New Guinea's Coral Sea — Story #2
By Carl Roessler
Return to Paradise!The Crest of Car's Ultimate Reef!

As I wrote in my earlier Story, THE WINNER -- and STILL CHAMPION!, some dive destinations are so powerful that (unless damaged by over-use) they can reign for decades.

A coral reef nourished by nutrient-bearing currents will repair itself continuously. If diving traffic occurs only twenty days or so each year, those fortunate enough to dive it will see what made international dive travel such an addictive phenomenon.

I have several personal favorites in various parts of the world, and, alas, have seen some achieve both popular success and subsequent decline. Among the most potent, enduring meccas I know is Carl's Ultimate Reef in New Guinea's Coral Sea.With great delight, I recently made yet another pilgrimage to this wonder and reassured myself that it is still unspoiled and unsullied. A Tartan Hawkfish on Goreonian Coral!

During the intervening year, Golden Dawn has opened new dive sites at both Eastern Fields and the nearby Portlock Reef complex. Nature, with her occasional contrariness, indulged in cloudy skies and brisk currents. The deck seemed stacked against us some days. "You should have been here last week" came up often enough to incite near-riot.

It may be hard for you to believe after that introduction, but the entire adventure was wonderful!!

Before you say, "Huh?" let me explain.

Shark FEEDING!!!

A BIG Silvertip is very curious!!!

These reefs are simply SO rich that in differing conditions you simply concentrate on different subjects. For example, with gray skies the first few days we left the colorful reefs such as Carl's Ultimate and cruised over to Portlock for some shark photography. After all, weren't gray sharks made for gray days? Silvertips were, too! A calm Cuttlefish poising!

I love places which are undamaged, undived, unfished and blessed with plentiful resident sharks. We used three different dive sites, each of which yielded striking portraits.The sharks patrolled, wheeled, soared, attacked baits with bullet speed, then resumed patrolling again as if none of it had ever occurred.

After three glorious, projectile-filled days we crossed back to Eastern Fields and anchored near Carl's. An approaching full moon made for steady but workable currents. We would drop into the water and drift onto the end the current was hitting, then let the moving water provide transportation to the far end. Huge colorful fans, massive coral heads, soft corals and crinoids erupted from the entire structure.Large Anemone at Carl's Ultimate Reef!The blue water around us churned with fusiliers, rainbow runners, bannerfish, jacks, barracuda , mackerel and tuna. If all that proved too much, one could always stop on the huge structure itself to stalk lionfish, giant pufferfish, crocodilefish, leaf scorpionfish and many other species.

If your last diving adventure didn't provide this kind of excitement, Carl's Ultimate Reef is still out there in it's distant, protective isolation. I'll keep going there periodically, just, ahem, to be sure that nobody has damaged it, that it remains for all time the crown jewel of reef diving. Won't you--join me?...

Loloata Island Resort before or after your dive cruise in Papua New Guinea.
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