In the local folklore of the inhabitants of Nusa and Nusalik Islands off Kavieng, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Numnumin is a legendary shark that lives in the seas around the islands. The shark is famed for rescuing members of the tribe who became lost at sea by directing them home, or carrying them to safety if their canoe sank.
Off the south-western corner of Nusalik Island is a dive site that has been named Numnumin Reef. This is only 1.22 kilometres in straight line from Nusa Resort and it is a five minute run in the dive boat. There is a mooring located at GPS2Âș 34' 54.0" E150Âș 46' 12.5" using WGS84 as a datum. The mooring is right on the edge of the reef wall and is in about eight metres.
|Kelly and a large gorgonia at Numnumin Reef
|One of the anemones at Numnumin Reef
Once you descend, drop over the wall to the west and then start heading north. The wall drops to about 18 metres and then very gradually slopes to a coral bottom at about 22 metres where it is sand. There are some gorgonias closer to the sand and the overhangs below the wall also have some. There are sea whips on the coral bottom.
This is a dive site that is not affected by current and one that you do not need to move far to see a huge amount of marine life. It is also the site where the dive operation takes you for a night dive. It is an excellent site as you will see.
|The two leaffish we saw at Numnumin Reef
|These are clownfish eggs - you can see
the eyes - they are the black dots
About 10 metres north from the mooring there is single an orange sea whip that has cowries living on it. These are coloured the same as the sea whip and very hard to find.the dive guide should be able to show you. All my photographs of these failed to come out as the camera kept focusing on the background.
About 20 metres further on are a few small coral outcrops. Around these live some leaf fish. I saw tow here, one a bit smaller than the other. There is also said to be another one here as well, but on two dives I did not see it.
|The larger of the two harlequin ghost pipefish
|This is the smaller of the two harlequin ghost pipefish
Less than 10 metres further on there are a couple of small sea whips. One of the promised species for this dive was that in amongst this lives a harlequin or ornate ghost pipefish. As I approached, my wife Kelly and I spotted it at the same time. It was about 125 mm long and hanging with its nose down. Beautiful!
I quickly took some photographs and moved on to the next thing to see. This is an electric clam. This amazing looking clam lives on the wall under a small overhang. I have put a short video of it on YouTube and added a link to it below. As you can see from the video, the electric clam has what appears to be flashes of lightning around the edges of its mantle (is this the correct term?). This is brilliant to watch and cannot really be shown in a photo.
|These wandering anemones were everywhere
at night at Numnumin Reef
Note the worm caught by the one on top left
|One of the wandering anemones on a gorgonia
From here you head back to the south. It is worth going back to the sea whips for another look at the ghost pipefish. When I did this, I found a small one about 50 mm long near the other larger one. This dive is getting even better.
After some more photographs, head south and go to the edge of the reef. You will probably see some sharks on the sand and even an eagle ray if you are lucky.
When doing this site as a night dive, have a look at the sea whips and gorgonias. All of them are covered in very beautiful wandering anemones. I have no idea where they are in the daylight as I never saw them at all. At night they cover all the sea whips and some of the gorgonias. They make very beautiful photographs.
Back near the mooring there are some large basket stars at night time. These have a shrimp living in them but I was never quick enough to get a photograph before they retreated. The basket stars are right near the mooring on the top of the reef, down on the coral bottom to the south of the mooring and a bit further along on the wall.
|This is a Willans chromodoris - Chromodoris willani
|Yellow commensal zoanthidsare all over the wall
On the night we dived here there were lots of worm-like creatures in the water. I have seen these before in Sydney on night dives, but only in very small numbers. Here they were all over the place.
These creatures come in many different species it seems. Some swim in a straight line while others cork-screw through the water. They are mostly red but some are other colours. I have attached another YouTube video to this page that shows the huge number that we saw while doing out safety stop. There were so many that I could not even see a metre. It was a bit creepy actually, they were hitting you all over your arms and face. I got bitten by some of them on my arm and one of our group had one lodge in his ear. Yuk!!!
Anyway, back to the dive. Continue to the south on the reef bottom. Due to the depth of the site and the fact that you will be doing this as the second (and sometimes third or fourth) dive of the day, you will only get about xx minutes on the bottom here assuming that you do not spend too much time on the sand edge.
|This very small spider crab was seen at night
|One of a number of very active
hermit crabs seen on the night dive
About 20 metres to the south of the mooring there is another fantastic fish to be seen. I forgot to look here on the dives I did, but others in our group found them. They are robust ghost pipefish. These are sort of similar to the harlequin ghost pipefish but the bodies look like leaves. There are hard to spot, especially as they seem to look like dead leaves floating on the bottom.
About here you will need to start ascending. You can go up to the top of the wall to about 10 metres or so. Here there are anemones which have clownfish and clear shrimp. There are also lots of nudibranchs and other interesting things to see.
Visibility at this site is normally 25 metres and the water temperature a great 29ÂșC. An excellent dive site, with so much to see within a very small area.