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

Walindi Plantation Resort: "For The Price It's Not Good Value Unfortunately", Mar, 2018,

by Charles McLean, CA, US ( 1 report with 3 Helpful votes). Report 10472 has 3 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 1 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We arrived at Walindi, at Kimbe Bay, PNG after an approximate one hour drive from the airport during the early evening. The roads in this area from the airport are in great disrepair, and there are a lot of potholes. We dodged most of them and our ride made it alright. However, this is indicative of an incompetent government. We were told this was due to rampant corruption in the government (the leaders are spending the money on their wives we were told, but we have no personal knowledge about that. During daylight hours I saw locals using machetes to cut back the tall grass from the road as the government does not even do that.
We checked in at Walindi efficiently and our bags were brought to the room for us. After we unpacked we went to the dinner area. It is a community dinner and the staff and kids also ate at the same time. The meal was hearty buffet style. Fish, beef and pork dishes were the choices. Beef was chow Mein style. Fish was fillet. Pork was mixed with veggies. Spinach steamed (over done and flavorless) and salad (later found to be a bad idea to eat it). Ice cream for dessert, but other desserts were custard and fruit salad. It was filling. Over the week, the dinner food was bland, tasteless and repetitively unimaginative.
During our dinner we briefed with the chief divemaster regarding our credentials, and the diving, including the schedule and dive sites. We were excited to begin what was expected to be a spectacular dive trip. Since we had travelled all day we were tired and in bed by 9 pm. It was quiet except for the frogs. That was cool.
The next day we awakened and had a great breakfast, with many choices cooked to order. I had fried eggs with bacon and toast, we hydrated well with tea and water, and it was great.
After breakfast we checked into the boat and got ready for the dive day. This was well organized. We had three dives with lunch on the boat. One hour surface intervals were mandatory. The boat was well equipped for safety. We left at 8am and returned at 3:15 pm. This became our schedule for diving for six days. Our boat had four divers with two guides and our captain. They were all very good and quite knowledgeable about the undersea life, which was very helpful.
Shower, shave and cocktails before dinner. No rain during the dive day, but by 5 pm it started coming down. Walindi provides umbrellas in the rooms, so no big deal. I sat out on the veranda with my wine and enjoyed listening to the rain overlooking the ocean. This was jungle beauty at its best Papuan way. Really cool. No wonder itís always green.
My Dive buddy and I got very sick with diarrhea on Tuesday and it continued throughout our stay. We both used our entire supply of Imodium during the remainder of the trip with little improvement. On Saturday, Jane, the reservations manager and primary social director of Walindi kindly replenished us with sufficient medication to get back to Australia, and she was great to us the entire week facilitating everything for us. She is a delightful and energetic person, and Iím glad to have met her.
The diarrhea was due to drinking their water without boiling it as well as eating their raw veggies such as salad which was washed with the water.
The staff told us on our arrival that the water was safe to drink, but if we did not trust it to boil it. Well, if it was safe then why would we not trust it. After we became sick I was told it was uncommon, but some people had a problem with the water. After missing a day of diving and drinking only boiled water we recovered enough to continue diving. However as we had not connected that the raw veggies were also unsafe, we relapsed.
The breakfast food was cooked to order, and I preferred the bacon (like thick Canadian bacon) and fried eggs. But other breakfast foods were available and good. I ended up eating only dry toast for breakfast for most of the remainder of the week with hot tea due to my illness. Lunch was provided on the boat with a three Dive day as we were doing. This consisted of left overs mostly from the previous dinner. Although if you are not diving lunch was available and we were not charged extra. As I missed a day diving I tried a cheese and bacon burger (grass fed) with onions and it was quite good. Unfortunately the burger had lettuce in it. MistakeÖ
They have a boutique souvenir shop with lots of masks and other objects. I thought the pricing was reasonable. I had previously purchased a story board at the Palau prison in 2006 and paid a fraction more for my purchase at Walindi. I purchased a large light wood seahorse which is beautiful. I had Jane arrange for it to be fumigated to avoid having it confiscated by the Australian customs. They did it all for us, and Australian immigration and customs approved the wood coming in with no problem after inspecting our certificates of fumigation.
Over the course of the week, I generally became disappointed in the dinners as they were blah, and covered with sauces. Not my style. Although their dessert ice cream was a pleasure every night. Letís face it. When it rains in the rainy season one canít grow local veggies. I found the chicken and pork was ok, but the beef steak was not. It was cooked right on temperature, but itís quality was not good. Obviously shipped in. On our last morning at Walindi while waiting for our breakfast, we saw a cat run out of the main kitchen with a dead possum in its mouth! It proceeded to run around in the main dining area carrying the dead possum in its mouth while we ate breakfastÖ. Not goodÖ.
