Port Moresby dive sites – located as it is on a headland that overlooks the superb natural anchorage of Fairfax Harbor, Port Moresby enjoys excellent access to the rich waters and multiple dive sites in the area.
There are several sites in Fairfax Harbor, but I have yet to personally experience any of them as all my diving in the Port Moresby area has been around Bootless Bay, the offshore Sinavi & Nateara reefs and the sunken barrier reef.
However I understand from the local divers I have spoken to that the Fairfax Harbor dives offer a good alternative to the offshore sites when the weather is less than ideal, but if you are traveling internationally they would probably not be on your “must do” list…
Port Moresby Dive Sites – Bootless Bay
The sites in Bootless Bay are typically dived in the afternoon when the winds get stronger and diving out on the offshore reefs is no longer possible. Lion Island has a small wreck called the MV Tuart which has lots of critters and there is a good selection of macro subjects generally – but don’t bother taking a wide-angle lens as the visibility is rarely great.
Port Moresby Dive Sites – The Offshore Reefs
The offshore sites around the Nateara & sunken barrier reefs, and the much smaller Horseshoe & Quayles reefs, offer some tremendous diving and when the conditions are at their best they can rival some of the best sites almost anywhere in PNG.
However, they are exposed to the elements – specifically the monsoonal weather patterns and the New Guinea Coastal Undercurrent as explained on the PNG Marine Diversity page.
The Coastal Undercurrent brings with it the nutrient rich waters from the deep trenches of the Pacific Ocean and is the reason why the offshore sites are so rich and bio-diverse. It also explains why those sites on the outer side of the reefs are richer than the ones on the inside because, in very simple terms, they are fed first…
Port Moresby Dive Sites – When to Go?
Papua New Guinea’s location just south of the equator means that it is very much subject to the monsoonal weather patterns & seasons. In the Port Moresby area, from May to October the winds blow from the southeast, then from around mid December through to March the predominant winds are from the northwest.
When the south-easterlies are blowing, the usual pattern is that overnight the prevailing winds subside and the morning brings fairly calm conditions, but by around 11.00 the winds are back and starting to produce some heavy swells. Diving is still possible on the sites on the sheltered side of the reefs, but it does not pay to linger too long as the ride back can be very bumpy…
Conditions are better during the northwest monsoon season and means the sites on the outer reef are much more accessible, but the optimum conditions are during the doldrum periods between the monsoon seasons and the one in November & early December is particularly good.