October 12 – 22, 2022
10 nights

Papua New Guinea boarding the MV Oceania at Walindi Plantation, Kimbe Bay 

Join Cathy Church to dive in paradise

Start your stay at the beautiful Walindi Plantation before joining the live aboard to explore further afield.

Situated in the coral triangle you can enjoy the highest diversity of tropical fish and coral in the world whilst diving some of the most beautiful reefs and sea mounts in the Bismarck Sea, at Kimbe Bay, Fathers Reefs and the Witu islands.

For most dives there is virtually no current, easy diving and lots of fish, making it a perfect location for underwater photography.

All this whilst staying onboard the luxurious newest dive live aboard operating in PNG.

Reserve now
 

Papua New Guinea

Photo @ Cathy Church

Price (USD)

Payable by check; additional 2.5% for payment by credit card

Both liveaboard and resort fees must be paid to participate in this trip.
We highly recommend staying for 3 nights at Walindi Resort before the Oceania departs, to acclimate, put your cameras together with Cathy, do some wonderful dives and generally relax.

Oceania Liveaboard

Twin Cabin

$11,900.00 per person, single occupancy
$5950.00 per person, double occupancy

Paid by check

Queen Cabin

$11,900.00 per person, single occupancy
$5950.00 per person, double occupancy

Paid by check

Walindi Resort

Standard Plantation Room

$215 per person,  single occupancy per night
$160 per person, double occupancy per night

Paid by check

Deluxe Bungalow

$300 per person, single occupancy per night
$225 per person, double occupancy per night

Paid by check

Included

  • 10 nights Double/Twin share ensuite stateroom accommodation
  • All meals, snacks, unlimited coffee and tea, complimentary wine with dinner on board
  • Four to five boat dives per day
  • Tanks, weights, boat and guide.
  • Light laundry daily
  • Environmental and Safety Fees
  • Return airport transfers on the day of departure and disembarkation
  • Extra night/nights at Walindi Plantation as requested and included in your package by arrangement with us

Not included

  • Airfare
  • Gratuities
  • 10% GTS charge for onboard purchases
  • Rental Equipment
  • Bar drinks
  • Nitrox
  • Travel insurance is always very important for an overseas dive trip and we highly recommend adequate cover – this is a group trip and we do not supply insurance or cover the cost of cancellation or re-scheduling
  • Diver insurance is mandatory

Please note onboard purchases can be made in cash (USD, Euro, AUD or Kina) or by credit card (MC/Visa/Amex – no cc fee)

Diving

Diving on Oceania is made easy with staff on hand to assist with dive gear both entering and exiting the water.
A water level duck board at the back of the boat means entry and exit is a breeze. All you have to do is fall into the water and they hand you your camera.
A purpose fitted tender is also used during some dives.

Nitrox is available at an additional cost.

Underwater, find a world of untouched beauty and incredibly biodiversity. The type of diving you will experience depends on the itinerary, but for most dives you can expect low current, easy diving and lots of fish, and plenty to photograph!

MV Oceania will operate 10 night Signature itineraries in our ‘peak’ weather months, from mid September, October and November.  Water temperatures are slightly lower in September, October and November at 29/30 degrees, and that means there are usually more of the smaller and unusual critters about.

There is usually very little rain in October (there is a possibility of a couple of evening showers here and there), light breezes and plenty of sunshine.

Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea

Kimbe Bay pulses with life: its coral reefs hold more than half of all species on Earth, a rainbow jungle that more than 900 reef fish species call home.  Kimbe Bay is located in the Bismarck Sea, a key area in the global center of marine biodiversity.  The Coral Triangle and Kimbe Bay lie almost centrally within this.  Its marine life is remarkable: Kimbe Bay possesses 4 critically endangered, 11 endangered and 173 vulnerable species.  These include the Largetooth Sawfish (Pristis pristis), Pondicherry Shark (Carcharhinus hemiodon), Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) and Leatherback Turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), Scalloped Hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini) and Sei Whale (Balaenoptera borealis). 

Kimbe Bay’s secret to its rich healthy marine ecosystem is its complex and diverse bathymetry (the measurement of depth of water in oceans, seas or lakes).  A narrow coastal shelf fringes the coastline of the bay, descending to oceanic depths of over 1,000m.  Along this coastline, fringing nearshore emergent reefs are neighbors to seagrass beds,  mangroves and river estuaries forming multiple land-sea interfaces.  

Coral reefs in Kimbe Bay are as striking as they are fortunate.  Its reefs have been assessed as high diversity and high coral cover sites –  amazingly with relatively low human impact.  Of the 173 IUCN Redlist vulnerable species, 159 of these are scleractinian corals.  The endangered coral Cantharellus noumeae is also found in the Bay.  In 2018, researchers from James Cook University undertook upper mesophotic surveys in Kimbe Bay, which resulted in reporting a species of Black Coral (Antipatharia) that had not been previously described to science, let alone the Bay itself. 

