2018/19 Season Wrap and Interview with PNG Surfaris Surf guide, divemaster and chief photographer Chris Peel.
The picture tells the story. Photo Chris Peel PNG Explorer.
The PNG Explorer is a live-aboard vessel designed for surfing, fishing, diving, and general tourism in PNG. It is based in the home port of Kavieng in the archipelago of New Ireland Province in PNG’s North East.
Owner/operator hosts Andrew and Jude Rigby, are committed to maintaining PNG Surfaris reputation as the best live-aboard surf charter in the country by delivering exceptional service, safety and by promoting sustainable tourism which benefits local communities and has low impact on the environment.
Surf guide, divemaster and chief photographer Chris Peel took over from his old man Shane over 5 years ago.
Chris Peel will be on-board with state of the art stills equipment and housings to document your unique journey, and make the images available for guests to take their memories home with them. Chris is also a fully qualified dive master and surf guide so you will be able to go scuba diving under in one of the premier diving destinations on earth as well as make sure your in the right place at the right time in terms of surfing conditions.
Ben Horvath: Hey Chris is it fair to say that season 2018/19 was well above average in PNG?
Chris Peel: “I wouldn’t really call it well above average, but it has been bloody fun that’s for sure. We didn’t really get many huge swells, but did receive consistent overhead waves for like 4 months straight.”
Where’s all the swell been coming from?
Depending on where we are located, the North Pacific and The Southern Ocean, and we also get some rare stuff when there are storms off the Phillos.
Take us through step by step what a week on the PNG Explorer entails? That is flights, accomodation, where you surf, how many surfers, food, photo packages everything please – so as to give potentially interested customers a guideline?
“Day 1 You arrive in the evening, generally around 5:45pm. From there your greeted by myself and our ground crew along with an esky full off beers. Next up it is a 5 minute ride to the dock where you will jump straight onboard the PNG Explorer and be welcomed by our crew who get you settled in. Then it’s straight up stairs for a safety brief and the general info that you will need to know while aboard. With that info out of the way the anchor will go up and dinner will be served. Your real adventure starts now.
“Day 2 You will wake up to the sound of fresh PNG coffee in the machines grinder. Anyone who has been on board knows how seriously we take our coffee. We will split the guests up into two groups, generally 5 in each tender but if your not an early riser we have a Jet ski on stand by to get you two the waves that are generally a quick 5 minute ride. After the morning surf breakfast generally goes up around 8:30-9.00. There will be bacon, eggs, lots of fresh fruit and mixtures of muesli and yogurt, all 100% organic.
“After breakfast you have the option of heading straight back out to the waves or taking a break and getting into full holiday mode on board. There are some big day beds, a TV and movies in the air conditioned saloon and lots of cold drinks, snacks if you need them etc.
“Lunch is served around 1:30PM. The menu changes so often I couldn’t type the whole menu without making this seem like a cook book. Ask anyone who’s been on board with us, believe me you the food is great, you will not go hungry.
“After lunch its time to surf. The arvo surfs are always my favourite time of the day due to the light being so stunning and the ease of the mid day sun.
“We generally have a boat go fishing around 4pm as our chef insists that our fish can never be more than a day or two old.
“Once the day has come to an end it’s back to Explorer to wash off and enjoy some canapés. Dinner will be served shortly after that. Again our dinners change so often it’s hard to mention everything.
“After dinner you have now officially completed your first day on board the PNG Explorer and most guys will slowly ease off to bed or hang up top and talk about highlights from the day with SP’s(our local beer) in hand.
“The next few days follows pretty similar but changes as our position moves.
“You can expect to be doing everything but not limited to, diving, surfing, snorkelling, beach BBQ’s, WWII tours just to name a few.”
How many years you been aboard the PNG Explorer now?
“I have been with PNG Surfaris for 5 years and counting.”
What’s the worst week on the boat in a season look like?
“Worst week? I can’t really say we have bad weeks. If the surf isn’t doing it (which only usually last 2 days) the fishing and diving always is.”
Whats the best week look like?
“Exactly how you would imagine it. Check our surf reports on Facebook, I post the highlights after each trip, you will get a great idea pretty quick of how much fun we have.”
Where do you spend the rest of your year out of PNG season?
“Recently I have been heading to the west coast of Canada chasing cold water surf locations. Besides PNG I think there kinda the next in line for the most remote and untouched surf.”
How does PNG rate or compare to say Indo?
“I would never compare the two. Indo has the best surf in the world for sure, there is no question about that. Usually what I tell people is if you wanna go stand in 12 foot heavy tubes Indo is your place. But If you wanna enjoy 3-6 foot surf with not another person insight, PNG is your place.”