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Dive Review of Peter Hughes Star Dancer in
Papua New Guinea

Peter Hughes Star Dancer, Apr, 2004,

by Timothy Smith, TX, USA . Report 992.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Palau, Fiji, Belize, Roatan, Cozumel, Bahamas, Florida Keys
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy Seas surge
Water Temp 82 to 86 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 50 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Depth Limits were enforced - High Nitrox mixes up to 36% were common.

A couple of Divers that were on air, were even made to sit out dives after going below 130'.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Typical Peter Hughes configuration. The only problem was that the staff allowed non photography individuals to utilize space, and they sometimes would move sensitive set ups.

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 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 We had a difficult time getting there. Connections were too many, and I would not recommend flying the Continetal Connections that are pushed via the Peter Hughes Travel agent. It did save us money, but not time. Continental did a great job re-routing us on Air New Zealand so we could arrive the same day the boat departed. Look at Air Nuigini's schedules, and departure cities into Port Moresby. Singapore would have been a longer flight, but less connections. Buy travel insurance.

When you are on the layover in Port Moresby - call the Airways Hotel at 3245200. They have a representative at the airport near the domestic rental car area. You get a free shuttle to a clean/safe hotel that overlooks the airport. They have a great Seafood buffet, and pool. We ate and drank on an 8 hour layover that cost us a total of $50.00 for two people.

Stay at the Tuna Towers, or a hotel on the Esplanade in Cairns if you go that route. The Raw Prawn has great seafood.

The Diving was absolutely incredible. From great Bommie Dives, to muck diving. The reef life and little critters had you begging for more. I did all 27 dives, and was totally water logged by the end of the trip. The bottom time was great. I only had one dive under an hour. One of our Muck dives near Dickie's place was 90 minutes long, and absolutely great. We did one great drift dive "Swamp Tinny", that had great overall life including turtles and spotted eagle rays. Current ropes, from the boat to the reef were great.

The only complaint was the set up of the boat. The Star Dancer is showing it's age, and needs some work in the rooms. They are starting a rennovation, little by little, but they should have used the off season to fix simple things. Some cabins had hot water, others didn't. Wallpaper was peeling, and mold was present. Water pressure was horrible.

The regular captain and cook went off on the Febrina last minute to do some exploratory diving. This left us with the rather unsociable, and grumpy captain Jacque (spelling?). He contracted Malaria during the trip, and was hardly seen. A back up captain should have been brought in. He also allowed smoking freely in the open areas of the boat. He was not very accomodating in moving between dive sites. The first half of the trip was in the Witu Islands, then the second half on dive sites that Walindi went to in Kimbe Bay. We had a couple on the boat who were on their second week aboard, and they did the same exact itinerary except for one dive site. The lack of moving may have been more due to the designed route to save fuel.

The food was prepared great - Chef Kristi did what she could with the food that was on the boat. She came in just a couple of days before this trip and had a hard time restocking. We ate either Chicken, Beef, or both at all meals except breakfast. There was not one Seafood meal served the whole week.

Overall we had great diving, and the Dive Instructor Josie did an outstanding job. I would go to PNG in a heartbeat again!!!! Jonah, and Patrick did great with finding critters too. The service was great, but the condition of the boat, the lack of different dive sites, and the limited diet would prevent me from paying full price for the trip. We dove on the last week of the Peter Hughes advertised special. This is the third live aboard I have been on of Peter's, and did not find this one comparable to the others.

We had several couples who did some diving from Walindi, and they said the service, and diving was great. We did get to stay at Walindi the last night before departing PNG, and I wish we had a couple of more days there. Spend the money for the Oceanfront rooms. Ask for the Blue Bottle water to save you $'s vs. bottled water. The trip to the hot springs is worth the $25.00!!!!

Also - FYI, they were offering $995.00/week walk on's while we were there. E-mail me for a link to pictures after the 1st of May.
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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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