FEBRINA and GOLDEN DAWN, Papua New Guinea.
I am fortunate to be able to regularly join PNG’s two best dive boats, MV Golden Dawn and MV FeBrina, for special cruises exploring PNG’s underwater Paradise. These are both “hard core” dive boats providing excellent diving for small groups of experienced divers. Both vessels have Nitrox and are very suited to U/W Photographers.
MV Golden Dawn
MV Golden Dawn pioneered HiTech diving and has facilities for Re-Breather divers. It takes 10 guests. Captain Craig de Wit specialises in the Coral Sea area, but has cruised Golden Dawn throughout PNG. He is a true adventurer and has discovered many of PNG’s top dive sites.
For the month of June 2011 I was aboard MV Golden Dawn with Captain Craig de Wit and photographer Tony Wu, and friends. We cruised along the Papuan Coast from Port Moresby sampling the wonderful and rarely dived “Beautiful Bommies” that stud the Papuan Barrier Reef. We checked out the astonishing wharf at Samarai, and dived with the mantas at Gonubalabala Island.
I’ll be cruising Golden Dawn again in May 2012, starting in Alotau and ending in Kimbe Bay.
I was aboard FeBrina in Kimbe Bay for a couple of 10 night cruises Oct/Nov 2011. This is one of the best times of year to be in Kimbe Bay and the diving was sensational!
MV FeBrina is based at the famous Walindi Plantation Resort at West New Britain and cruises the Kimbe Bay / Witu Islands area but also makes seasonal expeditions exploring Rabaul and the South coast of New Britain. FeBrina accommodates 12 guests and its legendary Captain, Alan Raabe, has pioneered diving in these regions. Alan is famous for his outrageous stories of his adventures – which turn out to be true.
There are other dive boats in PNG that provide excellent services, but these are my two favourites and both have hard earned reputations over 20 years of providing the best diving for your bucks!
MV Telita and MV Tiata are now private vessels and are no longer running dive tours.
OCEAN QUEST Cairns.
I have had a couple of very interesting trips to Norman and Saxon Reefs out of Cairns on board the Deep Sea Divers Den boats Sea Quest and Ocean Quest. Sea Quest is the fast ferry and day boat and when out at the reef I transferred to the Ocean Quest which has accommodation and stays out at the reefs only moving between dive sites. So it is possible to do several days diving on the outer GBR without the hassle of daily commutes from Cairns.
The outer GBR is in excellent condition and the marine life prolific and friendly. There are a multitude of turtles, reef fish including the iconic Harlequin Tuskfish and Napoleon Wrasse, and Giant Clams. But the unexpected thrill came from the healthy population of Grey Reef and Whitetip Sharks. In the evening the sharks come to the stern of the boat attracted by fish feeding on plankton and small fish pellets under the bright lights, and you can dive with them! We had first-time night divers swimming with sharks and they had a wonderful time. Of course at night there are also huge Giant Trevally hunting on the reef in the diver’s torch beam. It is a great dive.
Many thanks to John Brown and the team at the Deep Sea Divers Den. http://www.diversden.com.au