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Dive Review of Walindi Plantation Resort/Febrina in
Papua New Guinea/witu and fathers

Walindi Plantation Resort/Febrina, May, 2012,

by gloria freund, VA, US ( 2 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 6585 has 1 Helpful vote.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Indonesia (Raja Ampat, Lembeh, Bangka, Ambon), Solomon Islands, Fiji, Red Sea, Thailand/Similans, Palau, Oman, Carribbean (various)
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 85 to Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 60 min for first dive
Liveaboard? no 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 4 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments Boat: space accommodated several with large kits; exposure to outside elements and to exterior showers was generally manageable but when windy required being mindful when housing and strobes were opened. Separate camera rinse tank changed frequently.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments In the nutshell, I wished I'd not waited so long to try diving in PNG. First, enjoyed a couple of days at Walindi then 10 nights aboard Febrina which handily leaves from Walindi's dock. At Walindi, diving was well organized; my plantation room was quite a haul from the dive shop in terms of gear lugging...but staff accommodated and managed the big stuff for me. 3-tank dives/lunch each day, with nitrox $200 for each day out on the boat...not cheap, but its remote and nothing there is cheap. Just budget for it. Dive shop was also very accommodating about lending me gear w/o charge while my baggage took its time arriving. Would reiterate what others have warned about being prepared for mosquitos; also, do not miss the hot river and the firefly experiences. Food at Walindi was not exotic, but generally good quality and certainly ample.
My experience on Febrina the next 10 days was overall terrific - good enough to already be thinking on how and when might I make a return visit. I felt the boat, Captain and crew went out of their way in trying to please and entertain everyone. Getting immersed was a simple giant stride off the platform...I worried how I'd manage without the pick up pangas, but the very manageable currents and conditions quickly erased those concerns...the boat and its darby line was always easy enough to find. Throughout our itinerary, we encountered no other dive boats... the sea and reefs were all ours.
My one frustration was having a couple of serious/pro shooters - contest winners - whose underwater etiquette towards creatures and towards other divers left a lot to be desired; crew efforts to diplomatically manage it were less than 100% successful. I'm a photog too and it was disheartening to have that. Why take only 50 exposures on a single wilting sea horse, when the card has room for twice or 3 times that, seemed to be the philosophy.
Aside from that, Febrina offers five dives on most days (3 before lunch), on my cruise all ranged from good to fabulous and solid on variety. Many shoals of barracuda, jacks, snappers, trevally; sharks; tuna; turtles some of which were clearly accustomed to humans; great variety of anemone fish, and the usual reef suspects. A couple nice schools of bumphead parrotfish. Huge fans, expanses of lettuce coral, fields of sea whips. Plenty of scenic and CFWA for wide angle which I had trouble resisting; I know the macro enthusiasts were kept quite busy with the number of nudis, soft coral and criniod crabs, pipefish, cowries, etc that Josie and Digger pointed out.
I would highly recommend availing of the village visit on offer; come prepared with some goodies, esp school supplies, as these are much appreciated. The village folk do not appear to get all that many visitors - this is not a commercial tourist trap - they are gracious and seem to enjoy the interaction. If you are really lucky Dicky Doyle will spend some time aboard...spare time for this as well to get a unique glimpse of life in the Witus.
The Febrina is a small boat; yet stateroom with ensuite was comfortable enough, everything in it including the AC worked for the little time I spent there; albeit with a tiny kitchen the food aboard was carefully prepared, tasty and plentiful. Mantra was dive, dry off, eat, dive, dry off, eat...
Febrina also offers daily laundry service, which lets you save those precious baggage allowances for your dive and photo gear.
So, do take this journey. CAPT Raabe is a howl - make time for his stories - but he also has known and cared for these waters, lands and its human and marine inhabitants as no other in our time. If you haven't, take this journey while this very able captain, boat and crew are there to show you all that it can be.
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Subscriber's Comments

By carl berenson in WA, US at Apr 19, 2014 11:59 EST  
Have you been back?
By gloria freund in VA, US at Apr 19, 2014 12:05 EST  
Not yet ...life and work intercede...but its at the top of my 'return to' list, very much hope to within next 12 months.
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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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