The occasional sightings of orca, pilot whales, whale sharks and other large marine life passing through Kimbe Bay often with young are also an indicator of the importance of Kimbe Bay as a habitat for these animals. 

The combination of a rich and varied fish fauna, well developed coral reefs, and a spectacular, relatively pristine environment, is ample justification for the establishment of a special conservation status for Kimbe Bay.

 

Diving sites

Divers flock to PNG to see the pristine coral reefs, extremely rich marine life, walls, coral atolls, barrier reefs and WWII wrecks. Located in the Pacific Coral Triangle, there are 28,000 miles of reef systems, so it’s a destination where divers rarely come across other groups. It is home to some of the most beautiful and spectacular scuba diving in the world.

The “Signature Itinerary” covers the three most popular diving areas of Kimbe Bay, Witu Islands and Fathers Reefs.

KIMBE BAY

Kimbe Bay is home to stunning reefs with those brilliant coral formations you see in all the classic Walindi pictures. Beautiful and dramatic sea mounts, coral laden walls and lush coral gardens are all a feature of Kimbe Bay diving, along with myriad fish and invertebrate life the reefs sustain.

WITU ISLANDS

Witu Islands are situated to the North West of Kimbe Bay and this area is visited by MV Oceania at selected times during the year.  A cross section of diving includes sea mounts and black sand bays around the islands, so this area provides a perfect mix of both pelagic activity and critters.

FATHERS REEFS

Fathers are series of off shore reefs, volcanic in origin.  The underwater topography is startlingly different with dramatic reefscapes, arches and swim throughs.  Being offshore, these reefs also attract pelagic activity such as sharks, rays, turtles, schools of barracuda, jacks etc.

The MV Oceania

MV Oceania is the newest addition to the liveaboard diving in the waters of Papua New Guinea. A 27 metre catamaran accommodating up to 16 guests, MV Oceania began operation in April 2019 out of Walindi Plantation Resort with itineraries including Kimbe Bay, Fathers Reefs and the Witu Islands.

The luxury catamaran is based in the waters of the Bismarck Sea, Papua New Guinea. Having just undergone an extensive refit Oceania is fresh and modern, but still comfortable and designed with the modern diver in mind.

Guest cabins are a combination of twin share and queen bed rooms, all en-suite and above deck with an ocean view. Cabins and common areas inside are all individually air-conditioned, or guests can relax outside on the spacious sun deck for a leisurely surface interval.

                                

On Board

The lounge and dining area is located on the middle deck.
A spacious couch area is perfect for relaxing between dives and with multiple charging sockets installed along the footboard you can also kick back with one of your devices while it charges.

Mini fridges located in front of the galley have a selection of beverages for purchase along with complimentary juices and a refillable drinking water station. Complimentary tea and coffee is available all day.

Two long tables comfortably seat up to 16 guests for meals and snacks, all of which are included in the trip price. A shared restroom is located on this deck also.

Cabins

Onboard Oceania you will find 3 x Queen Cabins and 5 x Twin Share Cabins, all with ensuite bathrooms.
Freshly renovated in early 2019, these cabins feature:

International plug sockets (240 volt), USB plug sockets for devices, individual reading lights, individually controlled split system air-conditioning, under bed storage, ‘rain’ style shower as well as handheld shower head, locally sourced mini soap and shampoo complimentary.

Sundeck

On the upper level of Oceania you can find a large open area used for relaxing between dives, snacks and sundowners and watching the world go by while transiting between dives.

The upper deck features tables and chairs in both the sun and the shade.

For those wishing to recline outside, a section on the rear of the mid deck is fitted with couches under a sunshade.

Two long tables comfortably seat up to 16 guests for meals and snacks, all of which are included in the trip price. A shared restroom is located on this deck also.

Diving Deck

Diving on Oceania is made easy with staff on hand to assist with dive gear both entering and exiting the water.
A water level duck board at the back of the boat means entry and exit is a breeze.
A purpose fitted tender is also used during some dives.

Dining

Meals on board are prepared in a small galley using as much local, fresh produce as is available at the time.

A continental breakfast is available before the first dive of the day (prior to 6:30am) and then hot breakfast foods such as eggs, pancakes, bacon etc can be ordered after surfacing from the first dive. A mid morning snack is served and is usually either a savoury platter or baked sweets such as brownies or muffins.

Lunch is usually buffet style and consists of a range of salads, stir fry’s, baked savoury foods, chicken wings, hot chips, etc. the items available for lunch change each day. A mid afternoon snack is served before the last dive of the day, and this is usually savoury.

