Papua New Guinea (PNG) lays within the Coral Triangle, a marine area located in the western Pacific Ocean that is known for its huge number of coral – which in itself makes it an incredible place to go scuba diving.
Throw in warm waters with good visibility and an underwater world full of fascinating sunken war relics and you have a diver’s paradise.
So where are the top locations for wreck-dives in PNG?
Rabaul, East New Britain
Previously a Japanese naval base in World War II, today Rabaul is still home to many artefacts of this time. Explore the numerous shipwrecks resting on the seabed that help preserve the history of PNG.
A clear favourite of the area is George’s Wreck, which is a former Japanese mine sweeper believed to have run aground on a reef after coming under attack by the allied forces. The bow of the vessel is submerged in only 12 metres of water, while the stern is deep down at 60 metres, making it the perfect environment for a unique combination of marine life from coral and sea-fans to nudibranchs and pelagic, amongst others.
Set on a charming peninsula with an abundance of lush parklands and surrounded by beautiful little islands which are dotted through a tropical, deep water harbour, Madang is a very pretty South Pacific town, and with some brilliant wreck diving to be had.
The B25 Mitchell Bomber is one of the more popular wrecks which lies at a depth of 60 feet and is virtually intact apart from its port engine which was lost on impact. The rack of bombs all wired up and ready to offload are still ready and waiting down in the bomb bay…and of course no longer live. Take a seat in the cockpit and turn back time to imagine the history of such a machine.
Only 55 minutes by plane from Port Moresby, Tufi, in the province of Oro, is a unique and pristine region of PNG, known for incredible diving and magnificent, volcanically created fjords.
For experienced, deep divers, the S Jacob, a Dutch cargo ship which was sunk by the Japanese during the war, sits upright deep down in the ocean and slopes from 45 metres to 60 metres in depth. The cargo holds are still full of timber, ammunition, weapons, food and fuel. Crockery is scattered throughout the wreck and even the odd Coca Cola bottle remains.
Head to the very eastern end of PNG and you’ll reach Alotau, the capital of Milne Bay Province. This area is famous for World War II’s Battle of Milne Bay, the first major battle in which Allied troops decisively defeated the Japanese land forces.
Sitting 50 metres below the surface of the water, a WWII US B-17 Bomber, nicknamed Black Jack, waits to be explored and surprisingly is still in excellent condition apart from its nose which was crumpled and torn when it hit the floor of the ocean. The presence of real weapons and war gear make for a fascinating history dive.
Kimbe Bay is located in the province of West New Britain and is a world-renowned scuba diving hotspot. It is actually home to 76 per cent of the world’s coral species and an impressive 900 species of fish have been identified here to-date.
A favourite wreck in this area is the Japanese Mitsubishi Zero fighter which lays in just 17 metres of water making it an easy dive and allows for plenty of time to explore.
Fish life is concentrated around the open cockpit which hosts a large anemone and a small colony of nemos just behind the pilot’s seat.
There is good reason why some of the world’s best diving happens in PNG and the war memorabilia adds another exciting and unique history element to this holiday experience. These are just a handful of adventures on offer when you plunge into the depths of PNG.
For more information on travel to PNG visit papuanewguinea.travel
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