Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea – The Heart of the Coral Triangle, The Soul of Biodiversity
It was the last dive of a two-week trip for us aboard two vessels--the Telita and Golden Dawn--in Papua New Guinea, but the beginning of a big filming mission for Howard and Michele Hall and the IMAX crew in Milne Bay. We were on our way to a shallow muck dive at Dinah's Beach (aka "Lauadi") and cruised by Peter Hughes' Star Dancer moored at nearby Deacon's Reef. I'd heard our itineraries would possibly coincide while in Milne Bay, but if going incognito was ever an intention of the IMAX crew, their monster 3D cinema housing being lifted over the side of the boat by crane was a dead giveaway. Rarely do I suffer camera-envy on a live-aboard, but if bigger is better, the IMAX team hold bragging rights over anyone in marine imaging!
They were on location to shoot Under the Sea 3D, which would involve five separate month-long expeditions: to Papua New Guinea (New Britain and Milne Bay), Australia's Great Barrier Reef, South Australia for great white sharks and weedy sea dragons, and a grand finale departing Komodo and cruising to Raja Ampat, Indonesia. We'll have to wait until spring of 2009 to see their finished production, but it was fun to at least chat on the marine radio with Howard and Michele and discover we would visit virtually the same dive sites. With the entire diving world to choose from, it was somehow reassuring that we had the consensual validation from the IMAX team that Milne Bay was indeed a marquee destination. Howard in particular was ecstatic with what he'd seen in his earlier scouting missions to PNG, and said that with biodiversity a primary theme of the film, this choice of destination was a natural.
Here is a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of Under the Sea 3D in Milne Bay.
© 2008 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Photos: Michele Hall.