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Dive Review of TAWALI RESORT/SAME in
Papua New Guinea/MILNE BAY

TAWALI RESORT/SAME, May, 2008,

by Gregg Gaylord, WI, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 4089.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Solomon Islands, Thailand, Cocos, Truk, Caribbean, Lake Michigan, Bahamas, Florida, Indiana
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 80 to 88 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 10 to 50 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Dive as long as you want.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments
Tawali Resort is located on Milne Bay in PNG. It is literally carved out of the jungle and represents a minor miracle. The rooms are large, luxurious and the beds were two queen beds. No TV or phones in the room (thankfully). The single unit air conditioner was more than adequate to cool the room. There was a nice moderate sized balcony with table and chairs with a jungle view as well as an ocean view. The main lodge was spacious and the dining area very large and well laid out. Dining was buffet style and the food was excellent, varied and certainly in more than adequate quantities. There was a "board" where you hung your room number to indicate which dive boat and series of dives you were going to be diving the next day. Laundry was available at a modest charge ($20 US for 5 shirts and 2 pairs of shorts). The showers and bathrooms were excellent. Hot water, though limited, was ample and VERY hot. Small shampoos, towels and daily room cleanings were performed during our stay. The breakfast, lunch and dinner services were not perfunctory, but there was no significant delay. You had to pay for soda, beer, wine and spirits at the lodge (though soda was free on the boat during the dive day). There was an alarm clock in each room that appeared to work (we didn't use it though). All in all, the accommodations were excellent. The staff of native Papua New Guineans were friendly and always helpful. Included in the stay was a "dance" night. Very interesting native dancing.
We were supposed to have been on the live aboard but 3 months prior to arrival were told the boat was (for the third time) in dry dock. We were put up at the resort. We were told other guests would not be allowed at the resort, but this did not occur. No big deal though.

AIRLINES/TRAVEL: Air Niugini actually cancelled several flight from and to Port Moresby to Alotau. Passengers were stranded overnight though the airline paid for a "securely guarded" hotel. Security is a serious issue in the towns. Port M is a dangerous city. They did, however, hold the plane from Port M to Cains AU to allow our connection (we were late from Alotau) when we departed. I took 6 flight segments and an overnight in Cairns, AU to arrive. TOO MUCH TRAVEL I think. Plan for the extra time. My bags all arrived. 1 1/2 hours by bus from the airport via dirt roads and rickety bridges to a small jungle spot where a boat picked us up and took us to the resort (20 minute ride).

Diving: TONS OF UNIQUE CRITTERS. We dove 1 to 2 hour dives in shallow spots by the shore, and took a few "day trips" to some sea mounts for somewhat more lush/soft coral diving. The highlight were the Ornate Ghost pipefish as well as the innumerable anemone fish of all varieties. Pelagics were rare and not interesting. Muck diving was great. We all dove 32% Nitrox and had 11 full days of diving. The house reef featured coral heads with Mandarin Fish! Cuttlefish were often sighted. Unique innumerable colorful fish, crabs and shrimp as well as outstanding condition of the coral.

The bad: Liveaboard not ready but as it turned out, the destinations we WOULD have gone to were rain soaked. We had sunny, dry weather most of our stay at the resort. Luck. One of the two boats had a breakdown our second dive day. Internet service down for one week. Rare occurance apparantly. Multiple requests needed to fix something instead of "mentioning once" and done. I think this was more due to new management than neglect or not caring. If anything, the management was outstanding in their attention to our group.

Overall: Excellent diving. Excellent resort. LONG WAY TO TRAVEL with IFFY air service in Papua New Guinea. Resort needs to correct mechanical problems with the boats. Great management staff. Dive staff superb at finding critters. Major cudos to Sebastian.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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