Surrounding about 2/3 of Lissenung Island, this reef is an ideal spot for photographers and for night diving. You may encounter Seahorse, six different species of Clownfish including the rare Panda Clownfish, Cockatoo Waspfish, Crocodile Fish and hundreds of other species. Off the island is also the wreck of a yacht, which was sunk in the 70ies.
2. Echuca Patch
This is a large ridge rising from 45m (150ft) to within 12m (40ft) of the surface and is situated in the open ocean just outside Kavieng. A Korean fishing boat, the ‘Der Yang’, lies on its starboard side close to this ridge. This point is a magnet for Barracudas and Jacks.
3. Nusa Blowholes
Several swim-troughs and a little cave with lots of Crayfish make this an interesting dive. Sleeping Whitetip Sharks and Painted Crayfish are seen frequently and Nudibranchs are abundant.
4. Catalina Floatplane
On January 15, 1942 RAAF Catalina PBY A24-11 was on its way to Truk on a reconnaissance mission. After the scheduled refueling stop in Kavieng, the plane crashed and exploded on takeoff. The remains of it are now lying in about 20m (70ft) at the northern end of the Kavieng harbour.
5. ‘Pete’ Floatplanes
Two of these Japanese reconnaissance planes are resting just off the fisheries wharf in about 18m (60ft). Almost devoid of corals these planes have plenty of Lionfish as residents.
6. The Bottleshop
Around the pylons of a slipway in the Kavieng harbour is probably the best muck-dive in the area. Through the years an amazing selection of bottles, cans and tyres have created a perfect environment for critters. The weird and wonderful such as Ghost Pipefish, Demon Stinger, Allied Cowries, Nudibranchs and Shrimps, Octopus, Pipefish, Seahorse and many more are abundant here. This dive is a must for the serious macro photographer.
7. Nozaki’s Secret
Mandarin Fish, and lots of them! During daytime this reef is not very appealing with lots of broken coral, but it is exactly the right environment for the elusive Mandarin Fish. Around sunset is the time to watch them in front of their little holes feeding, fighting and even mating.
8. Deep ‘Pete’
This ‘Pete’ Floatplane was found recently off Nusa Island in about 40m (130ft). Sitting on white sand, covered in black coral trees and surrounded by Batfish it is a very scenic dive, but unfortunately also a dive with a very short bottom time.
9. ‘Kate’ Bombers
For the aircraft enthusiast we have two more plane wrecks in the Kavieng harbour. These Japanese torpedo bombers are resting in about 12m (40ft) on sand. On and around the planes you may find Nudibranchs, Cleaner Shrimps and Crocodile Fish.
10. ‘Tenryu Maru’
This Japanese ship was sunk on Christmas Day 1943 by allied aircrafts at the south entrance to the Kavieng harbour. After the war the top part of the wreck was blasted to open the entrance of the harbour. Within the remains of this ship you may find lots of artefacts as well as critters like Twinspot Lionfish, big Murex shells and Tiger Cowries.
11. Ral Island
You can either dive the beautiful coral garden at Ral Island or you can dive the sand and sea grass area of this site where you may find Seahorse, Frogfish, Sand Eels, Panda Clownfish and Ghost Pipefish. This dive is another must for the muck diving enthusiast.
12. Lemus Island
Big fan corals in deeper water and stunning hard corals in the shallows can be seen here. This dive is usually done as a gentle drift dive and there is a good chance to see pelagic fish swimming past.
13. Turtle Reef
This beautiful coral garden in the middle of the open sea is named after its resident Hawksbill Turtles, which are attracted by a certain type of sponge. Cuttlefish and large Spanish Mackerels are also seen frequently here.
14. ‘Jake’ Bomber
This Japanese plane wreck from WWII sits upright in a depth of 10m (30ft) and is covered with corals and anemones. You may find Pipe Fish and Cuttlefish around the wreck.
15. Kavin II
The wall of Kavin II plunges almost vertical downward to about 600m (1800ft). Overhangs and lots of little crevices are covered with all sorts of marine life. Between bizarre sponge formations and big black coral trees you will find plenty of Nudibranchs, some Pygmy Seahorses on a large fan coral and with some luck the Comet Fish.
