By the

Coral Sea Foundation &

Conflict Islands Conservation Initiative


30 AUGUST to 13 SEPTEMBER 2019 - 14 NIGHTS

The CORAL SEA FOUNDATION & the CONFLICT ISLAND CONSERVATION INITIATIVE   have been working together for the last 12 months to advance marine conservation in the Milne Bay Province, of Papua New Guinea. This region has some of the highest marine biodiversity in the eastern Coral Triangle, and it forms the northern border of the Coral Sea. There is an urgent need for more marine reserves & Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMA’s) within the province, and the CSF and CICI are committed to grassroots engagement with the local communities to meet this need.

THE SEA WOMEN OF MELANESIA (SWOM) PROGRAM provides indigenous women with training in conservation theory, scuba diving and marine biology survey techniques so they have the skills to communicate the need for marine reserves to their local communities & are able to identify areas suitable for marine protected areas on their own coral reefs. The CSF & CICI have collaborated in successfully training several indigenous women over the last year, which has lead to great results in community engagement and raising awareness of the role women can play in marine conservation.

Building on the success of these initiatives we are holding a dedicated TWO-WEEK training program for 10 Sea Women of Melanesia at the CICI facility in the Louisiade Archipelago beginning on the 30 AUGUST until the 13 SEPTEMBER 2019. The FOCUS will be on women from island communities from the Milne Bay province, and the OBJECTIVES are to deliver these women a training program that covers fish & coral identification, marine survey techniques, LMMA theory, and guidelines for community engagement. Coral sea foundation CEO DR ANDY LEWIS will lead the marine science education program, with support from CICI staff & the senior SWoM dive instructor & biologist NAOMI LONGA.

With four twin-share guest bungalows available,  we would like to OFFER YOU THIS OPPORTUNITY TO JOIN US, for the 14 -night course. Not only will you experience absolutely amazing diving in the Louisiade Archipelago and explore some of the best coral reefs in the world but you will also be


Please note there is no scheduled programs for SWOM for 2021 yet, but The Conflict Islands is offering two visits in Oct & Nov 2021.



DR ANDY LEWIS is one of the most skilled & widely travelled ecotourism professionals in the Indo-Pacific region.

With a strong background in small ship adventure cruising, he managed the ecotourism activities aboard the luxury vessel True North for over a decade, exploring, delivering outstanding guest experiences across a wide variety of tropical locations, from the Rowley Shoals, the Kimberley's, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia; Komodo, Raja Ampat, and West Papua in Indonesia; the Bismarck Sea and Louisiade Archipelago in PNG; and the Western Province of Solomon Islands.  With a PhD in coral reef ecology from James Cook University, extensive experience in scuba diving, surfing & kiteboarding in tropical locations, matched with his expert underwater photography skills & engaging public speaking, Andy’s passion for the reefs, islands & people of the South-Pacific is tangible. This passion drives the development of the Coral Sea Foundation as a platform for delivering the vision for sustainable reef management & the ultimate marine ecotourism experience.

Dr Andy Lewis

CEO - Coral Sea Foundation

MISS NAOMI LONGA  is a Papua New Guinean woman from the Island of New Britain, located in the North-Eastern part of Papua New Guinea.

The youngest of six children, she grew up swimming in the Bismarck Sea with the incredible coral reefs of Kimbe Bay at her doorstep. Inspired by the sea, she went on to obtain her Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Papua New Guinea, and completed her Open Water Diver certificate at the Conflict Islands Conservation Initiative facility in the Louisiade Archipelago. Naomi has worked with both Walindi Plantation Dive Resort and the Mahonia Na Dari conservation organisation in Kimbe and has just completed her Dive Instructor training with Pleasure Divers on Magnetic Island.

Her drive & determination for keeping a pristine marine environment in her home, matched with her knowledge & understanding of the difficult cultural forces at play in  Papua New Guinea make her the ideal mentor for the next generation of Sea Women of Melanesia. 

Miss Naomi Longa

Director - Sea Women of Melanesia Program

MRS HAYLEY VERSACE is currently based in the Conflict islands &  established the CICI, from the ground up, alongside her husband, Edward Cardwell. 

Hayley has a broad experience in different business environments, having owned & managed her own underwater photography business for six years, managing a dive resort and a liveaboard operation, each with varying numbers of employees. Hayley had a passion for wildlife from an early age & it was this passion which drew her to marine life early in her studies at James Cook University AUS, so much so she studied & graduated as a Marine Biologist & as a Zoologist. Over the years Hayley has volunteered at Mon Repoes in Bundaberg, surveying turtles;  worked with Whale Sharks & Manta ray identification projects in Mozambique & Western Australia; organised the Coral Bay Conservation Group; participated & been responsible for beach clean-ups, Stop the Cull Rallies, Ocean film festivals & fundraising balls.

Having dived her way around the world as a diving guide & instructor, working & visiting in remote areas, she often remarks on how beautiful, untouched and unique the Conflict Islands Group is.

Mrs Hayley Versace

CICI - Project Manager

MISS JOHANNA LEONHARDT  is passionate & dedicated to the marine environment, every increasing her knowledge, which will lead to her completing a postgraduate (PhD) studies in coral reef health, later this year.

