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Dive Review of Walindi Plantation Resort in
Papua New Guinea/Kimbe Bay, New Britain

July, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Reuben Cahn, CA, USA (2 reports)
Report Number 5023
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Florida, Caymans, Belize,Hawaii, Fiji, PNG, Indo, Borneo, etc.
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny, windy, rainy  
Seas
calm, choppy, currents, no currents  
Water Temp
84   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
3
Water Visibility
20   to 75    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
none  
Liveaboard?
no 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
Lots 
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
None 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
> 2 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
2 stars  
Comments
Small camera room on dock.  No A/C, no fans, no compressed air.  Camera
rinse tank on dock.  No dedicated tank on boats. One small rinse bucket big
enough for PNS but not DSLR.  DSLRs rested on floor of boat cabin.  This
was sometimes nerve racking when seas were rough.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
2 stars
Food
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
N/A
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
N/A  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars    
Beginners
5 stars   
Advanced
5 stars    
Comments  
	Accomodations:  The bungalow was large with a separate bedroom with queen
sized bed and an outer room with two twin beds and a small dining table.  A
separate kitchen area had lots of counter space that I used for camera work
and shelves below the counters that held our bags.  The bathroom had a
small shower with hot water which never ran outthough we took relatively
brief showers.  The soap provided in the bathrooms looked like bits of bars
that had be all but used up on earlier occasions.  Bungalows are a bit
rundown.  Beds were average for a remote resort, not particularly
comfortable but no worse than others Ive slept on.  The bungalows have no
air conditioning.  There are overhead fans which, though noisy,  provided
enough air movement to get a good nights rest.  However, humidity is often
near 100%, and nothing ever dried completely.  The humidity alone caused
the leak sensor in my housing to begin flashing.  At the end of the week, I
was happy to get out to sea where humidity was much lower than on shore.  

	Food:  Toast, fruit, some cereals, pancakes or French toast and eggs were
available at breakfast.  Im not a breakfast eater, so ate only toast and a
bit of fruit.  My wife and son were less than happy with the eggs, French
toast and pancakes which were consistently undercooked.  Lunch was served
on the boat each day.  It was generally left overs from the previous
nights dinner with rice, bread, and cheese (occasionally moldy).  The food
was kept in a cooler on the boat, but there was no ice.  After one of these
lunches, my son and wife became ill, my son violently.  Only tepid water,
hot tea and coffee was available to drink.  Dinner was the best meal of the
day.  While the meats (chicken, lamb, pork) were poor, the steamed local
fish was excellent.  However, only one whole fish was available at each
dinner, so unless you rushed to the buffet as soon as the bell rang, you
were out of luck.  Several salads and vegetables were available at dinner,
and these were generally very good.  Deserts, always including locally
produced ice cream, were excellent.

	Dive Op:  The dive op is run by Dan and Kat, English expats.  They did not
come out diving with us but stayed on shore keeping the operation running
and repairing all the things that constantly break down in remote
locations.  Dan tells incredibly funny stories.  There is a dedicated
camera rinse tank and smallish camera room at the dock.  The room does not
have the compressed air or supply of clean towels necessary.  The boats are
aluminum.  Two are powered by twin outboards, one by a diesel inboard.  It
is the smallest and fastest.  The boats have limited shade and limited
seating, and could be crowded when filled to capacity.  However on all but
two days, we had 6 or fewer divers.  

	Travel time to many of the sites is an hour to an hour and a half. 
Boarding the boats at 8:00, we were generally not in the water until 9:30. 
Dive briefings were short but adequate.   Two dive guides were in the water
on all dives and were good at pointing things out. Lunch served at a calm
mooring after 2nd dive.

	Diving:  Diving varies from very good to excellent.  Fantastic hard
corals, large fans and sponges, and large fish including jacks, tuna and
sharks, were seen on nearly every dive.  Only rays were missing.  Fish life
is not quite as prolific as Komodo or northern PNG, but there are more big
fish than at either of those locations.  When we dove these same sites with
Star Dancer, hitting the water at 6:30 in the morning, there were even more
fish and more feeding action.  This is a great wide angle location.  There
are decent macro opportunities as well, but wide angle is the star here. 
If you really love macro, and dont like wide angle, I think you might be
disappointed by the diving.  Visibility was generally 40 to 60 feet with
lots of plankton in the water.   Also, the water is very warm.  My computer
generally read 86 degrees Fahrenheit.  I dove the entire time in
boardshorts and a hooded vest, and I am a true warm water weenie.

	Conclusion:  Despite everything I liked about Walindi, I wouldnt
recommend it for other than a short stay prior to boarding Star Dancer or
Febrina.  The reason is cost.  For our triple share bungalow, we paid $ 150
per person per night.  Diving was $ 150 per person for two tank dive days
and $ 190 for three tank dive days.  Transfers are extra.  These are
liveaboard prices without the number of dives or quality of accommodations
and service.  These prices are all the more grating in that Walindi charges
significantly lower rates to Australian and PNG residents than to others.
If Walindi wants to charge these prices, it needs to spruce up the
bungalows, improve the quality of food, and improve the comfort and
convenience of the boats.  Book and pay for dives through your travel agent
to avoid additional 10% PNG tax.
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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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