Text & Photograph by Michele Westmorland
The seas are calm this morning in Bootless Bay, just off the capital city, Port Moresby. I swim across a gully, then the conical-shaped pinnacle materializes. With its sea fans and soft corals in every shade of pink, yellow and red draping it, this bommie looks like a decorated Christmas tree.
I circle around its base, at 100 feet. Moray eels peer out of their dens and clownfish dart in and out of a bright red anemone.
But the bommie's crowning glory is at 45 feet. A swarming school of oriental sweetlips hug its flattened top. They're protecting themselves from trevally and barracuda that emerge from the blue, hunting for a meal.
"It's easy to spend a great deal of time here just watching the action. It just doesn't stop. Small fish are also hunting, feeding and just observing everything else around them."
The best diving in Bootless Bay is now through early December, with calm seas and clear visibility. It's only a short boat ride away from PNG's capital city, Port Moresby (POM). There are no nonstop flights there from the U.S., but from Los Angeles, you can reach Port Moresby in a little over 20 hours. Fly Qantas nonstop to Brisbane (BNE), then hop a flight on Air Niugini, to Port Moresby. Round-trip fare is about $2,400. The Peter Hughes live-aboards Star Dancer and FeBrina offer PNG itineraries (peterhughes.com). The Loloata Island Resort--a 15-minute courtesy van ride from Port Moresby, followed by a 10-minute ferry trip--is only three nautical miles from Suzie's (loloata.com).