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Rick Coleman | profile | all galleries >> Papua New Guinea on the M.V. Telita, August 2008 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Papua New Guinea on the M.V. Telita, August 2008

Welcome to our Papua New Guinea Gallery. The pictures and story within are from a 12 day liveaboard dive trip on the M.V. Telita, which also happens to be our very first experience on a liveaboard. Our adventure was scheduled to start at Manus Island, finish at Wewak and dive the seldom targeted area of the Hermits and Ninigo’s along the way.

One of the biggest challenges with PNG travel is simply getting there. Even though we don’t have any real horror stories, we did encounter a challenge or two. For us to meet the boat in Manus our schedule called for three different flights on consecutive days – Los Angeles to Brisbane on Qantas, and from there Air Niugini would take over and get us to Port Moresby, then onto Manus. Among stories we heard during our trip preparations was that Air Niugini frequently changes and cancels flights and Port Moresby, the capital of PNG is one of the world’s most unsafe cities. How do those 2 things relate? Well, shortly before our journey commenced Air Niugina lived up to their reputation by changing one of our return flights, which forced us to spend an extra night in Port Moresby. Fortunately, there is a very safe, albeit expensive, hotel (Airways) right at the airport. We opted not to leave the hotel to walk around town alone in the middle of the night, following the prevailing Port Moresby wisdom.

I guess we need to actually get to Port Moresby first, so let’s digress to Brisbane. After 14 hours in the air we were picked up at the Airport by Geoff, whom we had met on a trip to Fiji 3 years back. Geoff gave us a tour of Brisbane, we did some exploring on our own and after a fitful nights sleep we headed back to the airport for our three hour “10:00am” flight to Port Moresby. The 8 hour delay we experienced didn’t turn out to be all that bad. We met many cool Aussies (in fact, every Australian we met was extremely friendly, helpful, and hospitable) that were heading to Port Moresby to hike the Kokoda Track and Air Niugini actually gave us a meal voucher, which was quickly redeemed at the airport Subway. Amazingly, we also met a couple that was on our same trip – Carol and Andrew.

Now let us digress even further. About 5 days before we were scheduled to depart Susie noticed on Telita’s website that our trip was listed as an 11 night trip ending in Wewak on August 28th. The problem was that our trip was booked as a 12 night trip returning to Wewak on August 29th. So, was this a mistake, or was our trip changed and shortened? What were we going to do in Wewak if we had to get off the boat a day earlier? Let’s segway to mosquitos as malaria is prevalent in PNG. We opted not to take malaria meds as dive boats are relatively mosquito safe. If we had to spend a night in Wewak due to a trip change would we be ravaged by these malaria carrying beasts? Susie was starting to get a nervous twitch as that thought crept in. Our travel agent attempted valiantly to contact the boat, but the boat was out at sea and unable to receive the messages. We left for our trip not knowing if the trip was ending on the 28th or the 29th. Let’s go back to the Brisbane airport – remember Carol and Andrew? Well, we learned from our new found shipmates that the trip was indeed shortened and ending on the 28th.

Jumping back to Port Moresby and our pending flight to Manus…Carol and Andrew were also staying at the Airways, so we planned to shuttle to the airport together. Following the advice to confirm all Air Niugini flights we had the hotel front desk confirm our flight to Manus. Air Niugini said the flight was on time and to get there one hour prior for this domestic flight. Big mistake. We arrived about 1.20 early to a small domestic airport terminal overflowing with locals. Some appeared to be jostling to get into the very crowded resemblance of a line, while many others were standing and crowding around. We felt we really needed to be on guard and watch our stuff. It also seemed like we would never make it through the line in time to catch our flight. After a security guard helped move us ahead, we successfully made it through the ticket counter – we could finally breathe a sigh of relief. While waiting for our departure, we chatted with Carol and Andrew, while also keeping a close eye on the departure monitor. Six flights were leaving at about the same time and three of the other flights said “boarding.” We waited for ours to say “boarding” and it got to the point where it seemed like we better check with someone. Our feeling of relief was short lived. Let’s just say this part of the story ends with us sprinting across the tarmac to a plane about ready to depart.

We finally arrived in Manus with all our gear in tow! Paul Baker, the captain was at the airport to meet us and transport everyone to the boat. It was very nice to get on the boat and relaxation started to finally set in. We were very impressed with the Telita her captain/crew. We liked our room – there was a large attached bathroom and plenty of room for all my battery chargers. The gear area was very roomy and there was also a big table for cameras. Upstairs was a nice dining area with room for all the guests to eat together. The food was excellent throughout the trip – Connie and Leana really took care of keeping our stomachs happy. The basic routine was dive, eat, sleep. Here’s a typical day: at 6:15am a cold breakfast would be served, followed by a dive, then hot breakfast, followed by a dive, then lunch, dive, snack, dive, dinner, bed. The boat was down 2 crew members, but we didn’t notice any lacking in service as mates Gadi and Steven as well as captain Paul worked hard to pick up the extra slack. Shortly after getting on the boat we headed out for some diving and got in 2 dives that very first day. For the trip Rick did 38 dives and Susie did 36 dives as Rick did a couple of additional night dives while Susie relaxed. The pleasures of life at sea were all too easy to get use to, and both of us could have stayed on the boat for much longer.

