Papua New Guinea Custom Group Trip

Click on the following links to jump to:  Dates & Prices Brief Itinerary  |  Detailed Itinerary  |  InclusionS/Exclusions  |  DIVING MILNE BAY  |  Payment Info  |  How to book  |  Photos  |  FAQ

2018 PAPUA NEW GUINEA CUSTOM TRIP

Join BLUEWATER TRAVEL'S KATIE YONKER ON THIS amazing TRIP TO DIVE the diverse MILNE BAY VIA LIVEABOARD followed by a cultural land exenstion to visit local tribes! 

 

QUICK OVERVIEW


Start by spending 8 nights aboard the MV Chertan liveaboard diving Milne Bay where you can see everything from the smallest and rarest of nudibranchs to large pelagics such as manta rays, hammerheads, and dugongs. You'll also enjoy some incredible topside experiences such as a skull cave and thermal springs. After that, enjoy a 4-night land tour to visit the highlands and see the way of life of the Melpa and Huli tribes. 

 

DATES & PRICES


September 21 - October 3, 2018

Standard cabin: $2,760 liveaboard + $2,130 land extension = $4,890
Deluxe cabin: $2,920 liveaboard + $2,130 land extension = $5,050
Executive cabin: $3,160 liveaboard + $2,130 land extension = $5,290

Prices do not include the required $175 per person reef and chamber fee.

Rates are per person, based on double occupancy. If you're traveling solo, we can pair you up with another person to room-share with. Single occupancy accommodations for the land-based part of the trip are available.

The land tour is optional and it's possible to do the liveaboard only, though we strongly recommend doing the land tour to get a complete PNG experience!

The standard cabins have two bunks and share a bathroom with 1 other cabin, but have a sink in the cabin. The deluxe cabins have two bunks and a private ensuite bathroom. The executive cabin is at the aft of the ship, is the largest cabin on the boat, and comes with 1 queen bed, one single bed, and an ensuite bathroom.


  • BRIEF ITINERARY


    Day 1:
     Fly from Port Moresby to Alotau. Board MV Chertan. Potential check-out dive.
  • Day 2: Unlimited Diving
  • Day 3: Unlimited Diving
  • Day 4: Unlimited Diving
  • Day 5: Unlimited Diving
  • Day 6: Unlimited Diving
  • Day 7: Unlimited Diving
  • Day 8: Unlimited Diving until 24 hours before flight departure time.
  • Day 9: Disembark MV Chertan. Fly from Alotau to Mount Hagen via Port Moresby.
  • Day 10: Full day culture tour of Mount Hagen.
  • Day 11: Fly via charter flight from Mount Hagen to Tari. Afternoon nature walk.
  • Day 12: Full day culture tour of Tari.
  • Day 13: Fly from Tari to Port Moresby and connect to your international flight. 
  •  

    DETAILED TRIP ITINERARY


    Day 1 (September 21): Guests will need to arrive Port Moresby one day early (i.e. Sept 20) as the recommended flight on Sept 21 is Air Niugini #154 departing Port Moresby (code: POM) at 9:20am, arriving Alotau (code: GUR) at 10:10am. Upon arrival in Alotau, we'll be met by a representative of the MV Chertan and transferred to the ship. There is approximately 5 hours of cruising until we get to our first site, and some guests may wish to do a dive on the first day, time permitting.

  • Day 2 (September 22): Unlimited diving. See below for more info on diving the fabulous Milne Bay. 

  • Day 3 (September 23): Same as day #2.

  • Day 4 (September 24)Same as day #2.

  • Day 5 (September 25)Same as day #2.

  • Day 6 (September 26)Same as day #2.

  • Day 7 (September 27)Same as day #2.

  • Day 8 (September 28)Same as day #2. Diving stops 24 hours before flight departure.

  • Day 9 (September 29): We'll disembark in the morning and take Air Niugini #155, departing Alotau at 10:40am, arriving Port Moresby at 11:30am. In Port Moresby we'll be met by a Trans Niugini Tours staff member who will assist us with luggage storage for unneeded dive bags and check in for our flight to Mount Hagen. Fly from Port Morseby (code: POM) to Mount Hagen (code: HGU) on Air Niugini #186 departing POM at 3:00pm and arriving HGU at 4:00pm. Mount Hagen is in the upper Wahgi Valley - a valley with some of the oldest evidence of agriculture in the world. We'll check in to our accommodations at Rondon Ridge, perched high on Mount Kuta with unbelievable views of the valley.

