Liveaboard Diving in Fathers Reefs
What To Expect On a Father's Reefs Liveaboard
Liveaboards in the Father's reefs area of Papua New Guinea typically leave from Walindi on the north coast of New Britain Island heading to the northeast corner of Kimbe Bay, where the submerged remnants of a massive, extinct volcanic crater rise from the depths of the Pacific ocean to reach up just below the surface. Here a string of reefs, overshadowed by the still-smoldering peak of Mount Ulawun volcano, present divers with a remarkable coral-rich landscape complete with arches and swim-throughs. Liveaboard diving the varied sites of Father's Reefs ranges from shallow mesas on the peaks of seamounts adorned with soft coral growth and a multitude of reef fish, to steep slopes crowded with sea fans and sponges, and ocean currents bringing schools of the big guys.
Father's Reefs Underwater
Liveaboard boats take divers to explore the ocean currents that pervade the corals of Father’s Reef bring pelagic species including barracuda, turtles, shark, and rays, all of which come to feed on the abundant reef species that have made these distant reefs their home. Thanks to the volcanic origins of these reefs, some sites offer unique topographies including lava tubes and caves hidden amidst the coral reefs. Batfish are plentiful, along with regular sightings of dolphins and turtles, while the shallow corals offer the unusual in the form of frogfish, crocodile fish, and the elaborate nudibranchs.
Dive Sites Of Father's Reefs
Kilibob's Knob is a double-headed seamount, offering divers several plateaus that stair-step down into the deep blue, inhabited by various species of local sharks. Some of the most spectacular diving is found swimming the length of the walls that extend along the long ridge from the anchor point on the smaller pinnacle, where Big-eye Trevally swirl in an amazingly coordinated whirling school of silver.
Diving Alice's Magnificent Mound will never disappoint with a sloping plateau, dropping from 12 meters (40 feet) into the deep to an overhang at 40 meters (130 feet) with the appearance of an aquarium and excellent visibility.
A dive cruise to Shaggy Ridge offers an up-close and personal experience with Father's Reefs Silvertip sharks and Grey Reef sharks.
The magnificent table-topped seamount of Leslie's Knob rises up to about 7 meters (25 feet) from the surface, where the end of the dive, on the flat top of the seamount offers the chance to search for Scorpion Leafish and other diverse small creatures.
A pleasant 20-meter (65 foot) swim, along a coral-laden ridge, drops down the coral face to about 25 meters depth from the main reef, to arrive at Father's Arch. Surrounded by schooling fish, the arch itself is covered in gorgonians and soft corals, a keen eye may be rewarded by a sighting of a fascinating, minuscule Pygmy seahorse, with its tails wrapped tightly around a sea fan.
Top Tips For Divers
Although dive cruises to the Witu Islands are great year-round and available to all divers, the currents found around these far-flung islands are best appreciated by intermediate to advanced divers.
Packing conservatively will prevent problems on arrival in PNG, as national airlines have a limited checked bag allowance, but check options before booking as some domestic airlines offer an additional quota of bags especially for dive gear. But if you dive with a DIN regulator, it's always a good idea to pack your own adaptor just in case.
Getting To Father's Reefs
For divers looking to explore the incredible wonders of Papua New Guinea's Father's Reefs, the only way is aboard one of the country's amazing liveaboards. Flying into the country, you'll arrive into the international Airport in Port Moresby, where you'll switch to a local airline and hop over to the island of New Britain on a brief 90-minute flight. Once on the island, you'll have a 45-minute drive to your liveaboard departure point at the Walindi Plantation Resort on the shores of Kimbe Bay.