The Rabaul area of the New Britain Provence of Papua New Guniea has some very good dive sites, some are as good as any I have dived.
One of the sites in this area that is done as a second dive is Wonder World. This is located on the northern shore of Ataliklikum Bay about 2.3 kilometres from Kabaira Resort. It is only a five minute run from the resort. The GPS location is S4Âș 12' 31.2" E151Âș 58' 41.9" using WGS84 as a datum.
|Paul Watkinson with a huge barrel sponge||Bright Chelidonura - Chelidonura electra|
After descending, the bottom here is flat and sandy/broken coral. You head south-west and soon the bottom slopes. Soon after starting the dive you will seen hundreds of garden eels bobbing around with their heads out of the sand. They are impossible to photograph close up, but you should be able to get a shot showing a lot of them.
Shortly after this you will see some small coral bommies and then some larger ones. There are some nice sponges, small gorgonias, a few barrel sponges and some anemones and clownfish. We also saw some with clear shrimp as well as dancing shrimp.
|A clownfish in an anemone||Two Serpent Pteraeolidia - Purple Dragon - Pteraeolidia ianthina|
By now you will have a reasonable current propelling you along. It is not too strong, but it needs to be taken into account. The reef here becomes a wall and the bottom drops off to just over 30 metres.
The reef runs south here and then turns a bit to the south-west. However, as the reef here is deepish, you need to head east or north-east to get away from this section of reef to a shallower part. Make sure that you do this before you get near decompression.
Once back on the main fringing reef you will see some large bommies off the wall. The top of the reef slopes down and is less than five metres so it is perfect for doing safety stops.
|Black-rayed Phyllidia - Phyllidia picta||Tula Phyllidia - Phyllidia tula|
Other things seen on this dive were small giant clams, eagle rays, lots of snapper and some octopus.
This is a good dive site, so close to the resort, yet with so much to see. However, you need to take care to not spend too much time on the deeper section of the reef before returning to the main wall. Visibility was 20 to 25 metres and temperature 19ÂșC.