Deep Blue South

Loloata Island Resort, Papua New Guinea

Sep 19, 2001
Outside Magazine

Diving Papua New Guinea needn't entail a sweaty wait for a connecting flight to some cost-a-small-fortune remote corner of the island country. Some of PNG's best macro diving lies within a half hour of its gateway, Port Moresby's international airport. The reefs at Loloata Island Resort in Bootless Bay, 12 miles southeast of town, are virtually untouched—chalice choral flaunt ten-foot spreads at a depth of just five feet.

A 15-minute van ride gets you to a barbed-wire gate, and a ten-minute ferry ride lands you on uninhabited Loloata Island and its sleepy, 1960s chicken farm turned resort. Its waters shelter vast stands of hard coral and sea whips, along with pygmy sea horses, mantis shrimp, pipefish, and lots of mollusks—of the 43 known species of allied cowrie, 39 are found here.
The resort has 17 beachfront bungalows on stilts, each with colonial-style furniture, private baths, and veranda with ocean view. On-site you'll find a modest restaurant and bar, as well as an ad hoc zoo with kangaroos, wallabies, and several kinds of native birds. The resort's dive operation provides equipment, PADI instruction, and a ten-person dive boat. More than 30 sites lie within easy reach: End Bommie is known for its scorpionfish; Lion Island for black coral; and A-20 Havoc for its sunken bomber. New sites include Dianne's Reef, inside the main barrier reef packed with soft corals, and Nadine's Passage, a narrow gully through the barrier reef thick with gorgonian fans, pink sea whips, and pygmy sea horses. Bring your own computer and camera gear.

Double rooms are $200 per night, including airport transfers and meals. Call 011.675.325.8590.

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