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    THE CORAL SEA
    Solomon Islands, Papua
    New Guinea, Great Barrier Reef

    To historians, the mention of the Coral Sea conjures up images of the numerous, horrific battles of World War II. To marine biologists, the Coral Sea is synonymous with the concept of bio-diversity, and to traveling scuba divers, the region is everything one could hope for. There are primitive cultures, stunning landscapes and unlimited underwater exploration in the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, which borders the western edge of the Coral Sea.

    The dive sites associated with the 992 islands that make up the Solomon Islands can be explored via live-aboard or from shore-based resorts in Munda and Gizo. Color abounds, as soft corals, sea fans and crinoids galore adorn almost every reef. Face the walls to discover everything from inch-long rainbow colored nudibranchs to endemic tropical fishes. Look up, and you can see a Gray Reef Shark or Silvertip cruising nearby. Turn away and face the blue, and you enjoy a parade of pelagics.

    If you want primitive, wild and pristine, dive Papua New Guinea. A trip to the highlands in the nation’s interior is a look back in time at extraordinary cultures and traditional ways of life. Neptune’s realm offers the world of bizarre creatures: muck diving in Milne Bay off the island of New Britain, high voltage encounters with Silvertip Sharks at Kavieng, and exquisite reefs in Madaang, at Walindi, Hoskins and Raboul.

    Stretching 1,250 miles long and as many as 150 miles wide in some places, and so large that it can be seen from space, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is home to more than 2,000 species of fishes and 4,000 types of invertebrates. From shallow reefs to sheer walls, from Manta Rays, turtles and sharks to Cod Hole at Ribbon Reef number 10 to the variety of Heron Island, the Great Barrier Reef offers color, adventure, beauty and intrigue.

     

    Dive Resorts and Operators
    Kangaroo Island Dive Safaris ozdive.com or
    www.kidivingsafaris.com
    Mike Ball Dive Expeditions www.mikeball.com
    Continental Airlines Vacations www.coolvacations.com
    Niugini Diving www.niuginidiving.com