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Dive Review of FeBrina in
Papua New Guinea/Kimbe Bay, Witu, Fathers Reef

FeBrina: "Widespread Dead and Dying Reef", Oct, 2018,

by David Marchese, PA, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 20 reports with 27 Helpful votes). Report 10598 has 9 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments In general, the reefs were devastated and there were very few fish (big schools of barracuda being the exception). It was shocking to see dead reef after dead reef after reading rave reviews in Undercurrent from just a few months ago. The crew said that most of the die-off occurred in the last couple of months. Most reefs were 50% - 75% dead (some were 90% dead - one was "only" 25% dead). What was alive was all one color - brown (mostly stag horn). There are virtually no soft corals left. We literally saw only a handful of pieces and they looked stressed. An exception was black coral. That seemed to be healthy and there were large clumps of it in red and green. Sponges and anemones were healthy. Sea fans were stressed and not nearly as plentiful or as colorful as I remember.

The general lack of fish was also shocking. There were some large schools of anthias in the shallows, several big schools of barracuda, and a couple large schools of spade fish, but nothing exotic and low fish density in general. Even the usually ubiquitous critters were absent. We saw one eagle ray in a quick fly-by, but that was the only ray of any type that we saw. There wasn't even a blue-spot ray! We saw one or two sharks, and even the shark feed only drew in two silvertips. There are two "trained" turtles that hang out on two dive sites waiting to be fed, but those are the only turtles that we saw. We saw two octopus and not one cuttlefish. Even eels were in short supply. We saw two ribbon eels and one or two morays. The nudibrancs were scarce too, and those that we did see were generally the common variety and were quite small. The guides worked very hard on the muck dives (and in general), but they generally turned up critters so small that they were specs to the naked eye. Non-photographers saw next to nothing on the muck dives.

We did 4 - 5 dives/day (all that were offered) so I'm confident that we saw all that was to be seen. Many dives were honestly depressing from looking at the expanse of dead coral and lack of fish. Not one dive was what I'd call world class. I know this is hard to believe, and I wish it were not the case. I was reluctant to write this, but this is the purpose of Undercurrent. Don't shoot the messenger.
Websites FeBrina   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Caymans, Turks & Caicos, Bay Islands, Bahamas, Fiji, Saba, Maldives, California, Revillagigedo, Cozumel, Midway, Kona, Galapagos, Panama, Palau, Tahiti, Cocos, Malpelo, Tonga, PNG, Komodo, Sulawesi, Holbox, Solomon Islands, Belize, Komodo, Raja Ampat, Wakitobi, Alor, Marquesas, GBR
Closest Airport Hoskins Getting There Via Port Moresby

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy Seas calm
Water Temp 85-86°F / 29-30°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40-60 Ft/ 12-18 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 60 minutes/dive
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 2 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 2 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments The boat is set up very well for photographers; however, on many dives, there was nothing to shoot and there was a lot of suspended particles in the water on every dive. Some sites had only one or two live coral heads, and there was a line of photographers waiting to shoot the only thing photogenic!
Was this report helpful to you?
Report currently has 9 Helpful votes

Subscriber's Comments

By Karl W Sherman in TX, US at Nov 04, 2018 16:55 EST  
Thanks for the honest report, I'd much rather hear/read truthful facts than plan trips based on travel agent/dive resort propaganda.
By Ellen Marie Smith in MN, US at Jan 16, 2019 18:49 EST  
I'm saddened to learn that the reefs are not in good condition. :(
By Ellen Marie Smith in MN, US at Jan 16, 2019 18:49 EST  
I'm saddened to learn that the reefs are not in good condition. :(
By Trevor Chomik in BC, CA at Jan 19, 2019 21:22 EST  
Wow, this is very surprising as there is so much positive hype about Kimbe Bay, Witu, and Fathers reef diving. I was thinking of a trip October 2019, but will have to reevaluate. I did Raja Ampat/ Misool in 2013, and was thinking this would be as good or better. Doesn't seem so. What month was your trip?
By Joe Lorincz in Mittagong , AU at Apr 26, 2019 21:34 EST  
Iím very sorry to report that we have had the exact same experience last year (2018) on two separate trips to the Taveuni area in the Fiji Islands where the coral was devastated at almost every dive site and the lack of fishlife was beyond comprehension. I first dived this area some 36 years or so ago ... the corals were magnificent, the water teeming with every possible form of sea life. The change over these years is extremely concerning and extremely depressing. I agree with David Marchese, it is hard to write this but the facts are the facts.
By report author: David Marchese in PA, US at Apr 29, 2019 09:32 EST  
I keep looking at UC and elsewhere to see if there are any more current reviews of the Kimbe Bay area of PNG, but I have not seen one. There is an UC review from January 2019 that says Fiji has the most pristine reefs the reviewer has seen in 40 years of diving, yet Joe Lorinczin had a very different experience, so the conditions seem to vary dramatically. Perhaps there are pockets of healthy reefs in Kimbe Bay and the Febrina has to find them and change her itinerary...but their "classic" itinerary is a rubble heap now...
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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