5-10 nautical miles offshore lies a string of reefs and bombora (bommies) that come up from a staggering depth of 600m (2000ft) to a nice safety-stop of 5-7m (16-22ft) below the surface, with visibility exceeding 30m (98ft) and water temperatures from 26-29ºC (78-84ºF).
Spectacular marine life is abundant with schooling barracuda, reef fish and varieties of sharks, including the rare white hammerhead and a multitude of little critters, ideal for macro photography.
The majority of reefs in the region remain unexplored and it will be some time before the full diversity of the Tufi reefs are known.
A friendly Manta Ray cruises around several reefs. It is often seen at Bev’s, Minor and Marian’s reef. This Manta is very distinct. It has a white collar around the neck on top of its back. Its wingspan must be at least 3 m from tip to tip. An awesome sight. This dive site has it all… On the top of the reef the rare and beautiful, but highly venomous Rhinopias can often be found by the insistent searcher.
Black rocks and its neighbouring site are the most southerly dive spots. These circular reefs with deep spurs offer all levels of diving. Gentle currents bring in schools of pelagic including Barracuda, Jack and Spanish Mackerel. Large silver Travelly play hide and seek with a variety of reef sharks. The exposed rocks on the tops of the reefs offer great swimming and snorkeling in between dives in a protected setting.
Blue Ribbon Reef
Aptly named, because this is the home of the blue ribbon eel, which changes color during various stages of its life. This is also a coastal reef north of Tufi at the mouth of McLaren’s Fjord. Sheltered from the Trade Winds.
Buddy’s is one of our lesser-dived reefs. It offers some drift diving when the current is strong at certain times of the year.
Top of this reef also has spectacular corals. This dive also offers some great wall diving. White tip reef sharks cruise around patrolling this reef. The white hammerhead patrols this reef also. This reef offers good snorkeling for the non-diver.
During the 1972 cyclone a small island was formed from broken coral. This is now the breeding ground for a variety of seabirds. It also provides a sheltered lee side where the coral reefs have the opportunity to grow undisturbed by wave action during the Trade Winds season.This reef is a perfect mooring spot for our dive boat and ideal for our snorkellers. This is one of the prettiest coral reefs in this area. There are 3 distinct dive sites at this reef.
This bommie lies off to one side. Here you will often find some turtle, unafraid of divers. Lots of tropical coral fish and the occasional hammerhead shark coming up from the deep to investigate the intruders. The far wall is perpendicular with some interesting swim-thru’s and deep caves. The top of this site is at 5m and offers an ideal safety stop, where you can virtually “breathe your tank out”. Those with good eyesight can spot the rare Rhinopias aphanes or Lacy Scorpionfish that sheds its skin every 12 to 13 weeks. The pectoral fins have what look like glass windows. An amazing creature.
Wall diving at its best! From 7m, vertical walls plummet down to beyond 40 m where it slopes down way beyond your vision. The walls are covered in colourful lichens, hard and soft corals. Nudibranchs of all sizes and varieties dot these walls. Macro or wide angle lens now poses a difficult question. The top of the reef is great too.
Cyclone Reef Outer Wall
Sheer wall with overhangs for nearly 1 km. Level off at 20 plus meters for half a tank and come back at a higher level, leaving you with plenty of air to ‘play’ around the top of the reef. Hawksbill and green turtles often ‘hang’ around the top of this reef. Large brain coral reach up to just under the surface.
Named after another guest from Australia who just adored this reef. He was a keen amateur underwater video photographer. This is a coastal reef at the mouth of the next Fjord south of Tufi called Amunyan Bay. There are 2 resident turtles on the main reef. The larger one of the two is particularly tame and if the diver is gentle enough it can be approached to within half a meter distance. A small tropical island offers shelter from the Trade Winds during May to September. The reef on the lee side of the island is great for snorkellers. There is a lot of different Nudibranch along this reef. This reef is ideal for diving during strong windy days, without having to go to the outer reefs.
El’s and Clancy make a great mid-range duo. Both dives are similar and are host to schools of small colorful reef fishes of the Indo-Pacific region.