  • Day 10 (September 30): Enjoy a full day touring, featuring the unique culture and tradition of the Melpa people who live near Mount Hagen City which is the business heart of the Papua New Guinea highlands, supplying a number of important industries such as tea, coffee, and mining. It's a city where stone meets steel, where tradition and history is juxtaposed against modern ways. 

  • A comprehensive tour program takes you on a journey through the traditions and customs of the Melpa people. First contact with the Melpa was made in the mid-1930s when the Leahy brothers were prospecting for gold. The Melpa are said by anthropologists to be "predisposed to capitalism" because of their complex traditional society in which "big men" earn status by accruing wealth and then giving it all away in ceremonial exchanges. 

  • Day 11 (October 1): Fly by charter flight from Mount Hagen to Tari, a thrilling flight past the twin peaks of Mount Giluwe and over the alpine grasslands of the Tari Gap. Check into our accommodations at Ambua Lodge, an inspired mixture of local architecture, spectacular views, and modest luxury off the beaten track. Located at 7,000 feet in the South PNG Highlands, this is the homeland of the Huli clan with their human hair wigs adorned with colorful flowers.

  • Take part in an afternoon guided nature walk through the alpine forest looking for the exotic bird of paradise.

  • Day 12 (October 2): Enjoy a full day of cultural touring. The Huli are a highland tribe that employ their art, body decoration, face painting, and wigs decorated with feathers, flowers, and moss. The Huli culture is the most vibrant and colorful to be experienced anywhere. 

  • Day 13 (October 3): Fly from Tari (code: TIZ) back to Port Moresby (code: POM) on Air Niugini flight #865 departing Tari at 10:40am, landing Port Moresby at 12:15pm. You will be met in Port Moresby by Trans Niugini Tour staff, retrieve your stored bags, and transferred to your outbound international flight. 


INCLUSIONS AND EXCLUSIONS


Included in the 13 day/12 night package:
  • - 8 nights accommodations onboard MV Chertan
    - Full board meals onboard the ship (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
    - Tanks, air fills, weights, and weight belt
  • - Transfers between Alotau airport and MV Chertan
  • - 2 nights accommodations at Rondon Ridge and 2 nights accommodations at Ambua Lodge
  • - All meals for land-based extension starting with dinner on Sept 29, ending with breakfast on Oct 3
    - Charter flight from Mount Hagen to Tari on October 1
  • - Airport transfers for land-based trip
  • - Local tour guides
  • - Luggage storage in Port Moresby during land extension


Excluded from the 13 day/12 night package:
- International airfare to/from Port Moresby
- Domestic airfare as follows: Port Moresby to Alotau on Sept 21, Alotau to Mount Hagen via Port Moresby on Sept 29, and Tari to Port Moresby on Oct 3 (approximate cost of all domestic flights = $600- $650)
- $175 reef and chamber fee
- Drinks/alcoholic beverages
- Nitrox, optional ($28 per dive day)
- Personal dive and/or travel insurance (Dive insurance is mandatory. Travel insurance is recommended, but optional.)
Hotel in Port Moresby for the night of September 20 - 21. We have secured a block of rooms at the Airways Hotel next to the airport at the rate of $235 per room including taxes and wifi. 


DIVING MILNE BAY


The province consists of a large cluster of islands on the eastern tip of Papua New Guinea. With seven groups of islands in total, you'll discover some of the most diverse diving the world has to offer. The islands are made up of Trobriand, Woodlark, Laughlin, Louisiade Archipelago, the Conflict Group, the Samurai Group, and the D'Entrecasteaux Group. With each area offering a totally unique and refreshing diving experience, you'll be spoiled for choice and lucky to be among the few explorers to ever venture here. 

The Milne Bay area is famous for its visibility up to 150 feet! Big currents mean big animals and a huge range of species. Whilst scuba diving along the north coast on the many drop offs, you may encounter large pelagics such as hammerheads, minke whales, whale sharks, schooling barracuda, devil rays, and manta rays. When taking a trip to the beautiful reef pinnacles you'll see an incredible array of wildlife residing there from large pelagics to really rare, small creatures, some of which are yet to be scientifically named. The macro enthusiast will not be disappointed with Milne Bay's stunning macro, including blue ring octopus, rhinopias, pygmy seahorse, fire gobys, blue ribbon eels, mimic octopus, cuttlefish, spanish dancers, coleman shrimp, nudibranchs, and much more!

A cruise on the MV Chertan offers unlimited diving for the enthusiast, as well as an introduction to the fascinating local culture. You'll encounter everything from dugouts and plunging coral drop-offs to towering volcanic mountains, skull caves, thermals springs, and on request, of course the birds of paradise!

