Port Moresby and Bootless Bay Dive Sites

Image courtesy of Rocky Roe and Neil Whiting

Port Moresby is located on a headland that overlooks the excellent natural anchorage of Fairfax Harbor.

The harbor takes its name from Admiral Sir Fairfax Moresby – the father of Captain John Moresby who first claimed the area of New Guinea for Britain in 1873.

There are several dive sites in Fairfax Harbor, but I have yet to dive any of them…

All the diving I have done in the Port Moresby area has been around Bootless Bay and on the offshore Sinavi & Nateara reefs and the sunken barrier reef.

However I understand from numerous local divers I have spoken to that the Fairfax Harbor dives offer a very reasonable alternative to the offshore sites when the weather precludes diving there.

Map of the dive sites near Port Moresby in PNG

Port Moresby Dive Site Map

Bootless Bay Dive Sites

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, the offshore sites 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 is the reason why the sites are so rich & bio-diverse as it brings with it the nutrient rich waters from the deep trenches of the Pacific Ocean. 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…

Map of the dive sites in Bootless Bay and the Offshore Reefs

Port Moresby and Bootless Bay 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 & Bootless Bay 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.

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