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Dive Review of Peter Hughes /Paradise Dancer in
Indonesia/North Sulawesi

May, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Rick Troberman, WA, USA
Contributor   (12 reports, with 2 Helpful votes)
Report Number 5161
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Bali-Komodo, Tahiti, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Galapagos, Australia, Belize,
Cayman Islands, St. Vincent, Grand Turk, Bahamas, Hawaii. 
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
80   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Bottom time of 60 minutes, but not strictly enforced.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Separate dedicated camera room with lots of power outlets (110 and 220). 
Separate rinse tank for cameras only.  The crew carried the cameras to the
skiffs, and handed them to the divers once in the water.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
3 stars   
5 stars    
This was a fantastic trip in every way: the boat, the weather, the people,
and most of all the diving.  The Paradise Dancer is a newly built 150 foot
all wood three masted motor-schooner, and is everything  that it has been
hyped up to be.  In fact, it exceeded my expectations, which were quite
high.  The individual rooms are huge (almost twice the size of a typical
liveaboard), and the bathrooms are comfortable and border on luxurious (not
something you typically hear said about a dive boat)!  The food was varied,
plentiful, and good, even for the several Vegans on board.  Blessed by the
good weather, all meals on this trip were served outside on the main deck. 
Although the boat can accomodate up to 18 divers, we had only 10, including
an English couple, a German couple, and six Americans.  It was the best and
most fun group of divers I have had the privilege of diving with, and we
all had a marvelous time.  

Diving is done from two comfortable fiberglass skiffs, each with a 200 HP
Yamaha outboard.  Once set up, your gear remains on the skiffs. Entry is by
backroll; exit up a dive ladder.  Back on the boat, the crew is waiting
with a snack and a short massage.  We typically did four dives a day
(including a night dive for anyone who wanted to go).

The diving was varied (muck, walls, drifts, and even a wreck), as we
travelled through the Lembeh Strait and Bangka Strait up into the Sangihe
Islands, and back down through Bunaken National Marine Park, Lembeh, and
back to the Port of Bitung. Of course, the muck diving is what people come
to this area for, and we weren't disappointed.  It is like no other place
on the planet.  Highlights of the trip included mimic octopus and
wonderpus, flamboyant cuttlefish, stargazers, incredible varities of
nudibranchs and other exotic bottom-dwellers not seen anywhere else, mating
mandarin fish, and frogfish of all varities, including several giant
frogfish the size of basketballs.   

My thanks to Wendy, Yan, and Acho (the dive guides), the rest of the crew
of the Paradise Dancer, and to all of the other divers aboard who made this
trip such a memorable experience. 

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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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