2019 Papua New Guinea Group Trip

  

 2019 Papua New Guinea Group Trip

Join us on this amazing trip to Kimbe Bay, Witu Islands and the Fathers Reefs via MV FeBrina liveaboard followed by a cultural land extension to visit local tribes!

Oct 28 - Nov 6 (liveaboard trip) & Nov 6 - 10, 2019 (land extension)

Led by Mark Strickland

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Double Occupancy - $3,726 liveaboard + $2,130 land extension*

Single Occupancy - $4,875 liveaboard + $2,130 land extension*

*Rates are per person. 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!

 

Trip Overview - Start by spending 9 nights aboard the MV FeBrina liveaboard diving three areas on the Northern Coast of New Britain Island. Working out of Walindi Resort in the best weather months, FeBrina visits the "must dive" sites in Kimbe Bay, at Witu Islands and also the Fathers Reefs area. This itinerary gives a fantastic cross section of many different dive types, from coral gardens, sea mounts, reef walls, arches and overhanging ledges, to muck diving in rubbly black sand bays, watching from the water as dolphins play in the FeBrina bow wave or interacting with the ever curious turtles. After that, enjoy a 4-night land tour to visit the highlands and see the way of life of the Melpa and Huli tribes.

Diving Kimbe Bay, Witu Islands & Fathers Reefs

Kimbe Bay is home to stunning reefs with those brilliant coral formations you see in all the classic Walindi pics. Beautiful and dramatic sea mounts, coral laden walls and lush coral gardens are all a feature of Kimbe Bay diving, along with myriad fish and invertebrate life the reefs sustain.

Witu Islands are a group of islands, volcanic in origin, situated to the north west of Kimbe Bay. The diving is a mixture of sea mounts rising from deep waters to within metres of the surface (such as Lama shoals), beautiful coral arches and great night dives in the black sand bays of the islands. Lots of interaction with the locals trading fresh fruit and veg out of their canoes too.

Fathers Reefs are a series of off shore reefs, also volcanic in origin. The underwater topography is startlingly different with dramatic reefscapes, arches and swim throughs. Being offshore, these reefs also attract pelagic activity such as sharks, rays, turtles, schools of barracuda, jacks etc.

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Included in the 14 day/13 night package:

✓ 9 nights ensuite accommodation on board MV FeBrina as reserved

✓ All meals and snacks

✓ Unlimited tea and coffee

✓ Final night dinner at Walindi Plantation Resort

✓ 7.5 days diving

✓ 4 or 5 dives per day

✓ Filled tanks

✓ Weight belt and weights

✓ Return airport transfers to and from Hoskins airport/Walindi

✓ Light laundry service daily.

✓ 2 nights accommodations at Rondon Ridge and 2 nights accommodations at Ambua Lodge

✓ All meals for land-based extension starting with dinner on Nov 6, ending with breakfast on Nov 10

✓ Charter flight from Mount Hagen to Tari on November 8

✓ Airport transfers for land-based trip

✓ Local tour guides

✓ Luggage storage in Port Moresby during land extension

Excluded in the 14 day/13 night package:

✗ International airfare to/from Port Moresby

✗ Domestic airfare as follows: Port Moresby to Hoskins on October 28, Hoskins to Mount Hagen via Port Moresby on Nov 6, and Tari to Port Moresby on Nov 10 (approximate cost of all domestic flights = $600- $650)

✗ Any meals taken at Walindi prior to boarding MV FeBrina or after disembarkation from the boat

✗ Souvenirs or items of a personal nature

✗ Gratuities

✗ Environmental and Safety Fees - US$54 per person, to be paid with trip cost in advance of arrival.

✗ Nitrox – available as a package for all dives during the trip = US$270 per person (ex GST) or US$10 per casual fill.

✗ Equipment Hire – Limited dive equipment and sizes are kept on board for hire.

✗ Alcohol/Bar – Local beers are available on board for a cost of PGK8 (SP) and PGK9 (SP Export). Softdrinks are available at a cost of PGK5 each. Wine is available by the bottle or glass (costs depend on wine type). We recommend that you bring your favourite spirit duty free for consumption on board, some spirits are available however they are quite expensive in Papua New Guinea.

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Daily Trip Itinerary

Day 1 (October 28): The closest airport to the departure point is Hoskins airport (HKN) and there are daily flights with Air Niugini and PNG Air from Port Moresby to Hoskins. Upon arrival in Hoskins airport from Ports Moresby, guests will be met by the Walindi Resort shuttle bus and guests transferred to FeBrina at the Walindi Wharf.