We thoroughly enjoyed the diving and wanted more time in the warm 85 degree water. That being said, the general consensus on the boat was disappointment with the quality of the dive sites. Our trip was a somewhat exploratory trip into a remote area of PNG with most of the time spent at the Hermits and Ninigos. Some of the reefs were smothered with green algae that appeared to be suffocating the reef. You can see a hint of this in the turtle and cuttlefish pictures. Also, many of the sites were missing the big schools of fish and pelagics that you would expect to see, a sign of overfishing perhaps, throughout the trip. There were about 4 dives that were very nice – big schools of fish, great vis, healthy reef, etc., but those sites were unfortunately the exception and not the rule.

So, did it end up being an 11 or 12 night trip? The boat took care of us and we stayed on the Telita as the sole guests for the final 12th night. That morning while the other guests were disembarking we were shuttled over to the Golden Dawn, the Telita’s sistership and did 3 muck dives on the Nudi Maru. We loved this dive as it was home to many different nudibranchs and we discovered different ones on each dive. While on the Golden Dawn we met Captain Craig De Wit and Bob Halstead. Bob built the Telita and wrote many of the marine life books that we had been perusing from our boats library. Craig was warm and welcoming and it was a pleasure to dive with him.

We felt like we were almost home when we arrived back to Brisbane. This flight should be the easy one. After sitting on the Tarmac for 3 hours of delays we were finally airborne for the long flight home.

We really enjoyed shooting pictures and hope you enjoy them!

