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<font color='#0000FF'>Oct 4th 3pm. Leave Tampa Florida - Dallas -LA- Auckland NZ- Brisbaine- Cairnes Oct 6th 5pm. As soon as we arrive at the hotel into the pool for a sunset dip Haaaaaa. Then I look up into the sky and there is a huge black bird and then another and another soon there are hundreds flying over the hotel. I later find out they are flying fox ( bats ).
The next three days are spent doing the usual tourist type stuff rain forest, roo's, koala bears etc.

Oct 10th 5am Cairns - Port Moresby PNG, delayed-delayed delayed after five hours we are of and the delay is no big thing we had a long lay over Port Moresby and can still make the conection.
Port Moresby - Hoskins on the Island of New Britain, delayed-delayed-delayed CANCELED as it is now dark and there are no landing lights at Hoskins %$#@&^%$.
We are told we are to be put up in a hotel for the night and a special flight put on at 4:30 am. The hotel (skyways) was out of this world perched on a hillside with a magnificent view overlooking the airport. All the wood in the rooms were mahogony and to get to the dinneing area you had to go up a rope bridge to the top of the hill where eating was outdoors around a swimming pool and the view even better.

Oct 11th 4:30am flight delayed-delayed-delayed, after what seemed like an eternity we were of arriving at Walindi plantation 20 hours late all I could think was I had lost a days diving, but whilest having a welcome drink at the main house Dale the dive supervisor asked us if we would like to dive that afternoon "YES". We were told our bags were at our rooms and to go and put our dive gear on the porch then come back to the maine house, this done we hand-not finshed our coke when Dale told us "your gear is on the boat go when ever your ready". Our first dive site (Susans ridge) was only a five min boat ride, giant stride of the back and YES YES YES I have died and gone  to heaven, it was like diving in a continuously changing kaleidoscope of colour and movement viz 100 + temp 87 I only wore speedos for my dives.
To be continued
David
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Walindi plantation consists of the main building built on a deck in a squared u shap with a swimming pool in the center and a bar at one end, all meals are served here and dinning is open air, roof and one wall. Accomodation is in bungelows going along the beach each side of the main building about 100ft apart and built out of local materials, palm roof and woven walls no glass in the windows just a screen. Each room has a hot water shower, fridge coffe maker and ceiling fan and is very plesent to sleep in with the sounds of the jungel to lull you to sleep at night. This is the south sea paradise that we read and dream about. The dive locker and boats are right next to the main building but once your gear is there all you have to do is turn up at the dive boat every day. To see more about the place and the diving check out www.walindi.com
The diving, we have dived most of the world and this is the best by far, you are given a hand drawn map of the bay with all the sites on ( the names will tell you a lot about them ) there are 38 sites the most distant about a hours boat ride.
The dive staff like the staff at the resort exceptional, we never dived with more than six divers to a boat and two divemasters, one Capt. Not the typical follow the DM type of diving rather they dived with you and showed us stuff we would have swam by,ie Pygmy sea horse, Madarin fish and a blue ringed ray that was burried in the sand and we could not see untill the DM moved him. On another dive he invited  us to put our hands into a small hole in the coral and a hord of small cleaner shrimp descended on to your hand and started niping and pulling,. The DMs know the reefs and life on it so well they could pass as marine biologists. Three dives a day two in the am then lunch on a island one dive in the afternoon, night dives by request, my wife dived a couple of time with just her and the DM as her buddy.
All dives we lost with the flights were made up with night dives at no extra cost, other things to do, we visited and swam in a hot 100f volcanic river in the jungle and visited a tribal sing sing. We were sorry to leav this place.
Oct 16th 11am Hoskins - Port Morsbey - Cairns, Osprey reef in the coral sea on a live aboard tommorow.
to be continued
 

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Wow, David! Walindi and a Coral Sea liveaboard on the same trip!! I look forward to reading the next exciting instalment.
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Malcolm, speedos DIR.  yes there black but there is some concern about the extra hose ?
John, considering the distance and cost to get to that part of the world we decided to do the two as it would be cheaper in the long run.

