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Dive Review of MV Golden Dawn in
Papua New Guinea/Wewak to Madang

MV Golden Dawn, Aug, 2005,

by Clinton Bauder, CA, USA . Report 1902.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving California, British Columbia, Alaska, Baja, Revillagigedos, Cocos, Galapagos, Belize, Bonaire, Palau, Chuuk, PNG (Milne Bay)
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy Seas calm, choppy, currents
Water Temp 82 to 85 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 4
Water Visibility 30 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions None other than to use common sense
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Camera table is a bit small but otherwise fine. Plenty of room for chargers both in the salon and the cabins. TVs that worked with both NTSC and PAL and even a digital projector.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Excellent trip, worth the expense and travel hassle to go to PNG (and that's saying quite a bit). Besides the 3 in my group there were only 2 other divers. Evidently this part of PNG doesn't yet have the reputation of some of the other areas. Not sure why this is as the diving was flat out fantastic. Amazing hard corals, by far the best and healthiest I've ever seen. Lots of sharks (Grey Reef, Whitetip Reef, Blacktip, Java, Silvertip, Bull and Scalloped Hammerheads) though usually just far enough away that we had trouble getting good pictures. Several turtles including one dive where a large green spent the whold dive with us. Maybe not so many of the weird muck diving kind of critters but we did see a leaf scorpionfish, a demon stinger and quite a few crocodile flatheads. Cuttlefish and lionfish on most dives. We dove quite a few wrecks, mostly from WWII including several Japanese Marus and a B25.

The Golden Dawn in a very nice boat and Captain Crag de Wit is an excellent and enthusiatic host. Food was good enough that I gained about 5 pounds even doing 5 long dives a day, often in strong currents. Nitrox is now filled via a membrane system and helium is availabe via prior request.

Weather was bit rough by tropical standards though this didn't really affect the diving much. Visibility wasn't incredible but was usually a perfectly reasonable 80 feet or so. Dives tended to be relatively advanced so this might not be an itinerary for a rank beginner but is fine for a competent diver. Travel to PNG is not for the faint of heart or light of wallet. Leave time at the beginning of your itineary in case your baggage doesn't make the same flights as you do. Highly recommended.
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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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