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Papua New Guinea What is known for

December 5, 2006
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DIVING

The reefs of Kavieng, Lae, and Wuvulu Island abound with a truly astonishing number of coral species, but many divers come to PNG just to explore the underwater legacy of World War II. Blackjack, a well-preserved B-17 bomber (whose crew was rescued by nearby villagers), rests at the bottom of Milne Bay. At Hansa Bay some 30 Japanese wrecks – a combination of ships and planes – lie in fairly shallow water.

NATURE

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Flamboyantly plumed birds of paradise (38 of the world’s 43 species), parrots, hornbills, brush turkeys, and cassowaries are just a few of the more than 700 kinds of birds found on this, the world’s second-largest noncontinental island. Tours take bird-watchers to the Sepik River, the Tari Basin, and the Karawari jungle.

CULTURE

A Sing Sing in the Highlands is an unforgettable experience, with sometimes-warring tribes gathered in a peaceful pageantry of colorful costumes and ritual dances. The largest Sing Sing is the one held annually in July or August at Mount Hagen. For a very different face of PNG, float down the Sepik River (canoes for the very adventurous, small cruise ships for the comfort-minded) into a realm of stilt villages, flower-filled lakes, dugout canoes sporting carved crocodile totems, and primitive art (including masks and shields) that has drawn collectors from around the globe.

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