Oct 17th 2pm The bus picks us up at the hotel for a one hour trip north along the coast to Port Douglas, the ride up was very pleasant rain forest covered mountains on one side and the ocean on the other. Once there we check in at the Quicksilver office and told it would be about 45 minutes before we can board, no problem there are lots of shops, restaurants.
We board about 45 minutes later to a snack and welcome. We are told the sea is a little lumpy on the way out to Osprey reef at the moment so we are going out to do a couple of dives on the GBR first.
The BOAT DIVERSETY. A 70ft cat launched Jan 2002 and cruise's at 18 knots, six double/twin cabins takeing twelve divers and five crew.
We sailed to the GBR and anchored there for the night. The next day 6am up for coffee then dive on point 4 Agincourt reef.
After PNG, disapointment. Viz stillabout 100 temp 80 depth 60ft. I wore a one piece 3mil and that was ok. The coral not as big or colourful and a lot of it dead, the diving is follow the DM type and this was not for me.
Next dive on steve's Bohme 70ft more fish life on this but the same type of dive no time for photos and as luck would have it our dive station on the boat put us last in the water every time then it was tag along at the back. We had a little Japanese girl in the group that had a thing for sharks, every time we saw one she would put her little digital camera out at arms length and dive at them result sharks takeing of in all directions, one that I had been slowly moveing up to for a photograph took of and nearly ran into me. This was the norm for the rest of the trip whenever we saw sharks.
Next dive Cod hole, another disapointment we all formed a circle on the sandy botttom and the DM feed a four foot Cod and led him around the group, there was one other cod about two foot but the bigger one chased him of every time he got near the group.
After this we sailed overnight to Osprey reef, after showing a intrest in the working of the boat the capt let me take her for a hour and a halfe while he went to eat, quiet simple realy she was on auto pilot and all I had to do was hit a button every time we hit a way point. The ride out was still lumpy at times I awoke to find myself in mid air and comeing down with a crash.
Oct 18th 6am Osprey reef the diving is a lot better than the GBR but still not as good as Walindi. Lots of coral, sharks everywhere, lots of wall diving and canyons, this site "The entrance" was our deepest 110ft, viz 100, temp for all the dives ranged from 80-84f , still playing follow the DM and at a fast pace. At one point we were at the top of the wall and to our right we saw two big Manta rays side by side doing loops the group stoped to watch for a short time.
I again wanted to move closer to get a photo but the DM and group started to move along the wall in the oposit direction.
There was a shark feed on the trip but my wife and I declined on the grounds that it alters the natural behaviour. However I did watch from the stern of the boat. the way they did it was to put down a surface marker on a chain then put the divers in the water to one side of the marker, then a crew member in a rib went to the marker right away there was sharks all around the rib, he then poured a bucket of fish parts into the water. The divers told me later that there were about 30 sharks in the water and one of the sharks had got the marker chain stuck in its mouth when he took a bite at a lump of fish and at one point they thought the other sharks were going to attack it, most of the divers said they would never do a feed again.
On one dive the DM let my wife and I dive alone separate from the group I think this had to be the best dive of them all
We had two more dives on the GBR on the way back, total 17th-21st 12 dives.
Would I do it again, no. Would I recommend it, only to inexperienced divers.
Oct 21st-26th spent doing day trips from Cairns white water rafting etc.
any questions and you can contact me at [email protected]
I can say things in private that I would not say on the board.



Would I do it again no, would I recomend it, only to inexperienced divers.
 

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Hi David, re the follow the dive master, my wife and I did a similar GBR/Coral Sea trip with Spirit of Freedom boat of Tusa Divers Cairns this April and there was no follow my leader.
They checked out dive Quals carefully, buddied people up, and we went diving independently.
If you wanted a guide, they would provide one at extra cost, but most of us, except the Japanese who liked to be guided, did our own thing.
I liked Coral Sea best, also suffered lumpy seas, force 7/8 at times.
I don't have a lot of clear water experience----Bahamas, Mediteranean, Red Sea, St Kilda way west of Scotland----most of mine is in typical UK type vis. We loved the whole Aus experience, enjoyed the diving, and equally important to us, loved the land based side of our trip, which I can't say for our Egyptian trips.
Don't be shy at sharing info on here, it's a forum after all


Go on, tell it like it is

One of the girls on our trip had done a trip on Diversity as well and had enjoyed it.
I hope you took a cuddly koala home


