Travel Story A diver's paradise

ANGIE AYERS gets beneath the surface of a beautiful island

I’m speeding through the twilight in a dinghy, away from the coast of Kavieng, the capital of Papua New Guinea’s New Ireland province, and I can’t get the grin off my face.

For weeks, people have been questioning my holiday destination. “Oh, Papua New Guinea, isn’t that really dangerous?”

And I have been returning their sweet concern with a bold “There are places in London you wouldn’t go at night. I’m sure it’s fine.”

But, despite my bravado, doubt crept in and the mixture of nervousness and excitement peaked as I waited for my gear to come off the plane.

It was beginning to get dark and my instructions were to find the driver. I didn’t realise I’d been holding my breath until a relaxed local said “Angie, Lissenung” and took my bags to a waiting van.

A short ride later, I am in the dinghy. When the captain hands me a cold bottle of water, the dehydrated part of me squeals with delight and the diver in me cringes at the thought of seeing it on the ocean bed on my next dive, but when I realise it is a Lissenung Island Resort-branded reuseable bottle, the grin reappears and, for the next week, doesn’t leave.

As the shores of Kavieng recede, the last of the sun’s rays disappearing behind the many islands spaced out on the horizon, I stare at the black water, wondering as I do before all my scuba dives, what secrets it holds.

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