There is no better way to see Papua New Guinea than by sea on board the luxurious Ultimate One. An exciting family adventure from Rabaul to Kimbe, exploring the very best of the New Britain coastline.
It was a beautiful morning in Kokopo Bay with banana boats doing their daily runs and the infamous Mt Tuvurvur smoking peacefully behind. This trip was unlike the usual fishing trips Baia Sportfishing operates and instead we ventured on an East to West Coast expedition for a family, exploring the very best of the New Britain Island. Baia Sportfishing has been operating for over 15 years and recently introduced a luxurious Motor Yacht called the Ultimate One. Designed and built in New Zealand, the Ultimate One accommodates 6 guests and boasts 72ft of pure luxury with 3 levels , 4 rooms, en suite, air conditioning, fully crewed staff and of course equipped with a game fishing chair and outriggers for those keen anglers. Another 7.6m tender was also towed behind the vessel for fishing, snorkelling and transfers to islands. Owner Riccard Reimann looked forward to this trip as he knew the places we were about to visit are extremely unexplored and untouched by the outside world and he wasn’t wrong about that.
The guests boarded the Ultimate One with excitement after spending a few days in Kokopo exploring the war history. Not knowing what to expect for the week, they sit back and allow the captain to take off into the blue horizon towards the Duke of York Islands. The resident dolphins raced the wave piercers at the bow of the boat and pilot whales gracefully and unafraid swam on by. We arrived into the harbor of stunning Mioko Island on Independence Day, welcomed by local children in PNG coloured clothing. The Island glowed as porcelain white sand contrasted against the turquoise water. The local ladies of the Mama Shell group displayed their array of exotic shells which became a nice souvenir to take home. The rest of the afternoon was spent jumping of trees and snorkelling until the sky went warm against the silhouette of the extinct volcano craters.
After breakfast it was farewell to the locals and off to the volcanic islands of the Bainings. Without exaggeration, the ocean was as flat as a mirror with hundreds of flying fish scattering out like mini missiles from the path of the boat. The bow was the perfect spot for guests to enjoy the morning sun and say farewell to the DOY Islands. The Bainings truly is an untouched paradise, islands consist of limestone rocks with white coral sand on sides. As we approached, hundreds of pterodactyl-like birds known as Frigate Birds set flight off the trees and circled above the boat like vultures seamlessly intertwining their flight without bumping into each other.
The afternoon was spent snorkelling and sipping a few beers and coconuts from a sand cay. Before we knew it, another wonderful day ended and sky split into light and dark hues. Silhouette of clouds appeared like islands sinking beneath the golden horizon and a pod of dolphins blessed us with their company along the bows once more and jumped with sheer delight. A memory the guests will hold in their minds forever.
It was an overnight steam to Baia Sportfishing Lodge which is situated on the boarder of the east and West New Britain coast. A hidden corner of the world where anglers can catch the mighty Black Bass and magnificent Spottail Bass.
Woken up by a glorious sunrise and the sound of the morning birds, guests enjoy a paddle and snorkel and little exploration of the lodge. The U1 was then re-positioned to the front of the pristine Pandi River, home to some of the biggest Spottails in the world. Beside the Pandi resides the infamous Mt Ulawun Volcano, the tallest volcano in PNG standing 2334m high. Despite the category 5 volcano eruptions in June which showered the land with ash and sprayed lava kilometers into the sky, Ulawun was finally breathing at peace…..for now. The sun descended and the stars popped with a sparkle into the dark sky. The silhouette of Ulawun against the sparkly sky was a scene like no other.
The Pandi and Langa Langa Rivers were the anticipated tours for the day. Guests board the 7.6m tender and were guided into the Pandi River for a fish and swim. After catching a few fighting Black Bass, they made their way up stream to jump into the cool waters surrounded by lush jungle and hornbills, eclectus parrots flying above.
1000 year old fossilized coral from the mountains that were washed over many years made their way to the mouth and brain corals, clams and even a World War 2 bomb was found lying in the shallows.
The river systems at Baia vary in shape, colour, size and flora. Lined along the banks are hundreds of nypa palms, splaying out like gigantic green pompoms. Nypas in the foreground foreshadowed by steaming Ulawun volcano sure was a highlight for the trip.
The last day was bound to come but the adventure didn’t stop there. Only 2 hours from Kimbe Town, the islands in Tarobi were the perfect exploration and snorkelling destination. Despite the islets size, it boasted with life, from 100 year old fig trees drooping their 50m roots, frogs, lizards, giant hermit crabs and exotic birds. Additionally, a wide colour spectrum of hard, soft corals were apparent and descried as the best snorkelling they have experienced.
The end of the East to West Coast expedition was closing in as we set sail to Kimbe town, our final destination. Guests reluctantly said goodbye to catch the early morning flight and the closing to an epic adventure was completed with the rising sun.
The Ultimate One is a fantastic way to explore the best of the Niugini Islands. Whether you enjoy, fishing, diving, culture, exploration or seeking to experience new landscapes, Baia Sportfishing PNG can tailor make your adventure of a lifetime.
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