Liveaboard Diving in Kimbe Bay

What To Expect On A Kimbe Bay Liveaboard

Liveaboards to Kimbe Bay, on the northern coast of New Britain Island, Papua New Guinea usually make this the first stop for liveaboard cruises departing from Walindi Plantation Resort. Sheltered from the open ocean by the embrace of the Willaumez Peninsula, a chain of sleeping volcanoes, liveaboards in Kimbe Bay explore this diving mecca with some 200 reef and dive sites and assorted wrecks, safe from tides, currents, and damaging swells. A number of Papua New Guinea liveaboard operators offer itineraries that include Kimbe Bay

Strict local conservation efforts ensure that liveaboard diving in Kimbe Bay offers an underwater paradise of colorful, unspoiled outcrops of coral, steep, sloping reef walls, overhangs and caves, all chocked-full of everything the Indo-Pacific has to offer, from tiny, vibrant invertebrates and eccentric crustaceans, to all manner of fish, sharks and even whales.

Kimbe Bay Underwater

With more than 350 species of reef-building corals and over 900 species of fish already identified in the clear, tranquil waters, the question should be, "what can't you see scuba diving in Kimbe Bay?"

Without the destructive forces of the ocean at work, corals grow to enormous sizes, and patch reefs rise straight from the deep seafloor. Liveaboard diving will take you to explore this serene refuge for scalloped hammerhead shark, grey and white-tip reef shark, as well as the occasional orca, sperm, and pilot whales, and spinner and bottlenose dolphins can often be counted on to tag along with liveaboard boats between dives.

The only thing more you could ask for to make the perfect dive cruise would be a wreck, and diving in Kimbe Bay has that too.

Dive Sites Of Kimbe Bay

Liveaboard diving is really the only way to get the most out of Kimbe Bay, as many of the best sites are well over an hour's boat ride away from the main island.

Diving in South Emma is said to have it all, and they're not kidding. Here the top of a large coral bommie, alive with small tropicals, sits below the glassy surface around 12 meters (40 feet). From there it descends down into the abyss, covered in hard and soft corals, and giant sponges, circled by schools of batfish, barracuda, and trevallies, with a delightful swim through at around 33m (70feet).

At nearby twin North Emma Reef the pinnacle is connected to the main reef by the coral bridge at around 30m (130feet) covered with a veritable forest of gorgonian sea fans and thickets of staghorn coral.

Liveaboard diving boats often stop for the night at the idyllic Restorf Island. With its sandy planes and profuse coral growth, the island has a notorious array of spectacular critters, such as blue ribbon eels, devil scorpionfish, pipefish, crocodile fish, garden eels, and seahorses just to name a few.

Diving in Kimbe Bay would not be complete without a mandatory visit to the Zero Wreck, a fully intact Japanese WWII Mitsubishi Zero fighter plane, the transport of choice for the infamous Japanese Kamikaze suicide pilots, lying on a sandy seabed at 17 meters (55 feet).

Way out on the edge of the bay sits Bradford Shoals an impressive volcanic seamount with an excess of colorful life that has made its home among the hard corals on top at around 20 meters (70 feet). But for many diving here is more about the fact that this remote pinnacle is a magnet for pelagics and big fish like batfish the size of bike wheels, big-eye trevally, and unicorn fish.

Top Tips For Divers

Kimbe Bay liveaboards are an underwater photographer's dream, with both macro and wide-angle opportunities, you'll want to bring all of your lenses, especially that fisheye, and a set of powerful strobes. Don't forget that adding a diver to the image is always a nice touch for scale when capturing the giant sea fans and sponges here. And it probably goes without saying, but… batteries, batteries, batteries.

Getting To Kimbe Bay

Although there is some lovely diving in Kimbe Bay from shore, nothing can compare to the marvels that await you from that vantage point of a Papua New Guinea liveaboard diving cruise.

Once you reach Papua New Guinea, you'll jump on a 90-minute island-hopper flight out to the island of New Britain, followed by a short drive to the charming Walindi Plantation Resort.

Kimbe Bay Diving Reviews

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  • 9.2 Superb
  • Gabor D
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These were the best dives of the trip, from macro to pelagics on several divesites.

Diving Kimbe Bay in December on the Febrina