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Legendary FeBrina liveaboard in Father’s Reef and Witu Island, Kimbe Bay

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25 May – 3 June 2009

S5 09.428 E150 17.931 – Brandford Shoal, Kimbe Bay

S5 02.328 E150 56.122 – Kilibob’s Knob, Father’s, Kimbe Bay

S4 41.825 E149 26.761 – Dickie’s Place, Garove Island, Witu Islands

Sporting a new look of all all white, the famous liveaboard FeBrina is moored inside the inactive Witu crater of Garove IslandSporting an all new white look, the famous liveaboard FeBrina is anchored inside the inactive Witu crater of Garove Island where cryptic creatures awaited us underwater

Alan Raabe is the well loved captain of one of the world’s best known liveboards. He is Australian and has been operating in Kimbe Bay for the past 17 years running a wonderful boat named FeBrina. It comfortably fits 12 divers with each of the seven rooms complete fitted with ensuite toilet/bath. The solid support brigade of Alan are seven incredibly wonderful Papuans who help run each FeBrina trip seamlessly. When someone tells Alan how great FeBrina operates, he simply says, “I have the best crew in the world!”

Surrounded by the crew who loves him are (from top left to right) Digger, Michael, Alan, Levo, Diana, Jane, Pauline and finally the lady boss of the boat Josie!Surrounded by the crew who love him (from top left to right) Digger, Michael, Alan, Levo, Diana, Jane, Pauline and finally the lady boss of the boat, Josie!

So what’s the fuss about FeBrina? Anyone who goes on a dive liveaboard are after one thing and one thing only – to have a great diving experience – to dive as much as possible and to go to as many dive spots in different locations as physically possible. A dive boat is the only way of getting these tough requirements in and having a great skipper with local knowledge of the dive sites and a motivated crew is the main key to one’s fabulous diving experience.  To have flat calm seas, sunshine, brilliant 50 meter visibility, 30 ℃ water temperature and superb reefs and animal encounters is just a bonus.

One of the many brilliant sunsets in Kimbe Bay with the FeBrina dingy making a nice melancholic foregroundOne of the many brilliant sunsets in Kimbe Bay with the FeBrina dingy making a nice melancholic foreground FeBrina moored at Krackafat in Witu Islands with an explosion of crinoids and fairy basslets. See the Papuan dugout canoe beside FeBrina?FeBrina moored at Krackafat in Witu Islands with an explosion of crinoids and fairy basslets. See the Papuan dugout canoe beside FeBrina?

To go long distances to try to do 5 dives a day is not an easy task. On the FeBrina, it works like clockwork magic. At 6:00 every morning, the tough but loving Josie knocks on your door to tell you it’s time to prepare for the early morning dive. After a quick cup of coffee and several glasses of water during Josie’s dive brief, Yogi and I are dive and camera geared up by 6:30 and soon in the water along with our other dive companions.

Many thanks to Dale Finch, here is a picture of Stella & Yogi ready for their early morning dive!Many thanks to Dale Finch, here is a picture of Stella & Yogi ready for their early morning dive!

We have a warm breakfast after the first dive and by 9 am, it time for the second dive. A good hour interval after, by 11:30 it’s time for the third dive. Lunch is served soon after we shower and towel dry then we get a long siesta until 3pm. By 3:30 we’re back in the water and for those who still have the energy, a night dive by 6:30pm. A lovely dinner is served with wine of your choice after all night divers are showered and dry. My God! How could we not rave? The thing with all these diving is, we all couldn’t wait to get back into the water. It was just so very, over-the-tops FANTASTIC. But let me shut up and just show you some of Yogi snaps during our 10 day dive adventure!

This is the first time in 14 months we saw this many sharks come close enough to have their pictures taken. These two silvertips came really close!This is the first time in 14 months we saw this many sharks come close enough to have their pictures taken. And these two silvertips came really close! Aren't they beautiful animals. They belong to the sea and not on dinner tables! George Junior the great barracuda hovered under FeBrina the whole time we were moored in Norman's Knob, Father'sGeorge Junior the great barracuda hovered under FeBrina the whole time we were moored at Norman's Knob, Father's

Everyone on board teased Yogi for his untiring attention to photograph the schools of batfish. They were simply everywhere. In almost every dive site in Father’s Reef, there were 50+ batfish tailing us and totally unafraid and unashamed. There was a dusk dive when Yogi saw all batfish on the reef huddled together on top of the reef seemingly ready to go to bed!

And they LOVED bananas. Never could get sick of having these guys around usAnd they LOVED bananas. Never could get sick of having these guys around us Quite a number of dogtooth tuna made some nice close passes. Too bad no yellowfin tunas come this shallow . . .Quite a number of dogtooth tuna made some nice close passes. Too bad no yellowfin tunas come this shallow . . . During the dive brief, Josie said the nickname of this turtle was Psycho Turtle. I thought not. I'd say he's a Cutie! During the dive brief, Josie said the nickname of this Hawksbill turtle was Psycho Turtle. I thought not. I'd say he's a Cutie!

One thing that was really interesting, attached to the mooring line at Bradford Shoals was a temperature gauge that is linked to this website. The solar powered gauge from NOAA sends time series temperature data and you get almost real time temperature of Kimbe Bay everyday.

With Kimbe Island in the background, Bradford Shoals has this temperature gauge that is the only one that represents the temperature for the Coral TriangleWith Kimbe Island in the background, Bradford Shoals has this temperature gauge that is the only one that represents the temperature for the Coral Triangle We had 30℃ temperature everyday and I was in swim shorts and nylon rash guard. For the first time in his life, Yogi did not wear a neoprene wetsuit throughout this dive trip. It was so very warm!We had 30℃ temperature everyday and I was in swim shorts and nylon rash guard everyday. For the first time in his life, Yogi did not wear a neoprene wetsuit throughout this dive trip. It was so very warm!

So back to our animal encounters. This time for some marine mammals! We had an absolute ball driving around the dingy with hundreds of spinner dolphins jumping all around us. They were so happy and so very many! I kept screaming and Yogi kept shooting.

Digger herded the dolphins towards Walindi so the others could see them up close. The horizon was full of these playful creatures Digger herded the dolphins towards FeBrina so the others could see them up close. The horizon was full of these playful creatures Jumping jumping jumping. What happy makers these dolphins are!Jumping jumping jumping!!! What happy makers these dolphins are!

Now I haven’t started with the critters yet. Watch out for my next blog installment with the “Critters of Kimbe Bay”.

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  • Michelle

    I loooooove sea turtles!!!!

  • ANANYA

    I love to see these creatures. i get super exited. they are in danger as they are killed. they are rare to see but i want them to be seen by every one here

  • http://poterie-et-artisanat.over-blog.com Catherine Laufray

    De très belles photos !

  • http://www.nature.org Tapas Potuku

    It is comforting to know that there are people out there who care as much… These fantistic sea creatures are lucky to have you on their side!

  • Steph

    dolphins!!!! 🙂 love them!

    hey stella and yogi!! hope you are well… see ya soon ya??

  • Dion

    Great blog, Im going on the Febrina this October and your article assured me I am in for a fantastic trip! Your Photos are amazing.

  • http://nogat Pete Welch

    Bulkhead looks good!

  • stephen papah

    Really love the pictures