Most dive sites are fairly easy diving with little or no current. However, there are dive sites which we'll visit which are open ocean pinnacles where the currents may be stronger. Diving the pinnacles can be tricky and appropriate precautions will be made to ensure your safety. 

  •  

    PAYMENT INFORMATION


    $800 deposit due at booking
    $1,500 due February 1, 2018
    Final balance due June 1, 2018

    CONTACT INFORMATION / HOW TO BOOK


  • PHOTOS


    MV Chertan and Milne Bay:
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Rondon Ridge and Mount Hagen:
           
   

 
Ambua Lodge and Tari:
         

 
A few of the birds of PNG:
     

 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


Q: Is Papua New Guinea safe?
A: In a nutshell, yes! The majority of crime happens in the urban area of Port Moresby. The areas we visit (e.g. Milne Bay, Mount Hagen, and Tari) are not high crime areas, and we'll be with a local guide for all the tours. Currently, there are no US State Department travel warnings for Papua New Guinea.

Q: What are the passport and visa requirements?
A: You must be in possession of a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of proposed departure with at least 1 blank page. United States citizens are required to have a visa that can be obtained on arrival for free in Port Moresby, valid for stays up to 60 days. For more information and a list of free visa on arrival countries, see here


Q:
What dive equipment should I bring?
A:
 Divers should bring all their own personal equipment including BC, regulator, mask, fins, snorkel, computer, and gauges. The vessel supplies tanks, weights, and weight belts. Limited equipment is available to rent for an additional charge.

Q: Is nitrox available?
A: Yes, nitrox is available and costs $28 per dive day.

Q: Can I pay a single supplement if I want my own room?
A:
 On the liveaboard there are no single accommodation and no single supplement, so you would be paying for two spaces if you want your own cabin. For the land-based extension, guests may pay an additional $552 to have their own room for all 4 nights.

Q: How many dives will we do?
A: Chertan offers unlimited diving, and you can do as many dives as your computer allows!

Q:
How many people does the boat take?
A: The boat accommodates a maximum of 10 guests.

Q: Are the tanks DIN or yoke?
A:
 Both are available. 

Q:
Is the diving easy? Difficult?
A:
Most dive sites are fairly easy diving with little or no current. However, there are dive sites which we'll visit which are open ocean pinnacles where the currents may be stronger. Diving the pinnacles can be tricky and appropriate precautions will be made to ensure your safety. 

Q:
What are the average water temperatures in September/October?
A:
 Water temps are between 79 - 82 F. Most people wear a 3mm or 5mm wetsuit.

Q:
 What are the average air temperatures for the land-based extension?
A:
 The climate in PNG is tropical and pleasant. There are two distinct types of climate:
The lowland and coastal areas are hot having a temperature range of 75 - 95 F with high humidity.
The highlands regions are cooler, having a temperature range of 54 - 82 F with less humidity. Mount Hagen and Tari are both located in the highlands.


Q:
Do I need an electrical adapter?
A:
 Yes. Papua New Guinea uses plug type I, which is the same as Australia.

Q: Do I need any special vaccines?
A: Papua New Guinea does carry the risk of malaria and Zika, although the risk is small. The CDC currently recommends travelers be up to date on standard vaccinations, and also suggests Hepatitis A and Typhoid, which are commonly recommend for any international travel. For more information, you can check the CDC website for recommended vaccines for travel to Papua New Guinea here, and/or check with your physician.

Q:
Will I get seasick?
A:
If you tend to get seasick, we recommend you take Dramamine, Bonine, or another seasickness medication.

Q: Is there WiFi?
A: There is no wifi on the liveaboard. There is a weak cellular data connection at the lodges, but no wifi. SIM cards can be purchased for K15.00 for usage on an unlocked phone. Data can be purchased at K42.00 per GB. SIM cards should be purchased on arrival at Port Morseby.


Q:
 What tour company are you using for land visits? What exactly will we be doing on our land tours? 
A: 
We are using Trans Niugini Tours for our land extension. With over 35 years experience, Trans Niugini Tours is the only inbound tour operator that not only owns and manages the wilderness lodges, but also owns their own charter aircraft. They are a very reputable company held to the highest standards of safety and reliability.

Village visits can be changed very last minute due to events that may happen in the village such as deaths or weddings. Tourists are not allowed to visit when this happens. Village visits are usually planned a few days in advance, therefore it's difficult to advise which exact villages will be visited. 


Q: Do the boat and lodges take credit cards? How much spending money do I need?
A:
 MV Chertan accepts cash only (all major currencies accepted.) The wilderness lodges accept cash, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Aside from your expenses on the liveaboard, you should plan to bring about K500 - K700 (approximately $155 - $215 USD) in local currency for shopping and souvenirs. 


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