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

Walindi Plantation Resort, Jul, 2009,

by Reuben Cahn, CA, USA ( 2 reports). Report 5023.

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
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
UW Photo 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
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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