PAPUA NEW GUINEA TRIP REPORT


MADANG TO WEWAK
SEPTEMBER 14 TO OCTOBER 4, 2005

Hi folks!
I was recently on the Golden Dawn, a live-aboard dive boat in Papua New Guinea. This was my fourth trip to PNG, and by far the least productive, photographically. We were plagued by bad weather, and the boat’s owner/captain had opted to go to a big diving trade show in the states (which he informed us about at the last minute), leaving his brother in charge. Suffice it to say his brother wasn’t all that well informed about the areas we were diving. It was particularly disappointing, given the remoteness of the location. Madang (where we got on the boat) is on the northeast coast of PNG, and Wewak (where we exited) is even further to the north. It took four days and four plane flights to get there, and three days and five plane flights to get back home. Disproportionate time/expense for the results. So it goes…..






Spinner Dolphins

We had a school of spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris) riding our boat’s bow wake, on one of the few sunny days we encountered. This was early in the trip. Little did we know it would be our best photo opportunity.



Hawksbill
Turtle

We saw a lot of turtles, most of which took off immediately because they were not used to seeing people. This hawksbill turtle Eretmochelys imbricata) was the exception–it hung around for quite a while, allowing several of us to photograph it.


Anemone fish

PNG is a haven for odd critters and macro photography, but we weren’t provided "critter spotters" from the boat’s crew on most of our dives. Even when someone did accompany us to point out stuff, our captain persisted in having all ten divers dumped on the same spot at the same time, so anything that was pointed out was soon surrounded by a cluster of fins and kicked-up sand. Since I’m a lousy critter finder, I found myself taking photos of anemonefish (here Amphiprion ocellaris) which are at least easy to spot–not exactly the kind of exotic subject matter one comes to PNG for.



Sea Fan

When we did have some decent ambient light, we saw a lot of nice sea fans. This shot was taken in the Hermit Islands. That’s Rich Lang in the background, who with his wife Judy was kind enough to put this trip together for us.





Sea Fans

More sea fan stuff, this time in the Ninigo Island group. That’s a barracuda school in the background of the photo on the right.



Trevally Jacks


Barracuda

On the left is a group of blue trevally jacks (Carangoides ferdau) swimming by to check me out. On the right is a school of barracuda, either pickhandle (Sphyraena jello) or blackfin (Sphyraena genie). Both shots were also taken in the Ninigo Island group.


Spadefish

 Some of our best dives were made on the wreck of the India Maru, a Japanese cargo vessel sunk by allied aircraft during WWII. This was off the Kairiru Islands (near Wewak) towards the end of our trip. This is a longfin spadefish (Platax teira) being cleaned by wrasses.




Trumpetfish Lionfish

These two shots were also taken on the wreck of the India Maru. The slender fish is a trumpetfish (Aulostomus chinensis). The bow of this boat had eight (or more) lionfish (Pterois volitans) hanging out together, but I was only able to get a few of them in the same shot.

Well that’s it folks! My friend Stuart Westmorland has gone to a lot of time and trouble to help me make my jpgs better, so I’d appreciate hearing whether or not you saw any noticeable differences in the quality of these images, vs. those in my earlier blog postings.

 Thanks in advance for the feedback.

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