Newsletter Issue 01

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Wreck of the MV Apel

A year is never complete without finding a new dive site or wreck. Some wrecks are historical, others purposefully sunk and others happen because of the weather, as is the case with this new wreck, the MV Apel, a Tug boat, sank on the West Coast, dived early September.

Check out the Gallery for more pics of this new wreck

On the 6th of August this year The Apel towing a barge from Kulube Bay to Kavieng got into trouble in rough seas and strong winds. Struggling against the weather the crew was forced to cut free the barge for fear it would sink them. When the engine failed the strong South Easters pushed them towards shore where they washed up on the reef top at Laefu Village. On the low tide it came to rest right on the edge of the drop off. Apparently it didn’t take long to take in water and sink off the edge of the wall. Those that have dived the West Coast know this is a pretty precipitous drop off in this area.

When the disaster office asked us if we could try identify and photograph this wreck so the landowners could institute compensation claims against the owners we were pretty sceptical it would be in a depth we could dive. Sure there would be traces of the sinking and the villagers knew exactly where it happened. The easiest way to get there was by vehicle, so we planned to do a shore entry dive. Having done other cave exploration and some shore dives on this coast before we knew the site would be easily accessible from the West Coast Road.

This area is very remote ,its a fantastic drive across to the west coast over the fungalawa junction which joins the East and West Coast of New Ireland. The drive over the junction and elevation of a few hundred metres gives one the most amazing view of the Pacific East Coast side of New ireland and the Tabar islands in the distance. In itself worth the drive.

When we got to Laefu village we were met by Daniel the local pastor who offered to show us where the boat sank. It was morning and low tide so we could walk out to the drop off where he found a thick blue rope still lying on the reef top which he said he believed was still tied to the wreck. This was pretty exciting, Dorian had his camera all set up . Standing knee deep we could literally just step off the edge of this wall into blue water located the rope and followed it down. The water was pretty clear as we descended following the rope from about 20m we could see the wreck sitting below right on a ledge at 50m with its bows just over the drop off. It looked pretty stable, well enough for us to fin around it and take some photos. With its precarious position we certainly weren’t came to go too close. Its quite something finding a wreck like that on the edge of a drop off. Not much life around but sure it won’t be long before fish in the area make this home.

The Apel, another dive site to add to the amazing variety of Dive we have available in Kavieng. Certainly different , for those deep diving qualified a days trip to the West Coast and a dive on this wreck is certainly worth the trip. The Elevation is close to 280m so we made sure we had a long surface interval before heading back to Kavieng along the new road built for Poliamba Palm oil. There is so much to see and do in this area we explored the beach and some of the caves along the coast, enjoyed meeting the Laefu community and all the kids. Think the whole village came to see what we were up to, not sure if school attendance was very good that day.

Check out Dorians pictures of this wreck at the Gallery on

This months Favourite Dive

Echuca Patch .. what fantastic dives we have been having at this site. The vis has been great, bright soft corals are on display on the wreck, Eagle Rays are seen almost every dive and best of all has been the huge school of Friendly Barracuda. They circled above us as we moved up the ridge on a recent dive. It was as if the divers were wearing a huge halo of Barracuda the entire dive. Let alone all the Dog Tooth Tuna and Trevally that were on a hunting mission. This really has been a fish soup dive, Echuca Patch back to its best.

Malagan Show

The Malagan Show was successfully revived in July , planned to be staged again next year, dates still to be finalised. The new venue of the Kavieng Police Oval saw a huge crowd attendance from town. Cultural groups from all parts of New Ireland Province participated at their best , show casing the rich and diverse cultures of this region The very secretive culture of the Tumbuans from South New Ireland featured on both days, a highlight of the show. The Dukduk from Panafau village were just as entertaining. A highlight on the second day was the Shark callers group from Tembin that performed a shark calling ritual. The Malagan group from Liba as well as the other groups in the Malagan tradition showcased the unique Malagan culture. The Nusa Island Womans group , Kuleptaina, in their swaying basket was quite original.

In keeping with the theme of this years show “walking the past together to the future” all the groups did themselves proud. Please take a look at the Gallery for pictures taken by Dorian at the show

We are all looking forward to next years show, ( date still to be finalised)

The staging of this event has brought Cultural group together which has given more opportunity to organise sing sings for visiting tourists. Nusa Island Retreat hosted a cultural group on independence weekend. The Wigam group also performed at the Malagan Resort for visiting tourists and the Bagail community had a fundraiser for their school in which a group from Lavongai entertained. The Aqua Action Dive group were lucky enough to attend this show.

Dive Groups

A number of Dive Groups from NSW, Victoria, ACT and the Port Moresby Sub Aqua Club dived with us this year. Dorian captured classic Kavieng moments for each of the groups and Cara compiled a DVD slide show which was shown at Nusa on their last night. Thank you all for your continued support. A number of shops have already booked their trips for next year. Please contact your preferred Dive Travel Agent for details of the Dive Shop Group Promotional offer with Nusa Island Retreat for 2007.

Congratulation to Linda Coleman of Aqua Action on logging her 600th dive. We first met Linda in Gizo in 1999 when she did her qualifying dives at Kennedy Island. This year was her third trip to Kavieng, 600th dive, congrats Linda. Its been a pleasure diving with you these last few years and sure we will get to do more dives together.

Nusa Adds bathrooms to overwater bungalows, Builds new longhouse

Nusa Island Retreat has completed the adjoining bathroom units for their 2 increasingly popular over the water bungalows. A new long house style bungalow has also been built to replace Bungalow one. This new unit has a huge elevated veranda and spacious room which can accommodate 6 for those willing to share. The bathroom for this bungalow will be complete May 2007.

Visit our new website and win a weeks accommodation for 2 with meals + 2 X 10 dive package at Nusa Island Retreat

The New Ireland Tourism Bureau has produced a fantastic new promotional DVD with amazing footage from all parts of the Province. If you would like a copy please contact us.

The New Ireland Tourism Bureau Website is due to be launched on the 27th November.

The Seahorse diversity, distribution and trade in Papua New Guinea research project conducted by the Motupore Island Research Centre, University of PNG and Project Seahorse.

We are participating in this project by asking all divers to keep a record of seahorse sighting on dives. Photographs can also be sent to the project coordinator. A seahorses of PNG photo competition is also been run. The competition started 16th October 2006 and ends April 15th 2007. Photographs must have been taken after January 1 2004 and must have been photographed in PNG waters.

The first prize is a weekend for 2 at Loloata Island Resort with 1 days diving.

Please contact us for more details about this competition.