16. Danny’s Bommie
Starting in about 7m (25ft) the outside of this bommie plunges straight down to the abyss. Towards the island it is connected through a saddle at 15m (50ft). The bommie is covered in beautiful hard and soft corals with schools of Fusiliers and Batfish swimming around it.
17. Albatross Passage
At an incoming tide this narrow passage is like fish soup. Eagle Rays, Mobula Rays, big Dogtooth Tunas, Barracudas, plenty of Grey Reef Sharks and loads of other fish can be seen here on almost every dive. The wall itself is overgrown with big fan corals, black corals and sponges and this is the home for small creatures like Nudibranchs, Leaf Scorpionfish and Pygmy Seahorse. In our opinion Albatross is the best dive in the Kavieng area and a must for every visiting diver.
18. Bermuda Drop
Two giant Clamshells and many different species of nudibranchs can be seen here. This reef slopes from about 3m (10ft) down to about 25m (80ft) and then drops off vertical until out of sight.
19. Baudisson Bay
This is a vertical wall rising from 800m (2400ft) up to the surface and it has lots of swim-throughs and crevices. Grey Reef Sharks and Whitetip Sharks are seen here on almost every dive, but the real attraction at this spot is the big variety of nudibranchs.
20. Frank’s Reef
Another vertical wall with lots of little crevices and overhangs is here to be seen. Plenty of different species like Anthias, Gobies and Blennies make this dive very interesting for the fish enthusiast.
21. Peter’s Patch
Peter’s Patch is the southeastern tip of a very large reef system in Steffen Strait, the main shipping entrance into Kavieng. With incoming tide this spot attracts lots of pelagic fish such as Tunas, Jacks, Sharks and Barracudas and during the whole dive a school of Batfish will most likely accompany you.
22. Nautilus Reef
Only a few hundred meters away from Peter’s Patch is Nautilus Reef. Magnificent hard coral on an almost vertical wall and a multitude of fish make this dive also very special. You will see anything from small resident fish like Gobies and Anthias to pelagics like Rainbow Runners, Jacks, Tunas and Sharks.
23. Helmut’s Reef
With only about 100m (300ft) across this little patch reef is situated in the middle of Steffen Strait. 7m (25ft) on the top and sloping down to about 45m (150ft), this reef is covered with beautiful hard corals and big fans. With an incoming tide schools of Fusiliers and Redtooth Triggerfish swarm around and make it difficult to focus on the Dogtooth Tunas, big Mackerels and Grey Reef Sharks. This is not an easy dive but you can expect the unexpected.
24. Lighthouse Bommie
Surrounded by white sand and dropping to a maximum depth of 25m (80ft) this reef is a popular breeding spot for Green Triggerfish. So you better be careful, they may attack you! But with some luck you may see Eagle Rays feeding in the sand.
This is probably the most beautiful drift dive in Kavieng. Fantastic hard corals in the shallows and huge fan corals from 20m (65ft) downwards make a beautiful scenery. And as you drift along you may see Mobula Rays, Turtles, Sea Snakes and of course, some sharks.
26. Nanavaul Drift
A drift along Nanavaul Island may bring you past Grey Reef Sharks, Barracudas and Eagle Rays. The reef drops down to comfortable 20m (65ft) and along the bottom are several lone bommies waiting for exploration.
27. B25 ‘Stubborn Hellion’
This American B 25 Bomber was shot down on 14 February 1944 by the Japanese army during the battle around Kavieng. The plane sits upright in 12m (40ft) of water, halfway between Lissenung Island and Albatross Channel. This dive is especially interesting, because the whole history of the plane and its crew is known.
28. Diversion’s Drop Off
This vertical wall starts at about 3m (10ft) and drops down to several hundred meters. Overgrown with beautiful corals you can see everything from Dart Gobies to Scorpion Fish. Of course, some sharks will swim past and check you out.
29. Darwin Reef
Close to Diversions is this little pinnacle, which you can circumnavigate easily on a dive. On the reef top at about 4m (12ft) you can see several different species of Gobies and Blennies as well as Stonefish and Scorpionfish.
30. Byron Strait
The southern entrance of Byron Strait is best dived with a strong incoming tide. This makes it a difficult dive but just any type of pelagic fish can be seen there.
