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Cyclone Divers: Golden Dawn Part I

Diving the rough and tumble waters of Papua New Guinea

storm 19 °C
View The World 2007 on lloydthyen's travel map.

Months of anticipation as we travelled the globe brought us finally to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea for our 10 day live-aboard scuba diving trip. On arrival, rain greeted us, and has since not stopped. Once on the boat, we have suffered the heaviest seas we’ve ever encountered (6-8 foot swells, with lots of white caps and 35 knot winds) keeping Jacquie down and out of the water. At least she can say she’s lived (literally) through a cyclone!

What we thought was simply unseasonably bad weather turns out to be the earliest cyclone experienced in the area in at least 20 years, and has affected at least half of the 9 passengers on board, keeping Jacquie in good company! As with hurricanes, cyclones are named as well, and this one is Guba, which is the Papua New Guinean word for “Strong Wind”. Of course it could also have been named something like “Cyclone Obstinate” or “Cyclone Stubborn” as she has refused to budge, keeping us essentially trapped just off the south shore unable to make way toward the Eastern Fields. The Eastern Fields, an awesome dive area that is essentially at the northern end of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, lie 120 nautical miles from us to the south, and the storm has just hung there, day after day after day . . . .

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One of the dozens of lionfish so far!

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Can you find the Pygmy Seahorse? He's dead center, and in reality about 1 cm long!

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Luckily, I quickly found my sea-legs, and have had a chance to get into the water for about a dozen dives so far. The volume of life and diversity is amazing, albeit a bit muted with visibility down to 20-30 feet. Normally, it is around 100 feet or better, but we’ve only experienced that on one dive so far. Sharks, lionfish, scorpionfish, and puffers have all made regular appearances, as well as – for us - a number of new species: several pygmy seahorses, lacey lionfish (Rhinopius), a sea-snake, and a crocodile-fish.

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Of course, I saw most of the cool new stuff WITHOUT my camera, so you’ll have to wait until the next installment for any of those IF we see them again . . . and I really hope we do!
All in all, we’ve been able to keep relatively good spirits despite the lack of any sunshine. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for fair winds and more sun and hopefully report on an amazing ocean adventure! In the meantime, Jacquie is counting the minutes before she’s back permanently on solid ground in another 6 days…

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Posted by lloydthyen 03:59 Archived in Papua New Guinea Tagged round_the_world

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