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Dive Review of Peter Hughes Dive/Star Dance in
Papua New Guinea/Kimbe Bay

Peter Hughes Dive/Star Dance, Jun, 2008,

by Bill and Connie Ehler, TX, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports). Report 4425.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Socorro Island, Malpelo, Cocas Islands, Fiji, Australia, PNG, New Caledonia, Rangiroa, Mozambique, Niue, Red Sea, Galapagos, Turks/Caicos, Cozumel, Honduras, Colombia, St. Martin, Cayman, Bimini, Bahamas, Saba, Bonaire, Vanuatu, Solomons, Palau, Yap, Kosrae, Marshall Islands, Truk, PI and more
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 82 to 86 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions None
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments There was a dedicated camera table that was large enough for the five photographers on our trip. We did have one person with multiple cameras and videos that overwhelmed this table. There were not enought charging outlets available.
The crew did an excellent job handling the photo gear.

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

Accommodations 2 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments The following is a list of safety and equipment failure we encountered:
1. Radar not functioning.
2. Depth finder not functioning
3. Tanks scale resulting in obstructing of tank valves. Gauge measured no pressure when tank full. This could be fatal at depth.
4. The steel cable holding back steps frayed and snapped. Three people were standing next to it and escaped being hurt.
5. Two desalinators failed. No potable water.
6. A previous salt water pump failure was incorrectly patched by rerouting fresh water into the toilet system. The rerouting of the fresh water pump for sewage resulted with a diminished amount of potable water. The fresh water PVC pipe to the toilet system broke.
This resulted in NO drinkable water. The toilets were switched to the salt water pump and it also failed. Fortunately one passenger had extensive experience with plumbing and water supply to recognize and corrected the jury rigged sewage and fresh water supply.
The captain did tank up at a local village well. Coincidentally several passengers developed gastro-intestinal malaise after consuming this water.
7. Due to pump failure there was a sewage spill in bilge. The nauseating, repulsive, obnoxious sewage smell permeated the interior of boat, especially the crew quarters. This methane gas produced from the sewage has a potential to explode.
8. No pressure relief valves were installed on the high pressure line. This resulted in over-pressurization on the line and it burst. Those present when it exploded had a temporary hearing deficit for nearly an hour.
9. The Nitrox membrane was not functioning properly. Nitrox contents rarely exceeded 30%. Some were as low as 26%.
10. The mooring line on boat broke loose at night causing the boat to crash into reef. The swing line was inadequate in size for the boat. It also had many repair knots from previous breaks.
11. It was quite obvious that this boat has not been in dry dock for a very long time. The condition of the boat is deplorable. It suffers from extreme neglect.
12. There is no redundant equipment of any kind. In fact everything has been cannibalized. If any other system had failed while out in the Bismarck Sea we would have been SOL.
13. We sailed out to Witu Island with no engineer on board and were forced to return to Walindi Resort for repairs, parts and an engineer.
14. There is no rental equipment available i.e. regulators, SPG and BCs. It is imperative that your gear is in top notch condition and/or you bring backup!

Upon our return we immediately contacted PHD. The response to our letter and phone conversations with the Executive Vice President of PHD was "concerns that in the end and in our collective belief were and are unfounded and false..... This implies that we lied or at least concocted falsehoods.
What was sent in good faith to PHD seems now to be turning into a pissing contest with a veiled or not so veiled threat of possible litigation.

We were informed that none of these issues were noted in the Dancer's log or that a "Charter Report" did not record or document these problems. Reports that were NOT received or filed concern us. This is a corporate/management problem. PHD said they received 27 problems from us and other guests. We did not count them but if this is so what is the statistical probability this would occur during a 9 day voyage on a properly maintained boat?

The above list is a list of physical equipment failures, neglect, and lack of oversight of the Sea Dancer's overall condition and sea worthiness.

There were NO problems with the crew; they were outstanding, with one caveat--NO ENGINEER when the failures occurred.

Our communications with PHD were a constructive criticism and a complaint of a regrettable and shoddy experience on a Peter Hughes, 5 star live aboard. Instead the initial correspondences from PHD infer that we are lying, making false accusations and warn us of possible litigation. Unbelievable!

We recently received a communiqué from Peter Hughes after his personal inspection of the Star Dancer. He acknowledged many of the problems of the Star Dance. Corrections of many of the problems have been completed and others will be completed when the boat goes to dry dock for maintenance and recertification in Feb/Mar 2009.
His closing remarks in his communiqué are, What more can I say, except to sincerely apologize for our failure in.but there are some things that can & will slip through the cracks, no matter how thorough we try to be.

We want to sincerely thank Peter Hughes for his personal on site follow-up and for his professionalism.
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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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