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Dive Review of Peter Hughes Island Dancer II in
Fiji and Tuvalu/Around the major islands

June, 2010, an Instant Reader Report by NEAL LANGERMAN, CA, US
Reviewer   (4 reports)
Report Number 5599
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Most major dive areas around Pacific and Atlantic; Gulf of Mexico, etc
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy, dry  
calm, choppy, currents  
Water Temp
79   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
  to 200    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Depth via Nitrox; 60 minutes or so per dive  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
2 stars  
Shore Facilities  
There was a severe lack of adequate camera workspace.  The designated
camera table could handle 2-3 full size DSLRs.  The charging station was
much too small.  When underway in heavy seas, cameras were placed on the
galley floor to prevent being bounced to the deck. Cameras were handed to
divers in the water.  When in the inflatable, cameras were stacked on the
floor near the bow.  After about 8 days, one of my Ikelite DS125 strobes
died.  It wasnt until I returned to the USA and had it diagnosed that I
learned the hard injection-molded plastic case was cracked.  While I cannot
prove it, I suspect something heavy got dropped on it during diver recovery
in the inflatable.  So, the trip cost an additional $]
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
2 stars   
4 stars    
TWO WEEKS on a live-aboard; 13 days of diving; a skipper who really knows
the best dive-sites of the entire island nation!  All of this aboard an
Aggressor vessel.  Too good to resist, we made our reservations about one
year in advance.  Then, things changed.  The Aggressor was pulled from Fiji
water and we were offered a trip on the Peter Hughes vessel, Island Dancer
II.  Unfortunately, the Peter Hughes reservations people did not understand
we booked a two week trip and it took us (and most of the other seven
guests) months to get the actual itinerary confirmed.  Finally the trip
arrived and the next two weeks varied between absolutely amazing diving and
absolutely terrible diving.

The crew earned a solid F on both the meet and greet and the thank you
and farewell aspects of the trip.  We were scheduled to be picked up in a
nearby hotel at 11:30 sharp.  At 9:30, the desk called saying our ride was
waiting.  Fortunately, we were packed and ready.  All of the guests arrived
and the crew was around, but there was no direction on getting settled.  We
had to ask several times to find our cabin.  Dive bags were left on the
deck  no one told us to stow them in our room.  They eventually got put in
a boat storage space that left them reeking of diesel fumes when retrieved
two weeks later. We expected to depart the vessel at 8:30 Saturday morning.
 We were told very clearly that a light breakfast would be ready at 7:00 AM
and that everyone had to be off the boat at 8:30.  Breakfast did not appear
and several of us went looking for coffee.  The chef finally appeared
around 8:00 AM and set out coffee and bread.  At 9:45, with no sign of
other crew, the chef was prevailed upon to make arrangements for taxis. 
Just before we finally disembarked, one of the dive masters showed up,
badly hung-over and still moderately drunk.  The skipper never appeared for
the thank you and good-by.
Dinners were usually excellent, breakfast was boring and lunch was spotty. 
Overall, however, the chef did a good job. He also did an excellent job of
meeting the dietary needs of a passenger who followed a vegan diet.  While
the Peter Hughes reservations people told us the chef was fully prepared to
handle this diet, it was not until it was clearly explained that vegan
means no animal products, including eggs and butter, that he was able to
always prepare an outstanding dinner for her.

Given a two week trip, one would expect advance preparation on part of the
crew.  However, we eventually realized that they were running out of fresh
water  the tap water started running brown and fresh fruits and
vegetables.  They also ran out of fresh laundry.  So, we did a morning dive
on a totally trashed reef and then sat all day while we took on water and
the crew had sheets and towels laundered at a local hotel.  We had the real
pleasure of doing a late afternoon dive on the same trashed reef.

We did get to dive some spectacular reefs, filled with soft corals and
amazing small critters (visit
wwwDOTsharnealDOTcom/IMAGES/Fiji_Images/index.html to see some of the
images).  Two of the three guides did a very good job of slowly leading the
group of nine divers; paying attention to them and finding critters for we
who carry cameras.  One guide simply headed off in the direction he wanted
and seldom, if ever, looked back. Because of wind and current, the boat was
often swinging in an arc such that it was necessary to time an entry into
the water to be able to hit the dive site.  On several occasions, the dive
master assisting the entry neglected to help the divers with this and dive
sites were missed or almost missed.  One such instance was on the second
dive of the day on the famous Great White Wall.  

Once we left the waters that the Island Dancer normally plied, the crew
needed input from local villages to find out where to dive.  Seldom did
this turn out as expected.  Most such dives were mediocre to poor.

Dive safety was generally good.  Diving was either from the Island Dancer,
which required standing on a water level platform often awash with heavy
waves or from an inflatable.  Getting into the inflatable from the Island
Dancer required a combination of timing, strength and support from the
crew.  Exits from the water were either up a good ladder to the dive
platform, for hoisting oneself (of being hoisted) into the inflatable.

I did 49 dives in 12-1/2 days of diving.  In this sense, we got our moneys
worth.  However, the overall impression of a very poorly managed operation,
from reservations through actual guest contact, convinced me never to book
a Peter Hughes trip again.  Now that the Aggressor fleet and the Hughes
fleet are combined, I am questioning whether I want to risk diving with the
Aggressor fleet again.

 The diving cost $5700 per person and the total trip, including airfare,
hotels, etc cost the two of us $15,700.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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