Cheers, Malcolm.
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Hi Malcolm we keept geting promised we could dive by ourself's but as stated it only happend once. I have been diving for 30yrs from nill viz - 100+ 4c -89f the only part of the world left for me to do is the Red sea and Indian ocean.
I think one of the things that really got up my nose was the preference given to the Japanese land or diving.
The white water rafting had a videographer filming it, there were about 10 rafts in all. On viewing the video at the end most of it concetrated on the rafts with the Japanese in it with just a glimpse of our raft and that concetrated on the two japanese in the front ( that by the way could not paddle worth a s**t always out of time with every one and just tickled the water  )  

When I asked a local about this he told me most of OZ trade and tourist is Japanese so they do get pref treatment.
Maybe its just me but I dont like playing follow the DM and beeing sourounded by novice divers when I payed the kind of money that this cost.
Im happy that yours worked out better if I do it again I will look for another boat but I think the next time we will spend longer in PNG and just do shore based stuff in OZ.
Roger on the Koala Mrs got one, I think I have been replaced.
David
 

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David, I did a Coral Sea trip on the Undersea Explorer a few years ago. As I've said before on this forum, I was disapointed with the diving (I'd fallen for the hype on the Coral Sea in the dive mags and liveaboard ads) but the boat was very good – not luxurious but very functional and an excellent skipper – and we were allowed to do our own thing in the water. I wouldn't go back to Oz just to dive but "Bob from Brisbane" has got me thinking seriously about a trip to the Solomon Islands (see his posts on the Introductions board). The lodge sounds nice, the diving is obviously superb and the cost is very reasonable. Worth considering?
 

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David,

Thanks for sharing that with us.  I now know another operator to avoid.  Good on you for sitting out the shark dive.  it is good to hear that some of the other divers on the boat would never do one again.  I am concerned about the cod feeding though.  I would have had something to say about that myself.  

PNG sounds fan-bloody-tastic though.  I do wish people would stop making me add places to my "must visit" list!!


Cheers

Lou
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Lou @ Nov. 06 2003,13:21)]I am concerned about the cod feeding though.  I would have had something to say about that myself.  
Cheers

Lou
Me too! They have been feeding the potato cod at Cod Hole for decades and I read somewhere that the numbers have declined markedly in the last few years and the fish are clearly not in prime condition.
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] ]everyone holding on to it and it huging it ( the cod )
You are joking?  That is disgraceful!

I feel another stroppy e-mail coming on........

I despair sometimes.

Lou
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Sorry but true it was sad and pathetic. I was the last diver in the water about 15ft under the boat watching evryone get out and a waiting my turn when I felt a lite bump on my left side it was the cod, he continued to nudge me untill I got to the ladder that was a hard dive. We seemed to have landed with a boat full of newbi divers If I had the money I would get my own boat so that I dont have to see this again. Worst offender again the Japanese girl.
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Lou @ Nov. 06 2003,16:02)]
[b said:
Quote[/b] ]everyone holding on to it and it huging it ( the cod )
You are joking?  That is disgraceful!

I feel another stroppy e-mail coming on........

I despair sometimes.

Lou
That reminds of me of the baby (2m) whaleshark we dived with at Richelieu Rock, north of the Similans in Thailand. We did two dives with it and during our surface interval a boatload of Japanese and Thai divers arrived and proceeded to hang round its neck in bunches of 3 or 4 and photograph each other. I've heard that you rarely see whalesharks at Richelieu Rock these days. I wonder why?
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (John Gulliver @ Nov. 06 2003,16:38)]
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Lou @ Nov. 06 2003,16:02)]
[b said:
Quote[/b] ]everyone holding on to it and it huging it ( the cod )
You are joking?  That is disgraceful!

I feel another stroppy e-mail coming on........

I despair sometimes.

Lou
That reminds of me of the baby (2m) whaleshark we dived with at Richelieu Rock, north of the Similans in Thailand. We did two dives with it and during our surface interval a boatload of Japanese and Thai divers arrived and proceeded to hang round its neck in bunches of 3 or 4 and photograph each other. I've heard that you rarely see whalesharks at Richelieu Rock these days. I wonder why?
Apparently they used to be seen 8 out of every 10 trips (A trip being on average 2 days) five years ago.  

When I was there a couple of years ago it was estimated that it was down to sightings averaging 2 out of every 10 trips.

Sad,

Daz
 
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