I am hard pressed to think of anywhere on Earth that has this combination of vibrant health, diversity and beauty."
Professor Charles Veron on the reefs of Kimbe Bay (March 2008).
Papua New Guinea is located in the coral triangle, the centre of marine biodiversity which has the highest diversity of tropical fish and coral in the world. The waters of New Britain are home to prolific and diverse marine creatures and corals. Pristine and colourful corals are home to a variety of fish, crustacean and invertebrate life. Many of the reefs have resident schools of barracuda, tuna and jacks. A range of shark species are regularly sighted, including hammerheads and silvertips, particularly on the offshore reefs.
The coral reefs around Walindi are extraordinarily rich. A recent coral count of Kimbe Bay revealed an incredible 413 species of hard coral. This is over half the total world species in one Bay, a truly remarkable statistic which makes Kimbe Bay the "Coral Capital of the World". Over 900 species of fish have been recorded and this number will continue to grow as more research is done.
Visibility ranges from 80 to 150 feet, depending on the season. Water temperatures range between 85 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Weather is tropical with little seasonal variation.
The coral reef communities in Kimbe Bay have remained largely undamaged by human activity. We intend to keep it that way. We use moorings where possible to reduce damage from anchoring.
As a diver, your help in protecting the reef is imperative. You may only damage a small piece of coral, but when multiplied by many divers, this will amount to considerable damage. Dive carefully and use good buoyancy control. Don't touch the reef. Never lean on the reef to take photographs. Take your time and you will be better able to appreciate what is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world.
Accessible from the Febrina, the Witu Islands, to the north west of Kimbe Bay, are a remote group of islands with a wide variety of dive types to visit. The islands and reef are of volcanic origin and rise from very deep water. Garove Harbour is actually a submerged volcanic crater. Nutrient rich currents frequently waft across most reefs and as a result there is a profusion of life. Schools of pelagic fishes abound on the world renowned Lama Shoals, a sea mount rising to within 15 feet of the surface from the surrounding deep waters.
Fathers Reefs, to the north east of Kimbe Bay along the northern coast line of New Britain, are a series of off shore reefs, which are the sunken remains of a huge extinct volcanic caldera. The reefs have interesting topography with swim throughs and arches adorned with soft corals and other sea life. Being offshore, these reefs attract many pelagic species including shark, tuna, barracuda, turtles and rays, which all come in to feed off the prolific reef fish and other invertebrate species that have settled here.
Rabaul and the South Coast of New Britain are a critter lover's heaven and are sometimes visited by the Febrina. White sand beaches and uninhabited tropical islands stretch along the Southern coastline of the island of New Britain, with rainforest coming right down to the waters edge. There are some drift dives in the channels created between the islands, however the speciality of this region is the amazing variety of rarely seen and unusual critters.
There are several excellent publications that can assist you to identify many of the creatures you will see on your dives. We recommend:
Reef Fishes of New Guinea by Gerald Allen and Roger Swainston. This excellent field guide covers the majority of fishes you are likely to see.
Indo-Pacific Coral Reef Field Guide by Gerald Allen and Roger Steene. The most comprehensive field guide available for a wide range of marine animal and plant groups found in this area.
Checklist of Fishes from Kimbe Bay by Philip Munday and Gerald Allen. All the fishes known to date from this area are recorded in this list.