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Dive Review of Peter Hughes Star Dancer in
Papua New Guinea/New Britain (kimbe to Rabaul)

Peter Hughes Star Dancer, Jul, 2002,

by Jody and Elissa Thompson, ca, usa . Report 180.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving California Channel Islands, Bimini and Freeport, Bahamas, Cozumel, Akumal, Jamaica, Palau
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 86 to 88 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 100 to 150 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Common sense
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments

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 2 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Pristine, healthy reefs, a backdrop of active and innactive volcanos, jungle, WWII history, amazing people... a glimpse of PNG.

We planned 11 days in PNG: 7 days aboard on Peter Hughes Star Dancer, 4 days at Walindi Plantation, 1 day rest stops in both directions at the Cairns Colonial Club in Australia. This report covers the Star Dancer portion of our trip. A seperate report will be submitted for our stay at Walindi.

....Not only was our dive gear lost once but twice! (dive bags and cameras short tagged to Guam at LAX. Laptop missed flight from Cairns to Port Moresby). This is the kind of thing that will tell you what kind of travel agent you have and we are convinced we had the BEST. We booked directly through Peter Hughes Dive Easy Travel and after some worrying a sleepless night and phone calls, Jeff and Terri were able to get our dive bags to us (via Tokyo!) in time to make the boat. The laptop took another week, but Jock, Star Dancer's Captain, and all around great guy offered us the use of his if needed.

Star Dancer's accomodations are first class. We had cabin 2. It has a tub!,queen bed, roomy storage, large picture window, air conditioning, plenty hot water and perfectly working toilets. Every morning beverages are brought to your room and laundry is collected an done. If you're not spoiled yet, wait until Andrew... "6 star Chef of the Pacific" starts to work his magic with local food. As vegetarians we are always at the whim of the chef and whatever they can "leave meat out of". Andrew made fresh from scratch soups, muffins, main courses, snacks and his incredible chocolate cake...alone worth the plane ticket to PNG! An elegant sit down dinner was served every night.

Star Dancer carries an extensive collecton of reference books and Between dives we spent time identifying the creatures we had seen.

Diving was of two types: submerged bommies encrusted with corals, sponges and surrounded by an ever busy ecosystem of invertebrates and fishes of every color and description.(depth 60-120 ft)and shallower "Muck diving" (0-40 ft) where we found the strangest creatures ever! Week one we encounted very strong currents and clouds, week two brought sunshine and little current. See our trip photos and additional info at www.descentline.com.

After reluctantly disembarking, we checked into Walindi. On August 5 dormant volcano Mount Pago erupted and closed the airport stranding everyone. Again, Peter Hughes Diving came through for us: Star Dancer came back to Walindi to help. We and other guests became stowaways! Via ship's phone and email they helped us arrange new flights out of Rabaul.

Must haves in PNG: trip insurance, phone/email addresses of family at home and most importantly a desire for unexpected adventure.

Thank you Jock, Jonah, Patrick, Andrew (and girls), Tim, Caroline, Keiko, Terri and Jeff for making this the trip of a lifetime.
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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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