- Rick and Susie
Stopover in Brisbane on way to PNG
Stopover in Brisbane on way to PNG
Arrival in Manus, PNG, the start of our trip on the Telita
Arrival in Manus, PNG, the start of our trip on the Telita
Spacious gear area and camera table
Spacious gear area and camera table
Upstairs dining area
Upstairs dining area
Our room for 12 days
Our room for 12 days
Room for all my battery chargers!
Room for all my battery chargers!
our attached bathroom
our attached bathroom
Many dives done from the tender
Many dives done from the tender
 Heading out on the tender
Heading out on the tender
Tender pickup
Tender pickup
Clownfish and Mini Me
Clownfish and Mini Me
Pink Anemonefish with some green and purple
Pink Anemonefish with some green and purple
 Orange, White and Blue
Orange, White and Blue
Caress of the anemone
Caress of the anemone
Spinecheek Anemonefish
Spinecheek Anemonefish
Spinecheek Anemonefish
Spinecheek Anemonefish
Pink Anemonefish and home
Pink Anemonefish and home
Pink Anemonefish
Pink Anemonefish
Pink Anemonefish
Pink Anemonefish
Susie's closeup view
Susie's closeup view
Saddleback Anemonefish
Saddleback Anemonefish
Susie's Super Macro
Susie's Super Macro
Another Susie super macro
Another Susie super macro
Upsidedown Jelly
Upsidedown Jelly
Feather Duster
Feather Duster
 Whip Coral Goby
Whip Coral Goby
Hermit Crab with a colorful shell
Hermit Crab with a colorful shell
Posing in the coral
Posing in the coral
Emerging at Dusk
Emerging at Dusk
Filefish
Filefish
Blenny
Blenny
Ghostgoby
Ghostgoby
Ghostgoby head on
Ghostgoby head on
Delicate Blenny
Delicate Blenny
A common PNG polyp
A common PNG polyp
Blenny
Blenny
Loki Whip Goby
Loki Whip Goby
Delicate Blenny
Delicate Blenny
Peek a boo
Peek a boo
Blackspotted Puffer
Blackspotted Puffer
Crocodile Fish
Crocodile Fish
Crocodile Fish
Crocodile Fish
Crocodile Fish Eye
Crocodile Fish Eye
Reticulated dascyllus
Reticulated dascyllus
Reticulated dascylllus in the shallows
Reticulated dascylllus in the shallows
PNG Octopus
PNG Octopus
Pipefish
Pipefish
Unidentified Blenny, this one was big
Unidentified Blenny, this one was big
Axelrod's clown blenny
Axelrod's clown blenny
Susie
Susie
Star Puffer
Star Puffer
Star Puffer being cleaned
Star Puffer being cleaned
Flounder
Flounder
Amemone Mouth up close
Amemone Mouth up close
Susie
Susie
Clownfish
Clownfish
Triangular Butterflyfish
Triangular Butterflyfish
Emperor Shrimp
Emperor Shrimp
Emperor Shrimp
Emperor Shrimp
Cardinalfish
Cardinalfish
Susie
Susie
Bluefin Trevally
Bluefin Trevally
Barracuda School
Barracuda School
Barracuda
Barracuda
Sleeping Turtle with algae covering the reef
Sleeping Turtle with algae covering the reef
Cuttlefish
Cuttlefish
Cuttlefish
Cuttlefish
Algae that was consuming some of the reefs
Algae that was consuming some of the reefs
Giant Clam
Giant Clam
Susie Silhouette
Susie Silhouette
More Susie
More Susie
Nice wall
Nice wall
Trumpetfish, Crinoid, and Fan
Trumpetfish, Crinoid, and Fan
Crab from the wild wild west
Crab from the wild wild west
Scorpionfish
Scorpionfish
Another Scorpion
Another Scorpion
Soft Coral with Susie
Soft Coral with Susie
Soft Coral with sun glow
Soft Coral with sun glow
 Goldies schooling in the shallows
Goldies schooling in the shallows
Orange-Finned Anemonefish
Orange-Finned Anemonefish
Rick and Susie self portrait
Rick and Susie self portrait
Cleaner Shrimp
Cleaner Shrimp
Rick zeroing in for the shot
Rick zeroing in for the shot
Spinecheek Anemonefish
Spinecheek Anemonefish
Crinoid and Rick
Crinoid and Rick
Model Rick
Model Rick
Goldie's swarming the reef
Goldie's swarming the reef
Rick and Orange-Finned Anemonefish
Rick and Orange-Finned Anemonefish
Rick coming through
Rick coming through
Sun with yellow crinoid
Sun with yellow crinoid
Crinoids
Crinoids
Crown of Thorns
Crown of Thorns
Captain Paul rubbing the bottle for sharks
Captain Paul rubbing the bottle for sharks
Crinoid up close
Crinoid up close
Sleeping Parrotfish
Sleeping Parrotfish
Pixie Hawkfish
Pixie Hawkfish
Pixie Hawkfish
Pixie Hawkfish
and another Pixie Hawkfish
and another Pixie Hawkfish
Goby
Goby
Crab climbing the coral
Crab climbing the coral
Scorpionfish
Scorpionfish
Saddled Butterflyfish
Saddled Butterflyfish
Scorpionfish
Scorpionfish
Foursaddle Grouper
Foursaddle Grouper
Unidentified Butterflyfish
Unidentified Butterflyfish
Golden Trevally
Golden Trevally
Stingray
Stingray
Golden-Lined Snapper School
Golden-Lined Snapper School
All Schooled Up
All Schooled Up
A Fish Tail
A Fish Tail
Flatworm
Flatworm
Phyllidiella cooburrama
Phyllidiella cooburrama
Chromodoris Lochi Nudibranch
Chromodoris Lochi Nudibranch
Chelidonura electra
Chelidonura electra
Glossodoris atromarginata
Glossodoris atromarginata
Head on Glossodoris atromarginata
Head on Glossodoris atromarginata
Red Spot Chromodoros/Glossodoris cruenta
Red Spot Chromodoros/Glossodoris cruenta
Red Spot Chromodoros/Glossodoris cruenta
Red Spot Chromodoros/Glossodoris cruenta
Hypselodoris bullocki Nudibranch
Hypselodoris bullocki Nudibranch
Hypselodoris bullocki
Hypselodoris bullocki
Chromodoris Kunei Nudibranch
Chromodoris Kunei Nudibranch
Risbecia Tryoni in action
Risbecia Tryoni in action
Risbecia Tryoni another roll in the hay
Risbecia Tryoni another roll in the hay
Philinopsis pilsbryi
Philinopsis pilsbryi
Chromodoris geometrica
Chromodoris geometrica
Flatworm
Flatworm
Chromodoris annae
Chromodoris annae
Phidiana indica
Phidiana indica
lined Nudibranch
lined Nudibranch
Phyllidia ocellata
Phyllidia ocellata
Phyllidia ocellata
Phyllidia ocellata
Chromodoris reticulata
Chromodoris reticulata
Flabellina marcusorum
Flabellina marcusorum
Ceratosoma trilobatum
Ceratosoma trilobatum
Ceratosoma trilobatum
Ceratosoma trilobatum
Happy villagers coming to see us near Manus
Happy villagers coming to see us near Manus
They kept coming and coming...
They kept coming and coming...
Deserted Island
Deserted Island
Gadi on the bow
Gadi on the bow
Villager that  traded us lobster
Villager that traded us lobster
Native visitor
Native visitor
A village at Hermits
A village at Hermits
Gadi and arrival and the Hermit's
Gadi and arrival and the Hermit's
From left to right: Veronique, Stephane, Bernard, Robyne, Steve,  Alf, Carol, Andrew and Susie
From left to right: Veronique, Stephane, Bernard, Robyne, Steve, Alf, Carol, Andrew and Susie
Heading to a new destination
Heading to a new destination
Susie Relaxing
Susie Relaxing
Day winding down
Day winding down
Sunrise
Sunrise
Another Sunset
Another Sunset
And another
And another
Villager paddling by at sunset
Villager paddling by at sunset
Sistership, The Golden Dawn in Wewak
Sistership, The Golden Dawn in Wewak
Heading home from Wewak (Wewak - Port Moresby-Brisbane - Los Angeles)
Heading home from Wewak (Wewak - Port Moresby-Brisbane - Los Angeles)