Located some 5 to 15 nautical miles out from Cape Nelson are a series of offshore reefs and seamounts that rise up from in excess of 200m and sit right in the path of the rich equatorial currents that flow up & down the coast during the monsoonal seasons.
Only about 25 of these sites are within reasonable access time of Tufi and have been surveyed, while the rest are largely unexplored.
In the right conditions the diving on some of these reefs is simply sublime – think 30m visibility, beautiful hard & soft corals, large schools of schooling pelagics and the occasional passing hammerhead shark.
Being so far from shore and with very little if any shelter, as most of the reefs are completely submerged, diving them requires reasonable weather.
The Tufi boats typically get out everyday, but if the weather looks challenging the reefs closer in are the logical choice and the reefs that are farther out are saved for another day…
The optimum time to dive even the most distant reefs is in October & November, during the doldrum period between the trade wind seasons, when the diving conditions both offshore & onshore are at their very best with calm seas and great visibility.
I have been lucky enough to log dozens of dives on the offshore reefs and can honestly say that I have enjoyed virtually all of them, but of the 25 or so sites two of my favorites are described below, but here is a selection of images taken on all the others:
Tufi Offshore Reefs Image Gallery
Diving Papua New Guinea: Tufi Offshore Reefs – Cyclone
There are actually three sites to choose from at this location…
Cyclone is one of the closest of the offshore reef sites to Tufi and the one usually dived when the weather is too rough to allow diving on the outer sites.
The lee side of the reef provides a sheltered anchorage from the prevailing trade winds that blow so hard during the dry season.
The main reef and the nearby bommie lie north to south, and rise up from some 200+ meters to within 5m of the surface, with the top of the reef is covered in healthy array of hard corals.
The lee side of the reef is a sheer wall that drops down to about 40m and then slopes off into the depths.
The outer reef wall on the other side of the reef slopes down gradually and clearly shows the impact of the heavy dry season seas.
The bommie is just south of the reef and can be circumnavigated in one dive, with some nice caves & swim-throughs to explore and the southern wall dropping vertically into the blue.
Cyclone Reef, Wall & Bommie Image Gallery
Diving Papua New Guinea: Tufi Offshore Reefs – Mulloway
Like it’s neighbor Cyclone Reef, Mulloway is located to the east of Tufi.
But it is at the outer edge of the group of 25 reefs, which means it is between 1 and 1.5 hours fr0m the resort – depending upon the weather…
Mulloway is probably one of the best dives at Tufi – a superb & healthy reef that abounds with marine life.
Named after a regular Tufi visitor from Mulloway in Australia, the reef is surrounded by deep water and swept by a strong current rich in nutrients.
The marine ecosystem on Mulloway is simply stunning in its intensity & diversity.
The reef is home to beautiful hard & soft corals teeming with anthias, roaming schools of fusiliers and cruising above the reef are the mid-water predators – large schools of jacks & trevally.
Out in the crystal clear blue waters are the cruising pelagics – dogtooth tuna, rays & sharks plus the occasional great hammerhead is also known to grace the site with its presence.
Mulloway Reef Image Gallery
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