Friday, 26 August 2016

26th August 2016 - Public holiday PNG - diving Kokopo

Friday 26th August 2016

Today was our shopping and checkout day.

Yesterday was fun fun FUN!  We did two dives, with Paul and David, from Rapopo Plantation resort dive centre.  So lucky to have just the two of us with one minder each!  Plus a very capable boat driver, Marcus. 

The first dive was into very shallow water (about five metres) and then along to a wreck no more than 20 metres deep.  It was extremely pretty; the wreck was a small coastal cargo ship, covered with nudibranchs and coral and swarming with clouds of fish. 

The water was warm and clear and it was just delightful; I didn’t want to get out…

The second dive was just around the corner, off Pigeon Island.  We went along a drop-off wall down to 20-30 metres (could have gone down down down…the wall seemed to go very deep, well over 100 metres…)  It was just beautiful.  Along the wall it was like a superhighway of fish, big and small, going about their business.  Out in the deeper blue large tuna zoomed past, and the occasional shark.  Above us were large barracuda, cruising like missiles.  And all around were smaller fish going this way with the current, that way against the current, up and then down again.

We swam against the current to begin with and then drifted back effortlessly to find the dive boat ready to pick us up.

I enjoyed both of these dives tremendously.  Paul and David were calm and competent so we felt very safe.  Also, I felt quite competent too…I went down when I wanted to, up when the occasion called for it.  I didn’t sink like a stone or bob around like a cork.  My mask didn’t fog up or fill with water.  Perfecto!

I was so enthralled by the whole process that I wanted to say, Let’s stay a few more days and do some more dives with lovely Paul and David!  Until…we got the bill…The dives here are eye-wateringly expensive…Approximately 500 kina each – around $100 per dive…In Raja Ampat we were paying about $50-60 per dive…I would wholeheartedly recommend this resort, this dive centre…but come with deep pockets!

And where are the photos??  Well…just this once I accidentally left my GoPro, my Canon and my iPhone behind on 2XS.  Tricky, eh??  David and Paul took lots of photos on a nifty looking underwater camera but I don’t have them yet.  Gavin (from Cairns) who runs the dive centre is very kindly going to email them to me but…the internet here is so very slow, with such a very weak signal, that I can’t imagine I will be able to receive them.  When I get somewhere with proper bandwidth then I will be able to gloat over the nudibranchs etc but…maybe not just yet!

Oh and I started by saying today was our checkout day…NOT SO MUCH!!  Guess what - once again we have hit the jackpot with our timing; it is a public holiday!  All government offices closed!  So…we hit the shops and bought provisions; we can leave tomorrow and with a bit of luck find Immigration, Customs, Harbour Master somewhere along the way… We are cautiously optimistic…Last time we came into PNG we had our paperwork for arrival, visas etc we had queued for in Honiara, and we arrived in Misima ready willing and able to check in and then out again. 

We went straight to the appropriate address for Immigration only to find the office locked bolted and empty…Apparently the government official hadn’t been paid for many months so he packed up and went home to Port Moresby, locking the door behind him…So…you never know…

Later in the evening…

Gavin gave us some photos on a disk; hence - photos on blog!

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