"Giant puffs of stark white cumulus cloud roll down the Astrolabe range and billow out their `moody' transitions into a sky of infinite blue.
Burning sunsets light up the entire scene, from horizon to horizon; the tides ebb and flow; the seasons come and go and the coconut palm fronds rustle in the breezes echoing with tunes as ancient as life itself…and in the midst of this, in a bay called `Bootless', lies an island – a very special island, called Loloata."
Loloata Island Resort offers a range of fully mosquito proof accommodation, from waterside bungalows with ceiling fans, double bed and single bed and on -suite bathroom, to fully air conditioned self contained units nestled in amongst the hillside. ( photo: Neville Coleman)
Our discoveries at Loloata Island by scuba diving, snorkeling and underwater photography include ghost pipefish, new commensal shrimps, new nudibranchs, short-nosed dragon fish, new crabs, hundreds of new records of sea stars, sea urchins, molluscs, ascidians and fish, including a new deep water grubfish, and pygmy seahorses living on sea fans.
We witnessed mating squid, mass nocturnal egg laying of spiny murex shells, coral spawning, ejaculating sea stars, previously unknown commensal associations, territorial displays, prey and predator action, courting behaviour and relationships, and discovered unbelievable animals.
We found plants that mimic coral, fish which mimic flatworms, and cosmic camouflages so bizarre, that believing the seeing, was at times, verging on the edge of bewilderment.
In traditional Motu language, the island's name is made up from two words, "Loloa" meaning hill,
and "Ta" meaning one. Loloata is indeed, a one-hill island. Grassy hills crowned with smatterings of tortured trees, casually positioned houses and sea shore villages, surrounded by mangrove-fringed shorelines, hardly warrant a second glance. Yet, to those adventurers who seek its secrets, the awesome magnitude of Bootless Bay's underwater wilderness never ceases to amaze. Just a few metres below the shimmering surface lies a kaleidoscopic extravaganza so magnificent, that at times it defies description.
The Diving Service
"I have worked from these dive boats now for many years and found their performance excellent! Even better with the new engines recently fitted. (2008)" ( photo: Neville Coleman)
With splendid diver-designed 'Reefmaster' dive boats built in Brisbane, experienced skippers, excellent dive masters and guides, together with a new dive shop and new equipment, the service is second to none.
The "Dive Loloata" vessels have hot water showers on board and all camera equipment is washed immediately following a dive and stored under the seats, out of the traffic area.
Dive equipment is individually set up for each dive by the divemaster. At the end of the day all equipment is stripped from tanks, taken back to the island (under full security), washed and hung up to dry, ready for the next day's dive.
Discovered to live at Horseshoe Reef in Bootless Bay in the early 1980's, at least 5 colour variations of the Lacy Scorpionfish Rhinopias frondosa have been inhabiting the reefs off Loloata Island for a long time and many of these can still be seen at various locations.( photo: Neville Coleman)
From a natural science point of view, Bootless Bay is a paradise. An eco-system which contains just about every major habitat, from mangroves, to sea grass meadows, sand banks, slopes and soft bottom.
There are rocky reefs, rubble banks, coral reefs, slopes and drop-offs, shallow water, deep water and oceanic water. Within these major habitats and micro- habitats live an amazing array of the most beautiful, bizarre and bewitching marine creatures.
Bargibant's Pygmy Sea Horse Hippocampus bargibanti are known to live on gorgonians at some of the dive sites at Loloata Island reefs. In general those specimens at Bootless Bay are larger than those seen at other dive areas of the Indo- Pacific. ( photo: Neville Coleman)
The rainforests of Papua New Guinea (eg. Varirata National Park, Port Moresby) support an extravaganza of beautiful creatures. The birds, insects, flowers and frogs of Papua New Guinea have enthralled millions, just as the traditional displays, dances and handicrafts of the people have.
Bootless Bay Photographic Fauna Survey
Even as my experience and knowledge has increased a thousand-fold and I have dived many parts of the world, taken thousands more photographs and discovered hundreds of new species, I was just as enthralled on my 1996-2007 dives at sites like End Bommie and Lion Island, as I had been in the pioneering days of the 1980's. The diving is magnificent.
Yet for all the work and endeavours, over 300 hours underwater, the 8000+ photographs, the 1500 species so far listed on the fauna survey and the hundreds of hours spent cataloguing and identifying pictures and species, one thing remains clear, the Bootless Bay area with its myriad habitats and diversity has one of the richest marine macro-faunas to be found anywhere.
This pregnant female Ornate Ghostpipefish Solenostomus ornatus was discovered living with her smaller mate amongst black coral beneath the stern of the "New Marine " wreck ( photo: Neville Coleman)
Our discoveries included ghost pipefish, new commensal shrimps, new nudibranchs, short-nosed dragon fish, new crabs, hundreds of new records of sea stars, sea urchins, molluscs, ascidians and fish, including a new deep water grubfish, and pygmy seahorses living on sea fans.
