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Dive Review of Peter Hughes Star Dancer in
Papua New Guinea

April, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Timothy Smith, TX, USA
Report Number 992
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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

sunny, rainy, cloudy  
Water Temp
82   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
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'.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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  
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):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
2 stars   
5 stars    
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

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

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

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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