Close to Mulloway. Ideal for drift diving the slope with the current after diving the wall into the current. Plenty of Pelagic. It is an extensive reef, so after the drift diving part, the dive boat will pick up the divers. The white Hammerhead is often seen here as well. Corals on top of the reef are pretty.
House Reefs (Tufi Wharf)
The resort wharf is a thing of wonder. The term ‘Muck Diving’ was invented here in PNG. Right at the jetty in front of the dive shop complex a new world awaits the unsuspecting diver. In amongst the rubble of machinery and Coca-Cola bottles from WW2, a wide variety of little critters have made their home. Every conceivable species of Gobie, Nudibranch, Mandarin fish, Ghostpipe Fish, Banded Pipe Fish and a plethora of other fascinating creatures offer the diver a Mecca for under water Macro photography. All this in less than 10m of water! During a night dive the inhabitants of this area are totally changed and one cannot recognise it is the same dive done during daylight hours.
Further along from the wharf, heading to the main fjord, walls with small caves and overhangs appear, and near the corner fragile elephant ear sponges thrive in the very gentle current, as do crinoids and their resident squat lobsters, horned shrimp, and clingfish. THe house reef is one of the best house reefs in the world, and is a macro-mecca. One could do five different daylight dives from the wharf before doing more at dusk to look for mandarinfish and other nocturnal wonders.
Together with Bev’s reef are the two close-by reefs offering something for everyone. This reef has an amazing variety of Gobi’s. Also the hairy Ghostpipe fish can be spotted here. Pelagic cruise around the top of this reef. Big brain corals allow some swim-throughs. Great dives for all levels of dive training.
Minor’s reef is one of our most spectacular dive sites….. The perpendicular walls are covered with large Minor Nudibranchs. Their yellow ‘rose’ shaped eggs are superb subjects for photography. Often tiny clear, see-through shrimps hide amongst the egg formation. Difficult to spot at first, but great for Macro shots. Our giant manta is often seen cruising around this reef continuously soaking up the plankton. At times a large school of big ‘Hump headed’ Parrot fish are seen cruising past.
Undoubtedly one of our best Dive Sites! The dive team swims towards the far point where the reef drops off to beyond 200 m. Generally the current is strong, bringing plankton and bountiful food for thousands of fishes. The place literally ‘explodes’. Hammerheads, reef sharks, rays and schools of pelagic frantically are in search of food. You can ‘hang on’ a protruding rock or a submerged mooring rope and watch the show. Mulloway is named after one of our first guests who lives in Mulloway near Coffs Harbour in Australia. Great visibility caused by the ocean’s current upwelling. A spectacular giant clam lives at the safety stop.
Often used as a second dive after Stewart’s. Lots of soft corals of various colors. Good beds of large staghorn corals cover a particular part of the reef. Lots of sea-anemone host a variety of clown fishes that are particularly territorial here on this reef. They will chase the diver away. Good schools of Travelly and Barracuda.
Lots of soft corals, mostly wall dives with our white Hammerhead and Grey, white tip and black tip sharks patrolling this area. Here also we have big schools of Red Snapper.
This is one of our newly discovered dive-sites. We chose this name because white-tip-, silver tip-, black tip and some Grey sharks always greet us. Nudibranch can be found amongst nice colorful coral.
The closest reef to the resort. Just a half-hour boat ride offers a splendid dive. Here we tie up to a defunct lighthouse. The top of the reef has schools of Spanish Mackerel, Barracuda and schooling Trevally. The outside walls are covered in soft and hard corals. This reef lends itself to a great night dive.
Good deep dive. At a depth of 30 to 35 m on a sloping white sandy bottom, the diver can visit a huge colony of Garden eels. They are not too shy and can be approached carefully to take a snap shot before they retract into their holes. Large Gorgonian fans hang on vertical walls.
Gabriella’s Fish Point
Named after one of the previous managers. It is a long reef with one large bommie. Colorful corals and a vertical walls straight down to 45 m. Lots of fish life around the bommie with plenty of pelagics when the current is running.