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Dive Review of Lissenung in
Papua New Guinea/Kavieng, New Ireland Province

Lissenung: "Lissenung PNG the greatest little island resort", Jan, 2016,

by hunter smith, Victoria, AU (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 9256 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Lissenung Diving Resort
Dive Log small resort of the year for the past three years as voted by divers.
Text and photography by Hunter Smith

Lissenung is a classic small island resort you can walk around in 20 minutes. It is a 20 to 30 minute boat ride from Kavieng in northern PNG. There are 7 huts spread around the island for privacy to accommodate 14 people. Typically being so close to the equator the air and water temperature only varied between 27 and 30 degrees Celsius. Lissenung could be described as a minimum eco impact yet comfortable resort. No noisy air conditioners, no hot water however the water isn’t exactly cold. The resort felt homely and inviting to a diver.
Having been lucky enough to be there thanks to winning a Sportsdiving Magazine competition I travelled with good friend Stuart Ireland a professional underwater videographer and owner of Calypso Productions based in Cairns. Stuart was there to update the resort’s video for the web site and other promotions.
A rare opportunity occurred on the second day, True North, the super luxury boat, was on site as Dietmar the resort owner helps them with airport pickups, food supplies and the customers enjoy a half day snorkelling the Lissenung house reef. True North has a Euro helicopter on deck and after several years finally Dietmar had the opportunity with Stuart and myself to take aerial promotional video and photos of his resort. I was excited and energised by this opportunity and a 15 minute flight was arranged. It was great fun banking around the island and coming in really low to the water, but a challenge to get the shots and footage. Stuart is a very experienced and world renowned and this made sure our collaborative efforts worked out just fine.

So onto the reason why the diving is so good at Lissenung. The main dive boat is a stable half cabin with full sun protection and a ladder. There is also a fast skiff dive boat. The staff are very supportive and used to all manner of camera and video systems. l felt confident with the transfers in and out of the water. If you are a bit lazy, or just getting on a bit in age like myself, you are absolutely supported in taking off your gear (that’s the dive gear not all your gear) in the water at the end of the dive to make climbing the ladder super easy. One important aspect is there is freedom to dive to the dive depths and time dependant on your experience. Hurrah for Lissenung to understand that one rule does not fit all.
The usual dive day starts after breakfast around 8am for a 2 tank dive trip then back for lunch. If you are suitably experienced it may also possible to arrange a pre breakfast shore dive. Most days a night dives by boat or house reef can be arranged. Lissenung is a real divers resort.

Albatross Passage is a signature dive about 20 minutes boat trip from the resort, a wall from 6 to 40 metres deep across a passage. It is best on an incoming tide when the water is coming towards the wall. Visibility is better and so is the action. Sharks, a huge school of bat fish, small schools of barracuda, schooling fish, big tuna, it is a feast for the eyes. The wall itself is simply covered in all manner of corals and an amazing variety of beautiful fish – far too many to list. Honestly I couldn’t identify all of them is all part of the world renown coral triangle, it is definitely, an opportunity to learn more about the amazing underwater world in PNG.

This photo of the young boy was taken in between dives. We came across three boys spearfishing, the boy in the photo is Gabriel. He is so at home in the water, he has a fish in his mouth while reloading his spear gun. His mask is actually a bit small for him and you can see his nose pressing against the glass. The reflection of the reef in his mask was a matter of getting the camera angle just right. After Gabriel finished fishing he was sitting on the rocks singing a song in pigeon English. The Lissenung dive guide told us the song was about missing his woman from an island far far away. Just fabulous and funny from such a young boy, and yes he really does sing angelically. They photo has been published in the Australian ‘The Age’ newspaper and the ‘Photographers Forum Best of 2014’ competition coffee book.

The next photo was also taken between dives in the mangroves. Being very careful not to disturb the silt, with the camera pointing directly to the sky and my face down flat into the silt I very slowly pressed the shutter. The circle that allows seeing the sky is an optical effect known a ‘Snells Window’.

Helmets (below) is a great dive site with super healthy soft and hard corals and all manner of animal life. The denise pygmy seahorse can be found at Kavin II, and Matrix.

So what about the House Reef. Many an hour was spent within 75 metres of the beach in front of the dive shop. I just didn’t get any further due to stopping to take photos. There is a resident school of jacks, several types of anemones, clown fish, soft and hard corals, schools of yellow snapper, and the list goes on and on. The corals are in excellent condition, even just a few metres from the main beach this is a healthy reef. Next trip I will dive and snorkel more than 10% of the house reef.

Nozaki is a dive guide that is super at finding little things (like pygmy pipefish on the house reef) and assisting in taking photos. She is a keen and experienced dive photographer herself and just senses what you want in terms of assistance without using lots of hand signals or using a slate.

The group of photos that follow were all taken from the house reef in just a few metres of water. Yes really, how amazing is that! This would be about 10% of the reef surrounding the small island. Next time the mission is to investigate the whole Islands reef. Plus the several wrecks within striking distance of Lissenung.

One thing I would love to mention is how warm, friendly, smiling and willing to help with anything all the staff are. The staff really set the scene for a great dive holiday and place to relax. The island is sand, grass and jungle areas. No shoes required. Shoes when you get there and then just put them away until you leave.
Lissenung staff also rescue turtle eggs from nests on nearby islands. They are relocated to Lissenung with a very high hatching success rate. Just ask and you can go on a short trip to help collect the eggs and bury them on Lissenung. If you are lucky and patient there is a chance to see the darling baby turtles hatching out on the sand.

One trip to Lissenung is simply not enough with so much more to see. No wonder there are so many repeat visitors, it was Stuart’s 5th!
Check it out at [ link]
Lissenung was also voted by The Dive Log Magazine, Divers online survey, as the best resort in Asia Pacific 2012 and 2013.

Editors Note
Hunter has been diving and taking underwater photos for 26 years. With several underwater photo competition wins in hand he is now focusing on dive travel articles. Hunter can be contacted via
Websites Lissenung   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Fiji, Vanuatu, Borneo, Africa, Canary Island, Bahamas, PNG and The great Barrier Reef Australia
Closest Airport Kavieng Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather dry Seas calm
Water Temp 26-30°C / 79-86°F Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 10-30 M / 33-98 Ft

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Depending on experience
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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