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Dive Review of Febrina in
Papua New Guinea

Febrina: "Great revisit to Febrina Live-aboard and Walindi Plantation", May, 2015,

by gloria freund, VA, US ( 2 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 8207 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was a second visit to Walindi and its partnered Febrina liveaboard. Arrived a couple days early to make sure of getting self and all bags there ahead of Febrina's departure, and getting into the time zone. Also enjoyed a few dives out of Walindi's well-managed day boat operation. At Walindi, the firefly-rain tree experience is not to be missed.

Arriving early ended up being a wise move; other Febrina guests meaning to arrive the day of the boat's departure couldn't land due to weather. Febrina accommodated by tarrying nearby for the rest of the guests to catch up the next day.

In the nutshell, these reefs and the sole dive boat that troubles to ply them were as good as ever, and remain among the best of several live-aboards and diving hot spots that I've experienced. Febrina's five dive/day schedule has you in the water at optimal times for light and reef activity. We enjoyed daily the visual poetry of god's rays dancing across large shoals of barracuda and snappers above huge sea fans, thick stands of red whip corals, gargantuan barrel and elephant ear sponges and hard coral gardens. Shark attractant provided plenty of chances for close encounters. Bumpheads, tuna, and plenty of spotted sweetlips cruising around. Digger was a terrific help and coach for photogs, and both he and Josie never ceased to amaze with their constant finds of the reef's stores of hidden and odd macro denizens.

Febrina is neither the largest nor frankly the most luxurious liveaboard out there - especially not by the standards of the scores of high end boats now working locations like Raja Ampat.

Even so, here's why, in addition to the stellar diving, it merits a high rank on your short list.

First, the basics: the boat seems to remain in excellent repair and it lacked for nothing. Rooms though small provided for comfortable sleep; food was tasty and plentiful, dinner wine pours generous; diving off the main boat was very manageable without having to deal with panga transfers.

Longtime Febrina CAPT Alan Raabe pioneered diving in this area decades ago. An entertaining albeit sometimes salty raconteur, Alan established the system of moorings and knows these reefs like his own back yard. So we were able to enjoy great diving in more sheltered areas even as nearby cyclones caused conditions to deteriorate. Also worth to note - the superb diving here belies the monumental challenges and negotiations involved in sustaining a PNG operation. Judging by the abject dearth of other PNG live-aboards - few possess Alan's patience, persistence, and dedication to making it work. If you want to see the pristine richness of this place, this is your option!

A few other attributes of this operation:

-Most live-aboards assume guests are highly experienced and can be their own critter spotters. Josie and Digger - two PNG'ers who have sailed with this boat for a long time - made no such assumption. For anyone interested, they were master treasure-finders on every dive we did. I am moderately experienced at circa 800 dives and I would have missed 90% of what they revealed.
- Crew went to great lengths to please photogs particularly and it was evident to me they have served some very demanding customers. At times despite not quite 'getting the shot' I asked to let displayed critters return to their hidey holes.
- Josie in particular kept an eagle eye out for her divers and seemed to appear like magic for any divers benefiting a helping hand.
- This boat, unlike most others, also offers daily laundry service - a handy perk for managing baggage weight.
- Last but not least, Josie truly sets the gold standard in her role as 'cruise director.' She simply never stopped working while remaining unfailingly personable, gracious, perceptive, and keen to what guests needed or might like. Once you experience her style nothing else will quite measure up.

To sum it up PNG is a long haul from the US east coast. I swore when making plans for this revisit that two times dealing with all that would be enough. Yet weather kept us from some of the outer reef dive experiences I was hoping to take in. That and the uber personal/personable service this boat offers -- I may yet have to 'revisit' that decision and at some point, and give it yet another go.

Websites Febrina   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Solomon's, Fiji, Raja Ampat, Lembeh, Ambon/Banda, Carribbean (several), Southern Australia, Palau, Yap, Alaska, British Columbia, etc
Closest Airport Hoskins Getting There From US east coast, multi-leg journey via Australia. Leave plenty of time for connections

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas calm, choppy, surge
Water Temp 85-86°F / 29-30°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40-100 Ft/ 12-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions decompression diving, dives limited to 60 min at those times the boat needed to move, o/w not strictly enforced
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 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 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments Two large rinse tanks. Only two on this trip with large rigs so plenty of room...a dedicated photog trip with more large rigs could get a bit cramped at tables and charging station. Camera tables/working areas were sheltered but had potential to get a bit wet from nearby shower and/or a driving rain; at those times, need to be mindful of open housings/exposed electronics.
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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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