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Dive Review of Loloata in
Papua New Guinea/Coral Sea / Port Moresby

Loloata, Aug, 2007,

by Gene Huff, CA, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 9 reports). Report 3536.

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 N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was the second week of a two week trip to PNG. The first week at Walindi is covered in a separate report. Loloata is about a 15 minute van ride and then a 15 minute boat ride away from Port Moresby, but it is in another world. The driver picked our group of four up at the airport and within minutes we were out of the city, as terrible as reported elsewhere, and driving through open country to a dock where a boat was waiting to take us to Loloata island. Loloata Island is tucked in Bootless Bay and protected by a peninsula from Port Moresby. Being close to Moresby, it is used by locals and ex-pats as a quick getaway from the stress of the city. Quite a few guests were there just for a night or two bewteen flights or to get a snorkel trip in to nearby Lion Island. The resort itself is a series of duplex rooms facing the bay and mainland. We stayed in air-conditioned rooms set about a 5 minute walk from the main grounds and slightly up on the hill running down the spine of the small island. The view was nice and these six rooms were far removed from any noise in the common area. The only bad part of the walk was going by the diesel generators. The resort is centered loosely behind a reception/dining area that faces the bay. Boats deliver people and goods to the end of a fairly long pier that leads to the grounds. The resort is the only thing on the island, but resort and dive staff have their own accomodations on the island and report to prefer that to living on the mainland. The grounds are fairly well maintained although showing signs of age and not exactly 5 star. Our room was fairly large with queen and twin beds, a desk and a large balcony. The balcony was used almost every night as a cool breeze brought us outside. Breakfast was made to order eggs, pancakes or cereals and fruit. Lunches and dinners were served banquet style and had a variety of beef, lamb, chicken and fish courses and vegetarian was always an option. All the meals were much better than expected and everyone in our group found something to rave about at almost every meal.

Diving consisted of two morning dives, a return to the island for lunch, and then an afternoon dive. The longest trip we made was about 45 minutes. First dives were to 75 to 100 feet for 50 to 75 minutes. One thing to point out is second tanks were aluminum 63s unless 80s were requested. A surface interval on the boat included cookies and fruit, water and fruit drinks, coffee, tea or soda. A short motor led to the second dive, usually a bit shallower although all the but the muck dives went to 65 feet or beyond. Afternoon dives were closer in and all but one day dictated by where we could get out of the afternoon wind and chop.

I found the diving to be outstanding, although those looking for 100 foot visibility and warm water will be very disappointed. Most of the dives found greenish water with 30-60 foot visibility on the outer bommies and reefs and less on the muck dives. The relatively cool water provides plenty of nutrients though and the fish life took advantage of it. Large schools of big sweetlips and snappers hung out at current edges. Butterflyfishes, some endemic, angelfish and anemonefish were thick. Gray and whitetip reef sharks were seen. Three wobbegongs, including one large male holed up and allowed for some good pictures. We saw a half dozen lacy scorpionfish including three on one dive, all different colors. Pygmy seahorses were seen numerous times including 4 one one fan. Other interesting finds included a pipehorse, several types of scorpionfish, mantis shrimp, several types of pipefish, striped garden eels, olive and several banded sea snakes, octopus, squid, and too many nudibranchs to count. The muck diving around Lion Island provided shrimps, crabs, nudibranchs, and other interesting sights at every turn. We dove several wrecks that were quite nice. One of my most enjoyable dives was a night dive off the end of the pier where I found squid, lionfish and an octopus that had found a hiding place by enclosing itself in an old coffee cup with a clam shell for a front door.

The crew, DMs Yoshi, Franco and Junior and hands Sebo and Richard were all very friendly and helpful. The dive shop is small and I would bring my own repair kit or backup equipment. Two boats handled up to 8 divers each fairly comfortably and the DMs led those who wanted to be led and let others go their own way. Set your gear up the first day and they take care of it the rest of the time.

Bugs were not a problem although I did get bit up on the stomach one night. We used DEET when going out for long and at dinner. Power is on 24 hours. Bring converters for electronics. There really is no bar and night life is conversation with other guests. Moresby is close by though and $15 gets you a ride to town and the driver stays with you. PNG Arts really is worth a visit. Don't plan to go out on your own.

Loloata is so close to the airport with such great diving I don't understand why it is not more well known. I would highly recommend it as a stop worth spending a few dive days at while traveling to other PNG destinations.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving [Unspecified]
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas choppy
Water Temp 77-80°F / 25-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 20-60 Ft/ 6-18 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No deco. Dive your own plan after DM saw your skill level.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments No camera rinse tanks on boat. Cameras stored in wheelhouse.
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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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