Papua New Guinea
All images below, are uncropped frame grabs from our 6K & 4K film stock footage.
(Please note: Active words are linked to more information and trip adviser/other reviews.)
We were very happy to have been invited to join Tom Campbell and Beth Davidow on a dive trip to Papua New Guinea aboard the MV Chertan liveaboard. Reef Mantas, Spawning Coral, Stunning Hard and Soft Coral, beautiful Anemonies and Clownfish, Spawning Crown of Thorns, amazing makro and so much more………..
Our favourite airline Singapore Airlines was able to book our return trip on one ticket, including our Air Niugini links, which really helped with the very poor service experienced from Air Niugini, with our bookings being cancelled twice by Air Niugini for no reason at all and having to have the booking reinstated. (These are cell phone images)
Our Singapore Airlines baggage allowance was honoured by Air Niugini and the fact that our bags could get checked all the way through from Cape Town to Alotau was wonderful thanks to our booking with Singapore Airlines. Flying from Cape Town to Singapore on Singapore Air, then on to Port Moresby, arriving at our final destination of Alotau with Air Niugini. Aircraft Landing in Alotau can be cancelled at the last minute, due to poor visibility and one of our four checked in bags got delayed for 24 hours from its last link of Portmorseby to Alotau, so do remember to give yourself at least one or two days extra , leading up to your livaboard departure date. Though our bags were checked in all the way, they do have to be picked up and transferred in Port Moresby for customs reasons.
This is a sequence of early morning coral spawning that we were lucky to have witnessed and filmed in 6K and 4K for our video stock library.
Filming with our 6K RED and 4K Black Magic Cameras in their Nauticam dive housings, our Dive and Sea monitors and, of cource, our robust Keldan lights, we decided that we would do two back to back trips, so we had 26 days of unlimited diving.
(These are cell phone images)
We had three visits to the Tawali Skull Caves and knowing that Cannibalism was a way of life in this part of the world and that the last reported incident was as recent as 2012, added to the eerie and unsettling feeling that caused the hair on the back of our necks to rise as we entered the dark, hot caves.
Our liveaboard anchored near the shore on more than one occasion and the locals would sometimes place a stick on the beach with a human skull stuck on it. Presumably to discourage us from swimming ashore.
We managed a total of 87 dives, filming some really magical soft and hard corals and amazing encounters with huge Reef Mantas in 8 m of water. Even though the visibility was poor, it was wonderful to be in the water with these elegantly graceful creatures again.
On one of our night dives we encountered spawning Crown of Thorns Starfish and the following morning took a closer look at the damage that they do to the coral reef.
Water temperatures ranged from 26 to 27 degrees Centigrade and diving was super easy and relaxed. Fortunately, as there were no dive briefings. A few of our favourite dive sites were : Deacons reef, Michelles, Tanjas.
There were also plenty of unbelievable macro opportunities and we spent many afternoons and nights on the gravel slops, filming critters that sometimes were no bigger than a pea.
We also took the time to add a number of vertical shots to our Stock Library as the underwater environment made this very easy.
The dive guides, (George, Eddie and Sev) on board the MV Chertan had very keen eyes and were great at spotting and finding critters. Thanks to Captain John and all the Staff on board who were friendly and very helpful.
We were surprised at the limited numbers of large fish and schools of fish, especially considering the presence of such healthy coral reefs and the fact that the local fishermen do not use nets.
The hard and soft Corals were in pristine condition and are the best that we have seen, with the possible exception of the Misool area in Raja Ampat.
Unfortunately, as with every Ocean and every Reef environment, on even the most remote island, the signs of mans neglect are evident. Papua New Guinea, is no acceptation to this infection.
We increasingly force the extraordinary creatures, of our esoteric Oceans, to live and die in our Big Blue refuse dump.
We Knew that the MV Chertan was an older vessel and that we were not to expect too much, but from a cleanliness, facilities, noise and food perspective, it was VERY disappointing indeed. Probably the less said the better. Feel free to contact us directly for further input if you wish. We would not recommend the MV Chertan at the moment, which is such a pity as we think many of these issues could be sorted out with ease and it is the only liveaboard to visit this coastal part of PNG to the best of our knowlage. The staff are really fantastic, so we do hope that our concerns are noted and addressed for future clients.
………………………..Too soon and it was time to return home again.
Tips and things to remember for your Papua New Guinea trip:
The Alotau airport can be closed at the last minute due to poor visibility and one of our four checked in bags got delayed from last link of Port Moresby to Alotau, so do remember to give yourself at least one or two days extra time to make it to your destination.
Take Mosquito repellant. (These are cell phone images)
Ensure that you have a warm, light jacket, as we had a number of unusually wet and windy days, where one got chilly.
Book all your flights on one ticket.
If possible do not fly with Air Nuigini. Apparently, Air PNG is more reliable and organised.
Check to see if your carrier has Scuba allowances.
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