New Britain Diving… This wide, crescent-shaped island is the largest of Papua New Guinea’s many islands. Roughly the same size as Taiwan, New Britain has a population of just under 500,000 people. Which compared to Taiwan’s 24m means that much of the island is uninhabited.
And the main reason for that low population density are the incredible mountain ranges that run down the spine of island. So high are most of them (red and white) that they effectively isolate the north coast from the south.
Meaning that most of the population live in coastal (green) areas. With the majority concentrated around Kokopo, the capital of East New Britain Province, nearby Rabaul and Kimbe, the capital of West New Britain.
New Britain Diving – Biodiversity
As they say in the real estate business: location, location, location… And, from a biodiversity perspective, New Britain has one of the best! Physically it sits just south of the equator and to the east of PNG’s “mainland” – the eastern half of New Guinea island.
That location puts it at the epicenter of the eastern half of the Coral Triangle – the richest known area of marine biodiversity in the world! Uniquely though, New Britain is exposed to both the Indonesian Throughflow, as it flows down the north-east coast of New Guinea into the Bismarck Sea and the Southern Equatorial Current as it approaches from the Solomon Sea.
As those currents approach the south coast of New Britain, upwellings are created that suck up the nitrogen and phosphorous laden detritus from the deep basins of the Solomon Sea. And those rich nutrients are transported up the south coast and through the Vitiaz Strait and St Georges Channel in to the Bismarck Sea.
Papua New Guinea’s incredible marine biodiversity is well documented. Less well known though is the intensity of that biodiversity around the island of New Britain. All of which makes for some phenomenal diving!
Kimbe Bay is mainly day-diving from Walindi dive resort and there are some excellent seamounts and numerous beautiful reefs to experience. The resort’s two liveaboard MV Oceania and MV Febrina start and end many of their trips diving those reefs and seamounts.
Both liveaboards also cover the Witu Islands and the Father’s Reefs at various times of the year. There is no other way to dive both locations as day diving is not an option…
Rabaul is the former capital of East New Britain province. But it has largely been eclipsed now by Kokopo after the devastating eruptions of the Tavurvur and Vulcan volcanoes in September 1994. Day diving is conducted from Kokopo by both Rabaul-Kokopo Dive and Rabaul Dive Adventures. Plus both Oceania and Febrina cover the area.
Currently the only way to dive the south coast is with Febrina…
New Britain Logistics