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Dive Review of Walindi Plantation Resort in
Papua New Guinea/Walindi

June, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by David Dornbusch, CA, US
Sr. Reviewer   (10 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 6135
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Palau, Yap, Belize, Roatan, Fiji, Indonesia, Sipidan, Hawaii, Red Sea,
Cozumel, Great Barrier Reef, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Galapagos, Tonga
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy, dry  
Seas
calm, choppy, currents, no currents  
Water Temp
83   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
60 minute dives - more than adequate  
Liveaboard?
no 
Nitrox Available?
yes 
What I saw
Sharks
Lots 
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
> 2 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 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  
Comments
[None]
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
4 stars
Food
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
N/A  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
Beginners
4 stars   
Advanced
5 stars    
Comments  
Getting there:  From San Francisco took 2 days, with an overnight in
Brisbane, then connected through Port Moresby to Hoskins, then by resort
van to Walindi.

Lodging:  Our separate bungalow was large, relatively new, very clean, with
a deck, comfortable queen-sized bed, a separate single bed, plenty of
storage space, a small refrigerator, and facilities to make coffee/tea. 
The bathroom had a small shower with plenty of hot water.  Soap, shampoo,
and conditioner were provided.  Fresh towels whenever you want.  No air
conditioning, but a very quiet ceiling fan was all we needed.  Some
mosquitoes, but not terrible.

Meals:  The criticisms of the food in previous reviews are no longer valid.
 The meals were good to excellent and plentiful. Breakfast included fruit,
cereals, tea, coffee, toast and pancakes, French toast, and eggs to order 
all at no additional charge.  An adequate lunch was either served on the
boat, at a calm mooring or island between the 2nd and 3rd dives, or back at
the resort, if only 2 dives.  Coffee and tea were always available.  Both
my wife and I thought dinners were superb, with terrific soups, choices of
meats (chicken, lamb, & pork), wonderful and well-prepared fish, a
number of salads and local greens, which were unfamiliar but delicious, and
fresh fruits.  The sauces for the fish and meats were both interesting and
tasty.  Also, rice, fresh homemade bread, cheese, and locally made ice
cream accompanying some kind of cake, flan, or other desert, were always
excellent.  The beef could be a little tough, but it was tasty and lean. 
Chicken and fish were excellent.  Lamb OK.  In general, the food was much
better than at any of the many other dive resorts weve visited.

Diving:  The diving is run by Dan and Cat, both very charming,
conscientious, and eager to make sure you enjoy the best dives, checking
with you every evening, and dealing with any equipment issues.  The boats
and diving are handled by very capable, personable, and well-trained crews.
 The boats have a dedicated camera rinse tank and camera room at the dock. 
Nitrox is available.  Our dive boat was a fast aluminum hull with twin
outboards.  On the day the live-aboard guests assembled, we had 9 divers. 
But on all other days, we were never more than 6, usually 3 or 4, and twice
it was just me and my wife.  Time to the reefs was between 30  60 minutes,
the outer reefs bringing in the pelagics and huge schools, but big stuff
also came to the inner reefs. 

Diving varied from very good to among the best-in-the-world excellent. 
Although we did see some bleached coral, some dives were on a par with our
experience in Palau, Fiji, Indonesia and Sipidan.  Magnificent and
plentiful hard and soft corals, huge schools and varieties of large and
small reef fish, turtles, beautiful nudibranchs and flat worms galore,
barracuda schools, crocodile fish, cuttlefish, scorpion fish, pigmy sea
horses, mantis shrimp, free swimming morays, puffers, lionfish, very large
seafans and sponges (some up to 6 feet), anemone and anemone fish.  The
dive guides love to show you the smallest critters, like 1/8 inch crabs in
feather stars with matching coloring.  We were the only divers and dive
boat in sight on every dive.  Air temp. was 82-87 degrees F, water temp.
83-86 F.  I wore only a skin on every dive.  My wife added a 3 mm. top to
her skin, but shes always cold.  Gloves would be a good idea when holding
on to the outer reefs in currents.

Flight Connections: After 8 days at Walindi, we flew through Port Moresby
to Tufi, but avoided staying in Port Moresby by staying overnight instead
at Loloata, which is only a 20 minute drive (by resort van) and 10 minute
boat ride from the airport.

Airlines in PNG can be very unreliable.  All our PNG flights were at least
an hour late.  We noticed that a number of flights were canceled, though
ours were not.  So, we were very glad we took an Undercurrent reviewers
recommendation and booked through Bettina Schmidberger, Diversion Dive
Travel [bettina@diversiondivetravel.com.au].  

Bettina recommended allowing scheduling cushions that were always adequate.
 The two days she suggested in Brisbane after leaving PNG and before
connecting home might have been very important, since we left PNG from
Tufi. The Tufi airport runway is dirt and closes during, and for some time
after, heavy rains when it turns to mud.  In fact, it did close for a day
shortly before we left.

Bettina also got us the divers extra baggage allowance of an additional
10 kg. on Airlines PNG, and an extra 15 kg. on Air Niugini.  The allowance
was very important, since we carry all our own gear, the normal weight
allowance is 20 kg., and overweight luggage charges are VERY high.  We
never had to pay extra.

It's possible for individuals to get the "diver's extra baggage
allowance" themselves, but I think trying that without professional
help might be problematic.  When checking in on Airlines PNG to Tufi, I had
to produce a computer printout that confirmed our extra baggage allowance
and referenced the relevant provision in the airline's manual.  Until I
produced that printout, the counter attendant, who was unfamiliar with the
extra diver weight allowance, was adamant about charging me extra, and I
had to find a supervisor to confirm the allowance. 

The local airlines can also be sticky about the weight of carry-ons.  They
never weighed my backpack, which held my BC and reg. and weighed over 13
lbs.  But, they sometimes weighed my wifes carry-on suitcase, which
weighed only about 10 lbs.  When they did weigh it, she had to take out 3
lbs. to meet the 7 lb. limit.  She did that by boarding the plane wearing
her BC like a vest and putting some other items into her "purse."
 She simply put her BC into the overhead compartment then back into the
carry-on bag on arrival.
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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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