PAPUA NEW GUINEATabalagoal PassageThe Conflict Islands, Papua New Guinea, is an amazing place. Listed as a Hope Spot in 2020 by Mission Blue, it is made up of 21 islands with an abundance of incredible dive sites. One of the most interesting is Tabalagoal Passage, which sits a short boat ride away from the main island of Panasesa. “ Due to the reliability of shark sightings at this site, it could be dived every day for those eager for shark encounters, and occasional visits from manta rays, eagle rays and turtles make this a site worthy of several dives The site consists of a deep channel between two islands, with long coral formations interspersed with strips of white sand running parallel with the channel.

This site is known for large groups of reef sharks, schooling big-eye trevally and chevron barracuda prowling at either end of the channel, where the sand slopes away into the abyss. Due to the reliability of shark sightings at this site, it could be dived every day for those eager for shark encounters, and occasional visits from manta rays, eagle rays and turtles make this a site worthy of several dives. Peter Blatch, who visited in November 2021, said: “Entering the water on the outer slope of the channel, we descend through clear blue water to a sandy slope at a depth of 30m to sit in anticipation of what may greet us.

“Like a premonition appearing out of the gloom, a veritable wall of over 15 curious reef sharks appears, stalking back and forth in a calm yet mischievous manner, as their friends glide in from behind us to keep us on our toes. Above them and blotting out the sun like an eclipse is a large school of chevron barracuda and bigeye trevally who have arrived to see what all the fuss is about.

“The ducking and weaving sharks along with the cyclonic display of the barracuda and trevally make for an unforgettable viewing experience and will leave photographers with scant time to catch all the action due to the endlessly available subjects.

“Leaving this pelagic splendour, we ascend slowly along the coral spurs with the curious barracuda in pursuit, passing large gorgonian fans, barrel sponges and a dizzying array of reef fish swarming the hard and soft corals.

With the current now picking up we ascend to our safety stop just above the top of the coral spurs, and drift effortlessly along while enjoying the spectacle of this truly amazing dive site.”

Who to dive with
Conflict Islands Resort
www.conflictislands.com
Did you know?The islands are located in the Coral Sea, Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea, 80 miles due East of Alotau. The area is recognised for its exceptional beauty and marine biodiversity, one of the last remaining unspoilt and untouched regions.Essential informationLocation: The Conflict Islands, Papua New Guinea
Depth: Max of 30m
Diver level: Advanced