Upcoming Trips - Douglas Underwater
The Very Best of Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea
onboard the MV Golden Dawn
13 – 25 November, 2013*
led by Dinah Halstead and Valerie Taylor
Come on an extraordinary itinerary of the best Papua New
Guinea’s Milne Bay has to offer with the pioneers who discovered
all of the best dive sites and made Milne Bay renowned as one of
the world’s premiere dive destinations.
Highlights will include the black coral forested seamount
of Black and Silver Reef; the volcanic black sand shallows and
steep slope of Dinah’s Beach; the diverse riches of Deacon’s Reef,
noted for its enormous gorgonian corals and clouds of bejeweled
anthias; Peer’s Reef, Samarai Island and Samarai Wharf; the manta
ray cleaning station of Gonubalabala; the B17 Bomber "Blackjack"
at Cape Vogel; Pelagic encounters at Wahoo Point; Chambered
Nautilus collection and release; dives at Observation Point and
much much more.
The beauty of Milne Bay’s underwater seascape is
unparalleled with healthy hard and soft corals, and, according to
a recent survey, home to 1,039 species of fish and 637 species of
molluscs. Among the many marquee species frequently
encountered are Rhinopias scorpionfish, Warty frogfish,
Flamboyant cuttlefish, Mantis Shrimp, Ribbon eels, Wonderpus,
Bobbit Worms, and more.
Our guide for this special itinerary is Dinah Halstead, who
discovered the rhinopias scorpionfish in Papua New Guinea’s reefs
over thirty years ago. Dinah pioneered the exploration of most of
the diving in Milne Bay and escorted countless trips aboard PNG’s
first liveaboard, Telita. Her special local knowledge, invaluable
insights, peerless guiding and fine company is reason enough to
join her anywhere. She will be joined on this expedition by her
dear friend, Valerie Taylor, who has counted PNG as one of her
favorite dive destinations for decades.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the best that
PNG’s Milne Bay has to offer with two of the most dynamic
explorers of the sea. It will not be repeated and is a friends and
Contact: [email protected]
* - Note: American Thanksgiving falls upon Nov 28th, allowing
ample time for a once-in-a-lifetime diving cruise in PNG and a
return to USA via international air carriers with days to spare
before celebrating the holiday with family and friends.
“The Jetties of South Australia”
(and Kangaroo Island Too!)
17 – 28 January, 2014
onboard the Princess II
The sea life of Australia is among the richest and most varied
in the world. While the Great Barrier Reef is the most well-known
destination, in fact, it is within the waters of coastal South
Australia that the most unique fish and invertebrate life can be
found. These southern seas are the home to a myriad variety of
exotic, endemic, temperate-water species, such as blue-ringed
octopus, stargazers, warty prowfish, ornate cowfish, striped
pyjama squid, tasseled Anglerfish, red velvetfish, and the
celebrated weedy and leafy sea dragons.
These coveted cryptic creatures are dispersed throughout the
thousands of kilometers of coastline, yet can be found
concentrated in a relatively small area under and around a few
dozen man-made structures originally built in the last century.
Wooden piers – referred to locally as ‘Jetties’ – were constructed
to facilitate the transport of agriculture and mineral products
from remote coastal areas via cargo ships in the era before
Due to the shallow, gradually sloping bottom topography, the
jetties extend far out into waters deep enough to allow for the
draft of a fully loaded cargo ship at low tide. These piers remain
today as recreational fishing and diving attractions, although
most have had their original wooden structures replaced by
concrete or steel. Still, the support pylons and pillars are
encrusted with invertebrate life, functioning much as a shipwreck
does to attract and concentrate sea life into a densely packed area.
The shade provided by boardwalks above has a great appeal for
many of the invertebrate species of the southern ocean and sea
grasses and kelp are in abundance, forming the perfect, preferred
habitat for leafy sea dragons and other celebrated sea creatures.
While it is possible to explore the jetties of South Australia by
car as an independent traveler, the great distances by road
between the various jetties (and scuba tank fill stations) combined
with the process of carrying lead weights, scuba tanks, and
photographic gear while wearing a thick wetsuit or drysuit under a
blazing summer sun makes the diving physically challenging, and
frankly, exhausting. Thus, we have chartered the Princess II, a 75
foot liveaboard that normally serves as expedition vessel for
great white shark cage diving trips at the Neptunes Islands as our
accommodation and floating dive platform.
The Princess II gives us the ability to make 3 or 4 dives per day (and
some night dives) from immediately adjacent to the jetties and takes
the hassle out of jetty diving. Our plan is to dive several jetties
and to visit Kangaroo Island for a mix of jetty and secluded cove
dives, thus enabling a mix of fish and invertebrate encounters with
some diving with playful sea lions. Some of the jetties we will
dive are: Edithburg, Port Hughes, Wool Bay, Tumby Bay, Kingscote
and Wallaroo, Water temperature in the Austral summer is warm
enough for a 7mm wetsuit or drysuit and a hood.
For further information on jetty diving in South Australia, refer
to Water Column 35: “The Colonials” as attached.