We witnessed mating squid, mass nocturnal egg laying of spiny murex shells, coral spawning, ejaculating sea stars, previously unknown commensal associations, territorial displays, prey and predator action, courting behaviour and relationships, and discovered unbelievable animals. We found plants that mimic coral, fish which mimic flatworms, and cosmic camouflages so bizarre, that believing the seeing, was at times, verging on the edge of bewilderment.
Discover loloata Island DVD
Neville Coleman's diving expeditions, fauna surveys, photographic fauna surveys and marine life identification courses include every major group of marine life.
Neville Coleman's expertise in marine life identification extends to the identification of Algae, Sea Grass, Forams, Sponges, Stony Corals, Soft Corals, Sea Anemones, Sea Jellies, Zoanthids, Corallimorphs, Black Corals, Flatworms, Segmented Worms, Crustaceans, Barnacles, Shrimps, Rock Lobsters, Hermit Crabs, Squat Lobsters, Molluscs, Chitons, Univalves, Bivalves, Cephalopods, Octopus, Cuttlefish, Squid, Opisthobranchs, Nudibranchs, Sea Slugs, Bryozoans, Sea Mosses, Echinoderms, Sea Stars, Feather Stars, Brittle Stars, Sea Urchins, Sea Cucumbers, Ascidians/Sea Squirts, Marine Fish, Sharks, Marine Reptiles, and Marine Mammals, all found in the waters around Loloata Island and Bootless Bay.
( Copyright Neville Coleman)
How to get there:
International: Air Niugini and Airlines PNG
Domestic: Air Niugini, Airlines PNG
Jackson's International Airport is the gateway of Papua New Guinea, situated about 8km away from the main town centre of Port Moresby. Mt Hagen Provincial Airport has been declared International port of entry because of the mining activities around the highland provinces.
A 60-day tourist visa is available on arrival in Port Moresby at a fee of K100. To obtain a visa before you enter the country costs K74. You will need travel documents, sufficient funds for your stay in the country and airline ticket with confirmed outbound flights before expiry date of your visa. As some restrictions apply to several Asian, Eastern European and African countries, please check with the nearest Papua New Guinea comission, which is allocated in each country for visa requirements before travelling to the country.
Certification or vaccination against yellow fever or cholera is required for travellers over one year of age coming from or through infected areas. Malaria is a serious health risk. Visitors are strongly advised to consult your local doctor or tropical disease clinic to commence anti-malarial preparations before arrival.
The water quality is within World Health Organisation standards in most towns however it is advised that you do not drink tap water. A jug of drinking water will be supplied by hotels. Bottled water is sold everywhere. In rural areas it is advisable to boil water at all times.
Value added tax (VAT):
All transactions within hotels, restaurants and bars are subject to 10% tax which is included in published prices.
Warm to hot and humid throughout the year. There is a rainy season which varies from province to province; however, in general, it is driest from May to December. The air is clean; watch out for sunburn, particularly in the highlands, even on overcast days.
Informal and casual with shorts and open neck shirts worn throughout the year along with traditional items and apparel; ramis, sulus, laplaps and kolos. Thongs, sneakers and sandshoes are not allowed in some bars and restaurants. In the highlands, sturdy walking shoes are recommended, as is a sweater or jacket for cool evenings. Female dress should always be modest.
Electrical current on the national grid is 240 volts. The type of plug that electrical appliance use in PNG is TYPE 1. Some hotels provide 110 volt outlets in guest rooms for shavers and hair dryers.
Dental, doctors and hospital services are available in all major centres. Medical clinics and aid posts are found in remote areas and several hospitals are privately owned.
Malaria is a real and ever-present danger in Papua New Guinea; every precaution must be taken, preventative medication and preventative measures – don't get bitten by mosquitoes.
Papua New Guinea has modern satellite communications, which have brought the world closer at the touch of a few buttons. ISD and STD dialling are available in most parts of the country. Telex and facsimile services are also readily available except in very remote areas where high frequency radios are in use.
Papua New Guinea is 10 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
Visitors to the country are guests and hospitality is an honour. Tips are not expected nor encouraged.
Transportation is mostly by air across Papua New Guinea. A good network of roads connects the northern zone and the highlands region. Hire and rental cars, local boats and ferries, taxis in larger towns, plus local buses. There is no road link between the northern zone and the capital, Port Moresby because of the rugged nature of the terrain.
Copyright Neville Coleman
|Loloata Island Resort
P.O. Box 5290
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
|Phone: 675-325-8590 or 675-325-1369
web site: http://www.loloata.com/