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Dos and Don'ts of Diving in New Britain

ISSUE 24 ARCHIVE - DOS AND DON'TS OF DIVING IN NEW BRITAIN

Traveller

Fed up of Old Britain. Brexit, the BBC and the alliterative storms beginning with Brian. Yes. Me too. But there is hope on that horizon. A place that we can all emigrate to - because it is the future. Only a 45 minute single-prop flight from the charming city of Port Moresby. It lies there a true tropical paradise. New Britain. New hope for us all. Let's see how the etiquette works there.

DO

Take 150mg of aspirin on the way there, it's one hell of a flight. Like the other side of the world. Traveller went via Qatar, Manila and then Moresby. The schedule said +2 like in days of arrival. Similar to the amount of DVT's my buddy got in flight. But a filter in the inferior vena cava and a lifetime's warfarin will fix all that, and they are looking forward to a return visit.

DO

Check your rental kit before diving. You are a long way from the Mares factory or the Scubapro fixer with his nano-screwdrivers. My BCD seemed to lack the down-toggle bottom right, and thank Poseidon for my long fingernails as the tiny piece of string was grippable to allow descent. That was just before the fin came off and the mask flooded. No worries though the sharks were so close that dive kit was not really essential.

DO

Impress upon your dive guide what you want to do. An hour spent the night before the dive day reminding the Instructor that Traveller was a couple of years from his last dive was totally ignored resulting in a three meter swell negative entry during a Force 8. The island near us with a lee-side, so close that it was still in the boat wake was ignored. FFS it's not hard. Keep it simple.

DO

Remove any personal possessions from your balcony every night. Security is there to stop the "boguns and rascals" from sweeping through the hotel grounds after dark. However they do then feel that after stopping these hordes that a simple torch or a pack of cigarettes is theirs for the bravery of their work.

DO

Get into Rugby League. It stops everything in New Britain. Locals scrum down when they can. Aussies watch something called "State of Origin" which cans a night dive and boosts the bar bills. Red or Blue Queensland or NSW. Which one are you? Neither mate. Featherstone Rovers. Expect a raised eyebrow or most likely a punch. Similar to Old Britain.

DO

Attach the defibrillator paddles to your chest before getting the dive bill. Point out the green button to the receptionist and say "push that" when horizontal and not breathing. £140 a dive times 10- for some sharks and a nudibranch. Ouch. Revive me. This New Britain will be like Old Britain after Brexit. Blinkin' expensive, for no apparent reason.

DON'T

Go in election time. Check the Papua New Guinea government diary online. Traveller was there for it. It makes an anti-Trump rally in Seattle look like a Hoxton Corby love-in. The losing candidate's supporters shot all the police. And then beheaded the poor bloke in charge of the vote count. To stop the Aussie SAS from arriving, they set fire to the airport. They were still there 2 weeks later, digging up the runway as Traveller had to get the bus to his destination down " The World's Most Dangerous Road". Which it was. Another story.

DON'T

Let anyone not even scientists-call them "Nemos". There are over 200 species of clownfish in New Britain. Your dive resort will be packed with American researchers from LSU, MSU, Yale and somewhere else super bright. All tagging and checkin' on clownfish behaviour, and finding different ones in clumps of anemones. But over a beer at the bar they all call them Nemos. Sorry guys but I go Linnaean here. Amphiron percula. Like - not Nemo. FFS next thing Disney will take over Star Wars and make it rubbish too.

DON'T

Worry about the food. You have flown over the centres of curry, hotter curries and probably fried insects. You are now so close to Australia that there is Pie-osmosis. Yes, that is the theory that a nation's food will travel about an hour to somewhere else. Darwin is so close that there are meat pies available across New Guinea and New Britain as frequently as a Barnsley high street. There is a God. We shall call him Pukka.

DON'T

Ever show your tattoos. Why? Because yours are embarrassing. Guildford High Street versus a rich tribal ceremony where you enter adulthood. Ten pints versus ten boars hunted by hand. Your Maori shark around the biceps against their three horizontal lines across the forehead. Same as the skipper and deckhands. They are all the same tribe who probably ate their mates for spilling a pint at the school disco. Cover yours up before you become a laughing stock.

DON'T

Listen to the boring Aussie on the boat who says the Solomon Islands are better. Mate you have the Ashes so shuddup- but we are in New Britain now. Its like some eejit comparing Newquay to Naama Bay. We here now, let's make the best of it. I thought WE were supposed to be the whingers.

DON'T

Kill a pig. Let me repeat that. Do not look at a pig. Do not think about how that pig would look dead. Do not talk about that man's pig. It is the currency there. Like a Bedouin's camel, a Frenchman's mistress or your ten year old regulator. It is sacred. If for some reason you do, then get the hell out of there and spend the rest of your life cross- dressing, re-naming yourself and starting a new life in Milton Keynes. But they will still find you.

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