Day 2 (October 29): Unlimited diving.

Day 3 (October 30): Same as day #2.

Day 4 (October 31): Same as day #2.

Day 5 (November 1): Same as day #2. Day 6 (November 2): Same as day #2.

Day 7 (November 3): Same as day #2.

Day 8 (November 4): Same as day #2.

Day 9 (November 5): Same as day #2. Diving stops 24 hours before flight departure.

Day 10 (November 6): We'll disembark in the morning and take a flight to Port Moresby. 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 11 (November 7): 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 12 (November 8): 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 13 (November 9): 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 14 (November 10): 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.

Liveaboard Schedule - With an eight to ten hour steam between all three areas, you will be truly getting away from it all on this itinerary departure. Diving will start on the morning after departure and the last dive will be the dive prior to lunch on the day before disembarkation. MV FeBrina will return to port after the last dive, arriving back at Walindi early afternoon. A typical diving day is scheduled as follows:

In general, the dive day will start at 6:30am. You will be woken by the crew with a knock on your cabin door (unless you request otherwise) at around 6:00am. A continental breakfast, tea and coffee will be available if you would like to have something light before diving. If you would prefer to skip the first dive on any day, simply advise the crew of this or put the “do not disturb” sign on your door handle.

Usual dive times are 6:30am, 9:00am and 11:30am (three dives before lunch), then an afternoon dive at 3:30pm and if the boat is not steaming, a night dive before dinner at 6:30pm. Dive briefings are held 15 minutes prior to the dive time.

Dive times may change depending on weather and tide, and you will be advised accordingly of any dive time changes. Note that the dive plan for the day can change at any time, depending on weather, tides, currents etc. For this reason, we do not have a written schedule of dives.

Please be assured that the Captain and crew always endeavor to dive on sites under optimum conditions, which sometimes means that planned dives/times may change at the last minute.

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About MV Febrina - The MV FeBrina has been designed specifically as a scuba diving liveaboard with several different room/bed arrangements in 7 cabins, multiple decks, spacious dive deck and more. Guests may choose between a double cabin, four twin cabins or two single cabins, providing flexibility for both individual and group travelers.

MV FeBrina MV FeBrina

MV FeBrina MV FeBrina

Check out this page to see more details and customer reviews on the MV Febrina

MV FeBrina
MV FeBrina
MV FeBrina

 

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About the Trip Leader

Mark Strickland’s life-long interest in the sea has included over 10,000 dives and careers as lifeguard, boat captain and scuba instructor. His passion for underwater photography has led him to many top dive locales, including Virgin Islands, Australia, and Thailand, where he spent 17 years as Cruise Director on a series of liveaboards. Mark now resides in Ventura County, California.

An avid marine naturalist, Mark has discovered several nudibranch species. He is co-author and principle photographer for Lonely Planet’s award-winning book, “Diving and Snorkeling Thailand”, and his work appears in many magazines, books and displays around the world. Currently, Mark leads several dive trips each year to his favorite destinations, while working on a career-spanning large-format pictorial book.

Mark's photos and articles have appeared in magazines and books around the world, including Action Asia, BBC Wildlife, National Geographic World, Natural History, Scuba Diving, Skin Diver, Sport Diver, Sportdiving, Unterwasser and many others. In addition to representation by several stock photo agencies, Mark operates his own photo library, Mark Strickland Photography, www.markstrickland.com.


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Payment Schedule
> $800 per person deposit due to confirm your spot on this trip.
 
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Got Questions? Ready to Book?

Call us today at 310-915-6677 email us at info@bluewaterdivetravel.com

Or stop by our office at 3961 Sepulveda Blvd, Suite 206 Culver City, CA 90230 

And let us book your dream vacation!

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Photo Gallery

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PNG Underwater Photos
Photos provided by Nate Lovas, Steve Jones, Cheyne Benjamin, Darek Sepiolo, Franco Banfi & Marcelo Krause

Rondon Ridge and Mount Hagen:
 
            
   

Ambua Lodge and Tari:
          

A few of the birds of PNG:
     
 
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FAQ

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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 are not high crime areas, and 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 as an option.

Q: How many people does the boat take?
A: The boat accommodates a maximum of 12 guests.

Q: Are the tanks DIN or yoke?
A: Both are available.
 
Q: What are the average water temperatures?
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 recommended 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 Moresby.

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?
A: MV Febrina accepts AUD, USD, Euro and Kina as well as all major credit cards (MasterCard/ Visa/ Amex). 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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