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This is the twenty-first in a series that introduces and describes the various dive services and sites for worldwide liveaboard dive safaris. The focus in this one is on Papua New Guinea liveaboards.
In addition to this series on liveaboards, the best worldwide dive resort locations and services are reviewed in their own series. To check them out, or other liveaboards, click on Liveaboards/Resorts on the menu at the top and choose a title.
Have you ever been diving in Papua New Guinea before? If so, I’d love to know about your experience. What dive shop or liveaboard did you use? Which dive spots are the best and what are the conditions there regarding the visibility, current, water temperature, sealife attractions, etc.? Please post your response in the comments section at the bottom and we’ll all learn something we can use.
Scuba Diving PNG
Papua New Guinea is largely a mysterious place for most of us. We can see on National Geographic TV the people that live in the forests much as they have for a thousand or more years with stories of cultures having contact with the outside world for the first time. It is large with a major land area and lots of coastline on the smaller and larger islands that make up the country. PPG is a remote place, but surprising to many, it is fairly easily accessible by air and even by sea from Australia and the Solomons.
There are a lot of areas of great biodiversity on a variety of healthy reefs, from barrier reefs, walls, pinnacles, and coral gardens, to a large number of WWII ship and plane wrecks that are accessible even to relatively inexperienced divers. Muck divers can also find excellent life to observe.
The PNG sea life can provide a feast for naturalists and photographers. Macro highlights include a variety of exotic seahorses, pipefish, nudibranchs, shrimp, crabs, frogfish, scorpionfish, and other invertebrates. There is an equal diversity of reef fish like clown and other triggerfish, moray eels and large schools of yellowback fusiliers and surgeonfish. And then there are the pelagics and big creatures that include turtles, grey reef, silvertip, hammerhead and whale sharks, dolphins, whales, dugongs, eagle and manta rays, dogtooth tuna and big schools of jacks and barracuda.
Diving is good year-round. The rainy season is December to March, which does affect the visibility some. Best vis from May to November can be as good as 45m (150ft). It is quite warm all the time, being so close to the equator. Water temperatures go from 79-84°C (26-31°F). No thicker than 3mm of protection would seem to be needed.
There are a number of resorts that cater to divers around this large country. A liveaboard, though, receives a strong recommendation as a good way to do your diving because safety and service standards are very high and a number of dispersed dive sites can be visited comfortably in a relatively short time frame. Most of the great sites around Papua New Guinea are served by the liveaboards.
I urge you to take a look at the maps, itineraries, and videos below to get a more concrete idea of the locations, conditions and great sea life to dive with.
Papua New Guinea Liveaboard Dive Boats
The five boats diving Papua New Guinea each have specific strengths and varied itineraries to consider. The Solomons PNG Master and True North are very part-time in the PNG liveaboard business. The other three each spend a significant part of the year there. Guests are advised to book as early as possible as popular times and itineraries can get reserved pretty quickly.
- Solomons PNG Master – only three December 2019 cruises to PNG
- MV Febrina – 7 months/year cruising PNG
- MV Chertan – 10 months/year cruising PNG
- MV Spirit of Niugini – 11 months/year cruising PNG
- True North – no schedule yet for 2020
- Year-round diving to the Solomons with 8-11 day trips, 6-7 different itineraries that can vary based on conditions, explores the many WWII wrecks in the Iron Bottom Sound
- December, June, and November PNG 8 and 11 day itineraries includes: Byron Strait, Chapman’s Reef on Ao Island, Three Island Harbour – 3 wrecks (Sanko Maru, a Type C midget submarine, and Subchaser # 39), Tsalui, Tsoilaunung and Selapiu Islands, Kavieng – wreck of an Aichi E13 “Jake” floatplane, Albatross Channel
- Comfortable cabins, all upper deck cabins have private en-suites
- Large sundeck with optional shade cover
- Excellent comfort and privacy with spacious relaxation areas
- Western and local cuisine
- The crew speaks English, German, Spanish, Russian, and Italian
- Photography station & camera room with table and charging point
- Open dive deck with hot water showers
- Two large skiffs for pickups and tours
- Life rafts
- Nitrox available, rebreather support
- 9-11 day itineraries include: Walindi – Kimbe Bay, Father’s Reef, Witu Islands, and Rabaul – South Coast New Britain
- Laundry service
- Leisure deck, shaded diving deck, sun deck
- Daily housekeeping
- Air-conditioned saloon, aircon cabins
- Warm water showers
- Western and local food
- Separate rinse for u/w camera
- English speaking crew
- Non-diver (snorkeler) friendly
- Nitrox available
- Emergency rafts
|Solomons PNG Master||MV Febrina||MV Chertan||MV Spirit of Niugini||True North|
|Length||30 m||22 m||20 m||32 m||50 m|
|Crew||12||5||not listed||not listed||20|
|Equipment||Pricing To Be Arranged||$77/day (full equipment)||Pricing To Be Arranged||$40/day (full equipment)||Pricing To Be Arranged|
|Nitrox||Pricing To Be Arranged||$11/fill||$22/day||$20/day||No|
Papua New Guinea Photos
With the pristine coral reefs, wrecks, manta and eagle rays, turtles, a variety of sharks including whale sharks, dolphins, whales, macro critters and reef tropicals, there are many excellent photo opportunities. For information and reviews of dive cameras, click here:
A cushion for emergencies provides peace of mind when on vacation. I recommend this diving insurance as they have worldwide coverage and provide scuba divers a quality insurance and medical assistance service.
Feedback and Comments
I hope you found this post on Papua New Guinea scuba diving interesting and useful. If you have any questions or ideas, please feel free to share them in the comments section. I’d love to know of any experience you have. If there is no comments section directly below, click here: >>comments<<