If Carlsberg did……. Without a doubt, one of the best advertising slogans ever (not a bad drop too) and nothing seems more appropriate than to poach it in my attempt try to explain the beauty of the waters and dive sites available on Tufi’s doorstep. Yes, I have indeed landed on my feet working in this location.
As divers we all dream of that destination abundant with fish, beautiful multi-colored corals, smooth gradients disappearing into the blue abyss, wall dives giving the impression that you are a mere speck of dust passing by, bathtub-like temperatures, infinite visibility, purity and clarity only found in the Vatican’s font.
I’m amazed that until last year when this position opened that I had not heard of the destination before. If you are like me and drool over social media coverage of photos and articles showing all of the above and close-ups of various species dwelling beneath the surface then you need to put Tufi on your ‘Go To List.’
Tufi has 37 dive sites (so far), of which I have dived 35 just in the last month, each one as beautiful as the next. I can recall diving a few days ago and thinking mid-dive “Humph, is that it” it’s only upon surfacing did I recall the dive and realise that I’d mentally scoffed at a dive site that is easily world-class in every sense of the meaning and far better than any other location I have dived before. I had in fact been spoiled by the previous dive with White Hammerheads, Black Tip, White Tip & Grey Reef Sharks. A gazillion different species of fish all in one dive site and here I was, getting all snobby!
Every dive seems to deliver something special, a honking great big shark, a school of fish in their thousands flying around in unison, a multitude of colors of hard and soft corals, the macro within it, Nudibrancs, Flasher scorpion fish, Porcelain crabs, species that aren’t even in the reference books!!
So why is it that I’ve never seen another dive boat (bearing in mind that our reefs extend 12 Nautical miles offshore) on ANY of the dive sites? Quite simply, Tufi is the only dive resort for miles around.
Why am I not over-run with a constant flock of customers hammering at the door eager to experience these waters?
A number of factors come to mind;
1. The cost – OK, so its expensive, but put a little perspective on it. Remote locations cost money, Tufi resort is so relaxing and comfortable, perfectly situated on top of one of the fingers of land beside a Fjord. With unimaginable dive sites and sharing it with no other divers than those that choose to visit Tufi. A number of the dive sites I hit last week had not been dived in over 3 years!!
2. The journey – Buy sleeping pills, a hoody with an inflatable hood, a ridiculous looking neck roll & a good battery charger for your movie watching. To get the best, you need to travel, it’s SO worth it!
3. PNG is dangerous – As I arrived in PNG I had loads of witty comments on social media warning me to watch out for the cannibals, the head hunters, the rascals. Quite honestly it made a refreshing change to my previous 4 years of “Watch out for those lady boys” when I lived in Thailand. In all seriousness, I’m not going to attempt to say Port Moresby (the capital) is safe, it’s not; But just like other cities & locations around the world as long as you are careful and follow advice then you have no issues.
Port Moresby is Tufi’s equivalent of Bangkok to Koh Tao, no-one hangs around on the way through, and as for cannibals/ head hunters……that’s the media creating a story from the 1960’s to sell a headline, my dive team turn their noses up at burgers so they’re hardly going to find you a tasty morsel! get with the program folks, just because it’s a remote location doesn’t mean it is last century.
4. The unaware – The Maldives, an exceptional location that everybody knows & if they can afford it, flock too for that dream escape. So whats the difference between the Maldives & Papua New Guinea? Very few people have even contemplated a vacation in PNG and the probable answer is that it’s not as common a holiday destination. My advice is simple; if you are contemplating a vacation that is away from the masses, stunningly beautiful above and beneath the surface & you’re after a timeline full of envy-laden photographs then be different and visit Tufi.
Back to the diving, it is extremely hard to put into words the perfection of the reefs here, every day I read publications from the dive industry promoting the reduction of waste, the protection of the reefs & wrecks, the importance of a particular species and ultimately mans impact in this watery world. I hardheartedly support these ethics & have been involved in such projects whilst in Koh Tao, Thailand (Big Blue Conservation, Get Involved to name just a few). A similarity throughout all of these publications, is an attempt to restore reefs to their former glory and clean up mans mess. This excites me somewhat because Tufi does not need restoration, unless we have divers at Tufi, or the Team and I are out exploring the uncharted areas NO-ONE DIVES THE REEFS, they are pristine, jam-packed with aquatic life, how it should be and how it will remain.
As a side note please do not expect to dive our reefs and be allowed to destroy it with poor buoyancy control or grasping onto corals/wrecks just for a poxy photograph (I’ll improve your buoyancy for free if you like, it’ll be my pleasure). Having received my first ever negative review as a dive pro recently, I feel compelled to ask that you leave your egos at home if you are the type of individual that thinks he’s a diving god. Tufi may be remote but it will not be an excuse for any lack of care for the sites that we visit or indeed the safety of the diving group. The modern-day diver is taught about conservation and preservation throughout all levels of training and this is certainly a part of the sport which deserves the up most support and respect. Leave the over-embellished ego’s at home, it’ll only weigh you down like excess baggage at the airport. Love the sport? Then love the setting and leave it as you found it for others to enjoy too.
In addition to having the perfect location you also have the perfect opportunity to expand on your diving knowledge. Having small groups and uninterrupted dive sites offers you my undivided attention to assist in the growth of your skills and understanding. For example, last week I dived with a group of 4, one of whom was concerned with ear issues on descent, buoyancy and hoovering through his air like a Dyson in a saw mill. His maximum bottom time to date was 38 minutes. After sorting out the descent, trim and correcting the extreme over-weighting, Gerry extended his bottom time to 73 minutes, with a perfect trim position and no ear issues whatsoever (To read more about buoyancy see A Fundamental Flaw in Scuba Diver Training). It’s how we are taught and how we apply these skills that improve our diving and what did it cost Gerry to achieve this? Nothing whatsoever, this was free advice that I will happily give to any of our customers, my reward is seeing their success.
Since my camera has given up the ghost I have been poaching photographs from customers, borrowing cameras all in an effort to try to display and explain why Tufi is a divers dream. The photos I have used in this blog (albeit absolutely stunning) really cannot reflect the true experience of the naked eye.
A HUGE thank you from the Tufi Team to Matt Krumins Photography for these absolutely stunning photos. Learn more about Matt and what he has to offer at Matt’s Webpage or you can follow him on Instagram @mattkruminsphotography
If you’d like to know more about Tufi then please use the links below & stay tuned for more blogs on diving plus the plethora of activities available here: