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Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea – December 2012

Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea – December 2012

  • Author: Kristy
  • Date Posted: Jan 11, 2013
  • Category:
  • Address: Walindi Plantation Resort, Kimbe Bay, West New Britain Island, PNG

So it was NYE 2012/13. That means diving in my world. And as I now know, there is no better place for it than Papua New Guinea. Either that or Walindi is just one of those special places with water you only normally dream of getting the opportunity to dive.

Kat and I arrived into Port Moresby just after Christmas and were instantly confronted with the thick hot air and ‘that’ smell which I’m not even going to attempt to describe for fear of offending my local friends. We trundled our gear from the international terminal to domestic under the watchful eye of airport security to be presented with the chaos of domestic departures. We figured out we just needed to push to the front to get checked in, an effort that was wasted as we were delayed, delayed, delayed, cancelled and then transferred by security to a so called 5 start hotel surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards. Ahhh Port Moresby, you are a truly revolting place…

Thankfully it was all up from there. An early morning flight to Hoskins was the start to day two. From there a truck collected and delivered us to the beautiful Walindi Plantation Resort. In order to not waste any time with boring things like checking into accommodation and paperwork, we were transported directly to the jetty, threw on our togs, grabbed our gear and were underwater within 20 minutes of arriving. I was instantly happy and completely carefree..

Never in my life have I felt so far away from anywhere. It’s like you are at the final frontier where civilisation hasn’t quite caught up to Mother Nature. The thick jungle is an intense green and the water is clear, warm and seemingly unaffected by the local fisherman feeding the villages. Every dive sent my heart racing with excitement and upon assent I couldn’t wait to converse with my new friends about what we had just seen. Every dive, not just one a day or only in the best dive sites, every dive!! And during surface intervals we were either snorkelling or watching the eagles and other birdlife attempt to steal our left over lunch and snacks. Ahh-mazing…

The resort itself is beautiful and set amongst lovely landscaped gardens full of butterflies and amazingly coloured birds with a pool, volleyball court and outdoor bar and restaurant. The rooms are well appointed cabins with fans, and they wash, dry and fold your clothes for you every day which is a nice touch. The meals were served at dedicated times and there was certainly a lot of it to feed hungry divers at the end of the day. Max, Cheyne and their family would eat with you in the evenings and the dive manager who I only remember as ‘Captain America’ (say no more) would take requests for dive sites as to ensure that everyone got to see most sites before leaving.

Walindi Dive map

All waiting for me to explore

The Japanese Zero aircraft wreck and Kimbe Island were possibly my two super favourite dives, but there really isn’t much between them all..

As well as all of this there is a good menu of on land experiences too which can fill your dry day before leaving. Kat and I went to look at the fire flies in the jungle one night which was beautiful if not a little scary. Following machete wielding men down a path into the thick jungle in the pitch dark will never feel ok no matter how many times you are told you are safe, but the fireflies are pretty spectacular and the adrenalin from being scared gives you a good laugh when bar at the resort bar. We also went on a village tour, to see some on land plane wrecks left over from the second world war and our friends did the volcano hike which seemed like a bit too much effort to me, but they enjoyed it..

I think any trip to PNG is bound to give the traveller a bit of an eye opener as to the oppression that a corrupt government causes on its people. For a country that is so rich in natural resources, the locals have very little, and they are pretty angry about it too. For this reason crime is high, which is understandable. There is also a very colonial feeling in PNG, a lack of education and opportunity. Our local boat staffs were all very friendly, intelligent people and brilliant at their jobs, yet we were not allowed to thank them with a beer at the end of the day because staffs weren’t allowed at the bar.  This is something that sat a little uneasy with me, but we were sure to tip them well at the end of the trip.

Overall, a brilliant adventure! Perfect combination of the best diving I have ever done, great company, scrumptious food and complete isolation.  The resort also runs liveaboard trips which I would also be keen go back to give a go, one day…

Tip: Watch out for the giant frogs when walking about of an evening and take a lot of bug spray…

 

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