Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Barracuda Point, Pig Island, Madang
On my trip to Madang in Papua New Guinea in October 1996, I did a total of 22 dives over a period of nine days (the other three days of our trip were spent travelling and sightseeing). While eight of the dives were on planes and shipwrecks, the remaining 14 dives were reef dives. These ranged from monster 60 metre dives down almost vertical walls to a shallow reef with a maximum depth of 12 metres. The one main thing that all these dives had in common was that they were drift dives.
As I have indicated in the other articles relating to this trip, I was staying at Jais Aben Resort which is about 16 kilometres north of Madang township. Most of the diving from here is done straight out, only five or ten minutes run from the resort. The quad harbours of Madang, Nagada, Mililat and Sek are created by a series of islands and a coral reef that connects these islands like a piece of string. The islands from the south near Madang are Kranket, Paeowai (Leper), Masses, Pig (Tab) and further to the north, Wangat (or Wangad). All the diving is on the outside of these reefs and islands or on the passages into the harbours.
There are a number of dive sites around Pig Island.
One of the best dives you will ever do, Barracuda Point has it all. On my first trip to PNG I dived this site but had a pretty disastrous dive as the divemaster tried to dive the site by swimming into the ever present current and also decided to go to 60 metres on the second dive of the day. Thank heavens he is no longer there, so this time around we had three excellent dives here.
The dive can be down at any time, you just alter the direction of the drift according to the tide. This site does not have sheer vertical walls but it does drop away to much more than 80 metres. As indicated by the name of the site, this is an excellent place to see barracudas. On my four dives here I have seen barracudas (in fact, military seapike, a species of barracuda) each time. The schools of barracuda were quite large, up to 30 at a time. I have also seen a few sharks here, mostly blacktip reef and whitetip sharks. Other fish seen here include huge double-headed Maori wrasse, hump-headed parrotfish, large schools of batfish, mackeral and quite a few clown triggerfish.
Tike most of the other reefs, the top of the reef is between three and five metres. This means that you can spend a lot of time at the end of the dive in the shallows exploring. On some dives we spent 20 to 25 minutes doing "a safety stop".
The water temperature was in the range of 28Â° to 29Â°C. In the shallower sections the temperature was more than 30Â°C. The sea conditions were always millpond, with no sign of a wave. The water conditions were quite good, although the visibility in the shallower sections was not as good as we might have liked or imagined. Nevertheless, it was still better than the average Sydney visibility (which is normally pretty good anyway).