The staff was pleasant and helpful. Very attentive. Pricing at their bar is expensive, so if you plan to drink then you might consider bringing your own and drinking at the large balcony at your bungalow or single plantation room.
Diving was a lot of fun, but be prepared to dive deep as most of the bommies tops are 40 feet with life extending below 100 feet.
Not many sharks which was very surprising to me, but barracuda were common at the bommies with large jacks. Lots of small critters too. Itís helpful to bring a magnifying lense as the Pygmy seahorses are really impossible to see otherwise. Our Dive staff consisted of James, Willie, Miriam, Dominic, Lucas, with Liz, the dive manager, attempting to be the Queen of the staff as she was an instructor. Wang Te (spelling?) was great support.
I was not at all impressed with the instructional skill of Liz as she took an advanced student on a dive and swam with the current to start (as opposed to against it, as is the safer diving practice) and surfaced down current far away from the boat. She also failed to observe her student lose buoyancy that forced our dive guide to leave us to rescue the student. Thanks to Willie there was no further issue. However Lizís organization and control of the student, and safe diving practices, rates a 1 on the PADI divemasterís and instructors grading scale which is considered a failure.
All said, I enjoyed my diving with Willie and Miriam very much and found them very knowledgeable and skilled. Dominic, James and Lucas were great boat captains as well.
The Dive boats were quite comfortable. There was plenty of room on the boats and entries were very easy with our guides (not Liz) assisting divers on entries and exits. They were very courteous and attentive.
A really nice touch at Walindi is the free laundry service daily. You list your items and place them in the laundry basket in your room. Itís picked up in the morning and returned in the afternoon. That is uncommon at dive resorts and I appreciated this service greatly. It really helped as it was impossible for clothes to remain dry in the rooms or outside due to the high humidity.
Be prepared for lots of flies outside during the day when its not raining. Mosquitoes were not bad if you take precautions using deet or other things. I used citronella oil and we burned citronella stick incense and this helped. Nothing works with the flies. Just swat them away or stay under a strong fan. Unfortunately, the balconies do not have fansÖ In the main lodge area, there are several fans. Fans would be very helpful on the balconies of the rooms and bungalows as the flies are prolific and the humid air can be uncomfortable. Rooms have screens with a fan inside and they provide insect spray so the room interiors are comfortable. Bedding is very comfortable and well maintained.
Evening lighting on the pathways is very helpful, and security is abundant at night. I also used a flashlight for walking on the paths at night as an assist with the lights and recommend carrying a small one. We had fun looking at the crabs and frogs at night on the way to and from dinner.
We had abundant rain at the beginning of our stay that knocked the flies and mosquitoes down, and it cleared progressively during our stay. It can be humid here as it is the tropics so pack accordingly.
WiFi is free, however it is not available in your bungalow or room. It is only available in the reception lobby, meal areas and pool area. It is also quite slow. Range extenders would help with that, and for the pricing at Walindi, this is sub par for similar dive resorts.
Diving was good, especially for muck divers. No big things generally. Turtles were rare. Sharks were rare. Rays were very rare. I donít know if that was due to the season. On our last surface interval and dive we played with a pregnant seahorse and another seahorse in very shallow water. They were each about six inches long and were very beautiful, so you never know what you will get.
Overall, we decided Walindiís Papuan staff was great, friendly and helpful. The facility was clean and well maintained. Food was average at best, but sustaining if you donít suffer from diarrhea when there. Then it will be clear fluids, dry toast and tasteless rice. So boil the water in your room with the tea maker provided.
We concluded the diving was average for western pacific standards when compared with Fiji and Micronesia. While we had sightings of seahorses, and a Papuan eagle took chicken pieces from our hands, these great encounters could not compensate for the dead coral fields underwater the closer one got to the main island. The farther out we went there was more life, but nothing big such as rays, turtles or sharks. This indicated to us there has been significant stress on the area due probably to something like overfishing and/or excessive run off from the palm oil plantations.
Anyway I would conclude that Walindi is overpriced for the offering, and value is significantly overstated. It really pains me to make this conclusion due to the kindness of the people we were honored to meet at Walindi, but thatís the truth of it.

Websites Walindi Plantation Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Palau, Fiji (multiple destinations), Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Yap, Bonaire, Turks and Caicos, Roatan, Utila, California coast (multiple destinations)
Closest Airport LAX Getting There LAX-Cairns-Port Moresby-Hoskins. Long distances. We spent a couple nights in Cairns both ways.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 82-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30-100 Ft/ 9-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions None.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available?

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments We had a full work station for camera gear in our room. Rinse buckets on the boat each day.
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