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Scuba Diving in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea
Dive Site: Midway Reef
Location: Rabaul, Papua New Guinea
Description: Reef / drift
Depth: 3 - 30 metres (10 - 100 feet)
Visibility: 25 metres + (80 feet)
Midway Reef is an elongated underwater seamount or shoal located between the coastline of Rabaul and Watom Island rising from 600 metres to within 3 metres of the surface. Our first dive here was on the north side of the reef where the wall dropped away vertically. The currents here can be strong and we dropped on the north point and headed in an easterly direction with the current which made for a tough initial swim to the wall but an excellent and fast drift dive. The viz was poor in the shallows, but once below 20 metres it opened up to a good 25 metres +. Midway reef is a fantastic dive with turtles and a great chance of seeing grey reef sharks, white-tip sharks and other pelagics. There were schooling barracuda, jacks and black trevellays off the reef wall. Shoals of lunar fusiliers darted along the reef and there were tuna hunting near the prolific hard coral formations which cover the upper slopes.
On our second dive several days later, we dropped in on the steep south side and initially headed east, however the current had other ideas so we soon turned and headed west. The north and south sides are the vertical drops with shallower plateaus on the east and west tips which are great areas to either finish your dive or to hang over the vertical drops-offs and watch for pelagics. Remaining stationary at these drop-offs paid dividends for us and we saw a number of grey reef sharks near the limit of visibility. This dive had some of the largest barrel sponges I have seen, some with diametres of over 1.5 metres. The viz was still poor in the top 6 metres on our second dive; however the sheer proliferation of small fish life and colourful coral was staggering.
Rik Vercoe, BSAC Advanced Instructor
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