Southeast Asia Eco and Adventure Travel Experts » In the UK call +44 (0) 161 791 4748

Papua New Guinea Diving

Papua New Guinea has a well-deserved reputation for its spectacular diving. The country is surrounded by the Bismarck, Coral and Solomon Seas, whose constant movements feed the rich marine environment. From tiny nudibranchs to the world's biggest fish -- the harmless whale shark -- divers will encounter a huge array of exotic species.

The range of dive sites is equally diverse, with barrier reefs, spectacular coral walls (drop-offs), coral gardens, patch and fringing reefs, sea grass beds and coral atolls. Divers will also find some of the world's best wreck diving, with sunken ships, aircraft and submarines dating back to World War II. Many are still in excellent condition and easily accessible from the coast.

Located immediately to the north of Australia, Papua New Guinea is the world's second largest island after Greenland, but has been almost completely left behind by the rapidly developing world. This is an island of dark tales and mysterious peoples... dense jungles polpulated by canibalistic tribespeople with bones through their noses, who would strike fear into any sailor that passed by.

In the centre of the island runs a ridge of mountains reaching skyward higher than 5,000m (16,500 ft), harbouring thinly populated but fertile, hidden valleys that were only discovered by the outside world in the 1930s. Some 750 different tribal groups, each with their own distinct language had managed to live in oblivious ignorance of anything beyong their own horizon. And very probably there are some communities that still do.

Thanks to the low population density and to the absence of modern fishing technology, the coral reefs around most of New Guinea, including the islands to the northeast of the main island, have been spared the ravages of dynamite, cycanide and drift nets. The marine life is awesome. Add to that the scattered wreckage from 2 world wars, including ships, planes and armoured vehicles, and New Guinea is a diver's paradise.

Pygmy Seahorse

The world's smallest seahorse, the Pygmy, (Hippocampus bargibanti), was found by persistent researchers, Kim and Alan Payard in November 1997. This miniature specimen grows to a maximum of only 2cm and lives among coral polyps, camouflaging itself by mimicking the pink or purple-brown colour of its host, the Muricella gorgonian.

These endearing creatures are hard to spot by virtue of their size and disguise.