 list!

    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.

    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 excellent visibility.



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