Dinner is a la carte and is usually what we would describe as ‘homestyle cooking’ using locally produced meats and freshly caught fish where possible. Dessert is served each night and is usually a baked treat accompanied by ice cream.

Fresh fruit is available all day long from the saloon, and our fridges are stocked with a range of soft drinks, juices and SP beers. We have red and white wines available on board, and the brand is dictated by what is available to purchase at the time. We endeavour to buy the best wines we can, but as PNG is a third world country we are occasionally limited in choice.

We will try our very best to accommodate any dietary requirements you might have but, again, as PNG is a third world country we can sometimes be limited by what is available at the time of departure.

Getting there

Air travel is via Port Moresby, the major international airport for PNG. We higher recommend you check whether you need a visa. This can be organized in advance or at the airport. Onward domestic flights to Hoskins with Air Niugini arrive around 4pm (subject to change). If flying into Port Moresby by Air Niugini you should be allowed an additional 30lbs checked luggage for dive gear. We will be happy to work with you to plan your air travel.

Weather

October is the prime month to stay and dive in PNG. Average air temperatures are 84º and sea temperatures 81º. There is very little rainfall, maybe just a shower at night now and again, and is the ideal month for diving.

Conditions are normally great with calm seas and visibility ranging up to 150ft.

Etiquette

To respect the local traditions and customs, women are asked to wear a skirt or pants that cover the upper legs while outside the resort.

Some amazing reasons to join Cathy on her wonderful trip to Papua New Guinea 

We tell stories, visit, and just relax. No politics, no religion, just good company and great diving.

1. Easy diving

Diving can be done easily from the water level platform at the back of the Oceania or from the dedicated dive tender.

 

 

2. Calm water

October is a great month for diving with calms seas, great visibility and, mainly, very little current.

3. Pristine coral reefs

PNG is famous for it’s pristine coral reefs full of life.

 

 

 

 

4. Unusual critters

Milne Bay has lots! Ghost pipefish, seahorses, frogfish, mandarin fish, octopus, nudibranch’s – all in often less than 20ft making for long easy critter dives.

 

 

5. Rich marine life

PNG has an incredible amount of diversity and is rich in marine life.

 

 

 

6. WWII Wrecks


There is a wonderfully photogenic WWII Zero Fighter plane wreck close to the shore in only 60ft!

 

 

7. Stunning walls

There are a mix of stunning walls full of life with amazing visibility.

 

 

 

 

 

8. Wide variety of diving

From reefs to walls to wrecks to critters, PNG has something for everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

9. Pelagics

Manta rays, tuna, barracuda, and sharks are found frequently underwater, and even sometimes dolphin, pilot, killer and sperm whales can be seen from the surface!

 

10. Great weather

October is the perfect month to visit PNG to dive. Seas are generally calm with light breezes, which keep the temperatures very pleasant.

 

 

11. Just as good above as below

Forest covered tropical islands and WWI relics make the topside just as interesting and photogenic as underwater

 

 

12. Backup camera gear

Cathy brings a wide selection of back-up gear so you can keep taking pictures even if you have a camera problem.

 

 

 

 

 

13. Evening critiques and coaching

This is what Cathy is best known for. She devotes the entire evening to helping you.

 

 

14. Exotic indigenous culture

The Solomon Islands is a fascinating archipelago where the local traditions and customs still very much practiced on a daily basis.

 

Reservation information

Checks

Payable to Cathy Church Photo Center

Mail to
Cathy Church Photo Center
PO Box 479
Grand Cayman, KY1-1106 Cayman Islands

Credit Card
345-949-7415 Cayman number

607-330-3504 U.S. direct with credit card information

There is a 2.5% credit card surcharge for all portions paid for with credit card. We accept all major credit cards including American Express.

Payments (USD)
Deposit with reservation
$1,250 by check
$1,281.50 by credit card

Second payment due 2nd June, 2021
$3,450.00 by check
$3,536.25 by credit card

Balance due 2nd December, 2021
$2,200.00 by check
$2,255.00 by credit card

    Send a reservation inquiry

    Cancellation Policy (USD)

    Cancel by 2 January, 2021—receive a full refund
    Cancel by 2 June, 2021—full refund less $250 processing fee per person
    Cancel between 3rd June, 2021 and 1 December, 2021—$1,000 forfeited
    After 2nd December, 2021—no refund unless we can fill your space from our approved list

    PLEASE NOTE CREDIT CARD FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE

    Dive insurance is mandatory and we strongly recommend adequate travel insurance. This is a group booking with group cancellation terms. We are not insurance agents and can not cover the cost of cancellations.