Johanna has loved the ocean & all things living within it since a young age. Her summer holidays were spent on the beaches around Victoria, Australia, snorkelling, surfing & inspecting the tidal pools. This passion called & she moved from a Forensic Science background, to study & complete, her Masters in Ecology & Conservation (Genetics) at James Cook University, AUS. This course included marine turtle rodeos (field trips), working alongside leading marine turtle experts, Dr Ellen Ariel, Dr Ian Bell & Dr Col Limpus catching turtles, assessing their health, taking blood & tissue samples. She assisted with the establishment of the JCU Turtle Health Facility which looks at possible threats & more importantly, the solutions, to conserve the marine turtle population.  

Johanna is a great advocate for habitat conservation & community awareness, she teaches visitors of tropical reefs, that, no change is too small or helpless to conserve our natural world.

Mrs  Johanna Leonhardt 

CICI - Scientific Project Manager


The Coral Sea borders the Great Barrier Reef and the island archipelagos of Melanesia. This area contains marine ecosystems of exceptionally high quality & biodiversity. Our aim is to be proactive in its sustainable management,  to raise awareness of the ecological & social value as this region contains the last great reservoir of ultra-diverse coral reef in the world, yet most of it is remote and rarely visited, and is in urgent need of our assistance. Combining an ethos of science, ecotourism, and sustainability, the Coral Sea Foundation works with traditional owners to develop marine reserves that enhance fisheries & ecotourism resources while improving the basic quality of life of people in our partner villages. 

Several UN studies have shown that educating girls & young women in developing nations is a very practical way of achieving positive outcomes in environmental management, along with a slew of other social benefits. At the Coral Sea Foundation, we are committed to implementing that strategy in a way that benefits both the people & coral reefs of Melanesia.


The Conflict Islands Conservation Initiative builds relationships, trust, & effectively provides the tools to communities, to help them, to sustainably reach a point where they have food security, education & gender equality. The goal is to allow sources of income to the communities that do not damage the marine resources, rather protect & conserve, which in turn benefits the community as a whole.

The CICI goal, with Sea Women of Melanesia (SWoM) Program, is to train, provide continuing support for this partnership & women involved, to promote awareness within their communities about Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMA’s) & their benefit’s. As well as to continue to support the SWoM women on their journey to becoming diving professionals & marine advocates for PNG, especially the Milne Bay Province.

About the Sea Women of Melanesia Program

The program is run jointly by the Conflict Island Conservation Initiative (CICI) & The Coral Sea Foundation. CICI will be responsible for the diving certification under PADI, with both organisations lending their knowledge on surveying techniques, coral identification & conservation techniques.

The goal of the program is upon selecting intelligent & determined young Melanesian women to then, train them in conservation theory, scuba diving & marine biology survey techniques so they have the skills to communicate & identify, the need for Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMA’s) & their benefit’s, to their local communities. 

The program will have snorkel & diving activities in the mornings with some theory and classroom-based activities in the afternoons. The sessions will be varied but informative to keep it educational as well as entertaining. If you Join Us you can attend where you wish. 

What your participation will mean for the Sea Women :

  • Funding for the Sea Women to attend at no cost to them
  • Learn coral survey techniques
  • Learn to dive course - PADI OW certification + AOW 
  • Become a role model for their villages
  • Learn First Aid
  • Learn to identify areas which need protection
  • Become an advocate for their local reefs - in the sense they will advocate protection & sustainability 



The Resort is located on the tropical island Panasesa, a beautiful island located in the Conflict Island group which is privately own by Ian Gowrie-Smith.

"Our goal is effective protection and conservation of the ecosystems and species within the Conflict Island Atoll through sustainable ecological and economic management. This can be achieved through a concerted and passionate effort from all our affiliates and partners."  Ian Gowrie-Smith, Atoll Custodian

The Resort Inclusions

Stay in a twin-share Bungalow located a few steps from a private, white beach. Relax on the verandah with a book in your downtime or for the more adventurous or active you can try the stand-up paddleboarding of swim & snorkel to your heart's content.

Of course, there is amazing diving! Each day you will have the opportunity to go out with the Sea Woman to dive, take part in conducting surveys or just have a leisure dive with your local guide. Either way, two dives per day with a guide and equipment is included. 


  • Return Alotau Airport to marina & overnight return marina to resort transfers
  • Twin-share beachfront Bungalow
  • Breakfast, lunch & dinner - Chef prepared
  • Non-alcoholic drinks - soft drink, water, tea, coffee, fresh coconuts
  • Two dives per day with a local guide & equipment
  • Participate with the Sea Woman program or choose a day of leisure, you decide


The Coral Sea Foundation promotes, educates & runs programs for local communities to look after their coral reefs so that the community & the reef can survive in a sustainable way.
Learn to scuba dive with PADI the biggest dive organisation in the world
P & O Cruises support the Conflict Island Conservation Initiative
The Conflict Island Conservation Initiative works had to promote the conservation of coral reef environments in Papua New Guinea.
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