In 1969 Max and Cecilie Benjamin bought the 800 acre Walindi Palm oil plantation on the shores of Kimbe Bay. At this point, they had no idea of the ocean universe that was at their doorstep. It wasn’t until 1976 that they embarked on their very first scuba dive in the area. They were taken aback by the sheer beauty and spectacular reef sites that had been beckoning them day after day. The Benjamins had never dived anywhere else in the world, so they assumed that the ocean before them was like this in many other places too. It wasn’t until they travelled overseas that they were able to identify just how unique and otherworldly Kimbe Bay was. Kimbe Bay is now world renowned for serving up some of the best dive experiences one could hope for.
The Bay is on the North Coast of New Britain, the largest Island in Papua New Guinea’s Bismarck Archipelago Range, in the Province of West New Britain. Kimbe Bay has many rainforest covered volcanoes which rise steeply up to 500m out of the waterline. The volcanoes provide an incredible backdrop for a lot of the diving hotspots. The Bay is also part of the Coral Triangle and is a vital biodiversity centre. The coral here is mostly undamaged by human or environmental impact, and many efforts are being made by marine science researchers to keep it this way. The area covers a whopping 2.3 million square miles of ocean and is home to 75% of the world’s coral species which offers over 200 reefs and dive spots to marvel at and explore.
Kimbe Bay consists of reef and sea-mount/pinnacle diving. The dazzling crystal clear water gives incredible visibility to enable divers to see the many resident shoals of Barracuda, Tuna and Jacks. Sharks such as Hammerheads and Silvertips can often be seen around the offshore reefs adding a little adrenaline pumping sightseeing beneath the ocean’s surface. Brilliant Barrel Sponges, swaying Sea Whips and huge Gorgonian Fans create the backdrop for this underwater wonderland. Photographer David Doubliet said it best when he shot this amazing dive site, “It is a world more alien than the edges of space”. He surely said this because you can swim and twirl in the water among Dolphins, Dugongs and every sea creature in between.
Some of the best dive sites include; Vanessa’s Reef, known for its giant sea fans which create a natural wonder known as an “Amphitheatre”. Susan’s Reef, which has thick strands of Red Sea Whips perfect for that iconic diving photo and spotting tiny fish hiding among the waving sea strands. Restorf Island is another must dive site. It has a large diversity of sea life that will be unlike anything you have ever seen before.
Kimbe Bay is THE place for diving, but it has many other excellent activities to indulge the senses. There are bubbling mud pools to visit, bat caves, WWII aircraft wrecks, bush walks and cold rivers to plunge into after a hot day in the tropical sunshine. Getting to Kimbe is very easy and it’s just a 90-minute flight from Port Moresby to Hoskin Airport. The best place to be based at, is the Walindi Resort run by the (now) Kimbe Bay diving experts – The Benjamins. Max and Cecilie offer 12 self-contained bungalows, a pool, a bar and lounge area all located beneath shady palm trees.
You can also hop onto the liveaboard MV FeBrina whose home port is the Walindi Resort. This beautiful vessel can take you to all of the best dive spots, offers air-conditioned cabins and a friendly crew of Kimbe Bay experts.
Kimbe Bay has it all and even the most seasoned divers will be wowed by the sheer magnitude of beauty that lies silently beneath the sparkling surface of its waters.
Gudmundur (Gummi) Fridriksson, is the CEO of Paga Hill Development Company (PNG) Ltd, overseeing the development of Paga Hill Estate, a world-class, master planned estate located in the heart of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Gudmundur first arrived in Papua New Guinea over 20 years ago and is passionate about sharing PNG’s natural beauty and diverse cultures with the world. Find out more about Gudmundur Fridriksson on his website: http://www.gummifridriksson.com/ and about the Paga Hill Estate development at http://www.pagahillestate.com