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Kavieng Papau New Guinea

Papau New Guinea Perth Scuba Dive Tour

written by Mike Doswell – Perth Scuba PADI Instructor

I can’t say I was excited to walk into the cold weather at 12am in Perth upon returning from another fantastic diving trip, I have just spent the last 8 days in the northern islands of Papua New Guinea with 6 others diving to our hearts content and here is the goss’.

We were flying from Brisbane to Port Moresby with a crew of 7 consisting of 2 Guys and 5 Girls (good ratios), for 5 of them at least this was their first Perth Scuba Dive trip and also some of their first dives since completing the PADI Open Water Course earlier this year.

We all met up in the departure lounge eagerly awaiting our boarding call for our Air Nuigini flight, which we now refer to as Air Unreliable. Our flight was on time and in fact very pleasant with plenty of space for u all to have a row each, upon arriving in Port Moresby the plan was simply, collect our luggage and transfer to the domestic airport for our flight to Kavieng, that went smooth enough but it wasn’t until we sat waiting for a flight to board that on the notice board it suddenly appeared our flight has been cancelled, thankfully having travelled through here previously I had a good idea what to do, so I made a straight line towards the service counter on the check in side of the airport. It was a clever move because not 2 minutes later I was pressed up against the glass with 60 locals behind me yelling at the guy behind the counter. To cut this bit short, it took me over 2 hours standing at the counter to get 7 vouchers for us to be put up for the night as well as meals and transfers before our flight would depart again at 4am the next morning. On the upside we were staying at the Crown Plaza and it did include a nice meal as well as a scenic drive through Port Moresby which neither of us had been through previously. As almost everyone had been flying over the past 36 hrs it really was a case of food and sleep before having to get up at 2am to catch our flight. Thankfully our flight left on time and again it was a spacious trip, we flew direct to Kavieng which was just over an hours fly time and finally we were there!

In order to get to Nusa Island Retreat we had to ride in the truck and take a small boat across to the Little Nusa Island before we were greeted by Sean, one of the owners of the retreat, after a quick run down of the retreat and well earned breakfast the girls were off to catch some ZZZ’s. Cara from Scuba Ventures had come across to see us as we were expected to be diving that morning, we decided that an afternoon of diving was a better option, with a few hours for people to chillax.Diving Papau New Guinea

Nusa Island Retreat was originally set up as a surfers retreat. Brother and sister Sean and Shannon who run Nusa Island Retreat have spent the last decade really turning what was a camp site into a true tropical hide away. All the accommodation and buildings are built in true PNG style with woven walls and leaves for roofing all sitting on stilts, their location and sizes range from a small couple sized building to a large 6 person 2 storey house, some are set towards the back of the property while others sit over the blue waters surrounding the Island. The whole place is designed around being eco and local friendly, it uses self composting toilets, filtered rain water for drinking and well water for showers, there are no TV’s, no Internet access and only fans in the rooms, however there is more than enough cold beer or cocktails, hammocks to lay in or water to swim in to be more than comfortable. It’s fantastic to simplify because it really lets you stop and relax, it gives you a chance to chat with the locals and other patrons staying or interact with the variety of wildlife which now calls the retreat home. The whole place centers around the restaurant and bar, with its huge open air design and large benches, it makes it central for everyone to hang out while deciding which activity to take on. Nusa has a large range of fun things to do including, fishing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, surfing, tours, snorkeling and even table tennis.

We spent the afternoon diving, just easy diving trying to ease everyone back into it, it was a nice warm 29c with great visibility we completed a 22m wall dive followed by a 8m wreck dive, it was a good chance for everyone to try and get a handle on buoyancy as well as weighting. We retired back to the retreat to sink some of those icy cold SP browns as the locals call them or known to us as beer. Dinner was served at 7pm with the menu consisting of Mud Crab, Squid, Crayfish and all other sorts of delights, in fact over the next 7 days we were well and truly spoiled with the local foods, according to any of the Ex-Pats we spoke with in Kavieng Nusa do the best food around, we did venture into town one night to watch the local school kids perform Joseph and his techni-color dream coat followed by dinner at another hotel, the Ex pats were certainly right in saying it was the best grub around.

Over the following days we all dived, paddle boarded, ate, drank, fished, drank, ate, dived, drank etc… in fact all in all we completed 16 dives which for most of the crew was more than 4 times how many dives they had previously completed, I had offered the group the opportunity before we left to complete there Advanced Open Water while we were away, especially as we were completing 90% of the dives anyway, we only had to complete an additional Navigation dive one afternoon. So from Perth Scuba, Scuba Ventures and myself congratulations to Imogene, Rachel, Nicole and Bernie upon becoming Advanced Divers. We had a great variety of diving from Wreck, Reef, Drift and Muck diving. In fact it would be some of the best diving and some of the most isolated diving in the world which is part of what makes this place so special. I would also like to thank Cara and Dorian from Scuba ventures who really put the effort in to make the diving enjoyable and safe for everyone.

On the last day we had a dry day so we had organised with Cara to do a land trip it basically involved a trip to the shops for some supplies and an hours drive down the Hwy to see several features of the area, 1st stop was a tree house hotel and let me tell you for anyone who has seen Swiss Family Robinson it’s really cool!! We then stopped in to see Cathy the Eel Lady, Cathy is a Ex Air-Unreliable hostess who has taken charge of a fresh water stream which houses dozens of large fresh Diving Papau New Guinea Perth Scubawater Eels which love to come out and feed on tinned mackerel, they swim up around your feet and are super slippery, my ears are still recovering from all the girls squealing as the snaked their way around us. Next stop was a fresh water swimming hole, another amazing spot in PNG crystal clear water and a large rope swing which Bernie and I used to try and impress the girls with our skills… Didn’t quite work as they were all happily talking girl stuff. After having lunch we headed back to Kavieng for an afternoon relaxing or drinking more beer, Cara and Dorian came round later with their daughter Vicky to present us with our group DVD, whilst we had spent the day with Cara, Dorian had worked on our DVD’s which turned out brilliantly with video, photo’s and even some aerial footage of us all, we wished them well and said our goodbyes.

With only 1 more nights sleep before our flight back to Brisbane the next day the girls took the effort to make it a big one with some of them hitting the sack past 4am, reports from the tired looking staff painted a picture of cocktails, dancing on tables, trying beetle nut and god knows what else. However they were up the next morning on time looking disappointed that we had to leave, we all were.

Even though we had a few issues with flights it must be said what a great place! I have travelled all over the world and it generally takes a lot for a place to win me over, and coming back here for the 2nd time it just reassures me that this place is something special. I would like the thank the crew that came along to share the experience, my better half Michelle, the girls Imogene, Rachel, Nicole and Sophie and of course Bernie whom managed to escape getting his nails painted unlike half the male staff at Nusa. We look forward to seeing you all on the next trip!

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