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Dive Review of Peter Hughes -- Star Dancer in
Papua New Guinea

June, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Michael J. Millet, CA, US
Top Contributor   (63 reports, with 8 Helpful votes)
Report Number 6115
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
All over the Caribbean, Revillagigedos, Galapagos, Vanuatu, Truk Lagoon,
Yap, Kosrae, Palau, Solomon Islands, GBR, Indonesia, Hawaii, Fiji.
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
windy, rainy, cloudy  
Seas
choppy, surge, currents  
Water Temp
78   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
3
Water Visibility
25   to 60    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
No deco  
Liveaboard?
yes 
Nitrox Available?
yes 
What I saw
Sharks
1 or 2 
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
None 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
1 or 2 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 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  
Comments
The Stardancer has a large camera table with compressed air; also a large
dedicated camera rinse tank. The dive crew is fairly diligent and efficient
handling the cameras. There were plenty of 110v charging stations
available.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
3 stars
Food
3 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
3 stars
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
N/A  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars    
Beginners
2 stars   
Advanced
4 stars    
Comments  
This trip on the Stardancer was a mixture of negative and positive
experiences, unfortunately mostly the former. At the captain's briefing, we
were advised that the fresh water maker on the boat was in need of repair
or replacement and that we may run out of fresh during the 10-night trip.
Well, we ran out of fresh water twice during the charter having to motor
10-12 hours back/forth to Alotau to replenish. This not only unnecessarily
wasted fuel but also resulted in 2 rather choppy nights at sea with little
sleep. 

The Stardancer used a chase boat to pick up divers that were finished their
dives away from the mother boat. Good idea but for a couple of dives the
motor on the chase boat wasn't working and it had no back-up motor. So, of
course, during these 2 dives my dive buddy and I had the unfortunate
experience of having to deal with a strong current and a dive guide who
took off without us. We were led away from the mooring by the dive guide
who them left us apparently trying to find the boat. With less than 500psi,
my dive buddy and I surfaced to find the chase boat inoperable, and the
mother boat about 200 meters away from us in choppy water. In was an
unpleasant back fin to the Stardancer.

The food on the Stardancer was average at best. The coffee was either weak
or burnt. The only bread available was white -- no wheat,raisin, etc. The
fish, chicken, beef or pork was usually over cooked and tough. The galley
did do a good job with the lamb -- moist and tasty.
The salads and vegetables were usually OK. The desserts were nicely done.
Fresh seafood was served on only a couple of meals, which seemed rather odd
for the area.

The dive guides were both local divers and Americans, including the captain
and the video pro. For the most part, these guides went too fast on the
dives. It was normal for me to stop to take 3-4 pix to then find the dive
guide some 10 meters or more ahead of me. The dive guides at the Tawali
resort were much better at finding marine critters for photos. Nonetheless,
the crew was, for the most part, friendly and helpful.

The dive conditions also added to the negative experience with high seas,
banging ladders, strong currents and marginal viz.

I have been on about 25 live-aboard dive trips, & I would have to rate
this experience in the lower third.



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Subscriber's Comments

By tdwyer at Jul 01, 2012 17:07 EST  
I will repeat myself, The Star Dancer should be taken out and drocked and
totally refiited. It does not meet the high standards of The Agressor
Fleet!!
By lennyzwik at Aug 08, 2015 11:32 EST  
We dove on this boat in 2011. The compressor provided contaminated air and
only upon strenuous complaints did the crew switch over to a backup that
was woefully inadequate to fill our tanks in a timely manner. The food was
average at best, as were the accommodations. When our group leader reported
this to the Aggressor/Dance Fleet, there was denial and no offer to make
good on a below average experience.
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Other dive reports on Peter Hughes Diving

All Papua New Guinea Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Papua New Guinea
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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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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