31. Judy’s Reef
There is a beautiful swim-through on the south side of this pinnacle, which is almost completely fenced off by a huge fan coral halfway through it. Along the wall you can see lots of Nudibranchs, schooling Redtooth Triggerfish and the odd shark swimming past.
32. Planet Channel
A wall-like reef runs across this channel, which is beautifully overgrown with soft corals, sponges and big fans. At an incoming tide you get to see schooling Barracudas and Jacks, sharks and Eagle Rays.
33. Eagle Ray Passage
The western part of Planet Channel is also called Eagle Ray Passage. With a strong current running into this narrow channel, Eagle Rays are almost guaranteed. Covered with soft corals and fans, this spot is like an aquarium with all kinds of fish.
The following dive sites are visited only during special New Hanover and Exploratory Trips:
34. Kaplaman Reef
Situated on the east coast of New Ireland this patch reef offers a wide variety of beautiful hard corals. Schooling Barracudas and Jacks and Grey Reef Sharks are seen here frequently.
35. Chamisso Channel
The first part of this dive goes along the deeper entrance of the channel to look at all kinds of pelagic fish, the second part is a fast drift into the channel along a beautiful reef slope. Nudibranchs and Allied Cowries, Queensland Groupers and big sharks – everything is possible here.
36. Mascotte Channel
A series of bommies off the channel entrance is the main feature of this site. The depth of these bommies ranges from 21m (70ft) to 36m (120ft) and on the outside they drop off to the abyss. Lots of Grey Reef Sharks and Barracudas, Batfish and Fusiliers swarm around the outside of this wall.
37. Big Fish Reef
This reef got its name because a Whale Shark was seen there once. The coral growth on this reef is fairly poor, but the real attractions are the schooling Barracudas, Jacks, Batfish and Surgeonfish. With a strong current running you may be lucky and see a school of Eagle Rays as well.
38. ‘Sanko Maru’ & Minisub
Sunk on 16 February 1944 by American aircraft, the Japanese merchant ship ‘Sank Maru’ is probably the most beautifully overgrown wreck in the entire Pacific. Dense soft and fan corals in any imaginable color cover the entire wreck. About 30 meters off the main wreck is the final resting place of a Type C Midget Submarine.
39. Subchaser #39
This Japanese Subchaser was attacked and sunk whilst “protecting” Sanko Maru and the Minisub. After it ran aground it was hit by several more bombs and the remains of the ship are now stretched across a shallow reef with the bow and the engine clearly visible.
40. Japanese Freighter
Possibly the ‘Kashi Maru’, this freighter was sunk the next day also by American aircraft and lies now on a reef slope. Beautiful hard corals cover the wreck in the shallows, where you can see many different species of Gobies, Blennies and other reef fish. On the sand bottom around the stern of the wreck are lots of Gobies and Shrimps in front of their little burrows.
41. Chapman’s #1 & #2
Located off the westernmost point of New Hanover and exposed to strong currents, Chapman’s is a small pinnacle starting in about 7 meters with its walls disappearing into the abyss. The reef is covered in soft corals and surrounded by clouds of reef fish. The southern end is the home to probably the only known aggregation of VW-sized Queensland Groupers.
42. Taun Reef
Also off the west coast New Hanover this reef comes straight up from several hundred meters. Pristine corals surrounded by a myriad of fish are home to loads of Nudibranchs and other small animals. It is also one of the few spots where you can see the rare Whitebonnet Anemonefish. Please be aware, that the diving at some spots may be difficult at times because of strong current. But with the knowledge and help of our staff you will earn the reward in form of world class diving. However, our dive crew may have to change the planned dive sites for various safety reasons.
Late December until early April is the wet season. At times strong NW winds make it impossible to dive on the Pacific side, but the Bismarck Sea is usually calm.
Late April until late May is the doldrums with calm seas.
Early June until late October is the dry season, with some strong SE winds in July and August.
Early November until early December is again the doldrums.
Visibility ranges from about 20-25m (70-80ft) earlier in the year to about 40m (130ft) in October to January,
Water temperature ranges between 28°C (80°F) around midyear to about 30°C (84°F) around the end of the year.