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Dive Review of Peter Hughes Stardancer in
Papua New Guinea

May, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Don "Digger"Rowe, ca, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (10 reports)
Report Number 3343
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Mexico,Martinique,Cozumel,Bahamas,Tahiti,Red
Sea,Maldives,CostaRica,Galapagos,Revillagegedos,
Jamaica,Fiji,Indonesia,Belize,Sea of Cortez,Maui,Kona,Cayman
Islands,Catalina,Santa Cruz,Ana Capa.
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
dry  
Seas
calm  
Water Temp
84   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
3
Water Visibility
80   to 100    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
No deco. Some dives limited to 1 hour.  
Liveaboard?
yes 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
Lots 
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
Schools 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
> 2 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
N/A  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
N/A  
Shore Facilities  
N/A  
Comments
[None]
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
4 stars
Food
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
N/A
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
N/A    
Beginners
4 stars   
Advanced
5 stars    
Comments  
Only bad was the arduous travel time,(about 24 hours each way).
Diving was about equally split between the Witu and Father's islands off of
Milne Bay, and was remarkable. In the Witus, we had native visiting in
dugouts with outriggers every day.  We visited one village and the paucity
of their belongings was unbelievable.  But the natives don't even have a
word for unhappy in their language.

We had sharks in the water with us almost every dive, sometimes 4 or 5
under the boat on entry that followed us to the dive site. Two of the dives
were shark feeds, and the sharks stayed around for the whole dive, even
after having emptied the bait box. Photographer divers must have gotten
some great shots. Turtles, mostly small showed up on five or six dives. I
love them.
Schools of Batfish were plentiful and almost too friendly, particularly for
the photodivers.

Captain Peter Manz threw in a few muck dives to show us the amazing
diversity of the waters of PNG, with Mandarin fish, assorted
flatworms,pigmy seahorses,Blue Ribbon eels, Pipefish,Leaf Scorpion Fish,
Peacock Flounders, Squat Lobsters,Mantis Shrimp, and of
course,Nudibranchs.

On the Bommies, we had many Octopi and Moray Eel encounters, large Maorie
Wrasse, dense schools of Jacks and lesser dense schools of Barracuda, Black
and White and Red and White Lion Fish, Banded Shrimp,many different colored
anemone fish,Coral Morphian Shrimp,large Humphead Parrot Fish,large
Puggerfish,Scorpion Fish,George, a Great Barracuda that stayed under the
boat for several dive sites in the Father's Islands, (which were not really
islands but bommies the never quite reached the surface, and many more
minute animals that I could barely see, even with my magnifying glass, and
immediately forgot the names of. Martin an eagle eyed New Guinean had an
outstanding ability to find these minute critters. Jamie Queensberry the
tour director and also one of the divemasters doesn't yet have the
exploration skills of Martin, but is well on her way.

On a few dives we had adverse currents, which Captain Manz, ( who
incidentally was an expert skipper) countered by running a Darby line to
the anchor line and from the tie down point to the current side of the reef
where we hung and watched the parade of fish, both large and small.  Even
the more inexperienced divers handled it with ease.

The boat, though not new by any means was comfortable and Jana Gibson, from
New Zealand provided family style cooking with "to order"
breakfasts, sumptuous lunches with some native cooked vegetables and
several main courses. Dinners were after night diving and were less diverse
than the lunches.  Between dives, cake or muffins or varied spreads and
crackers kept us from losing any weight. A complete bar was available with
assorted liquors and red and white wine, all complementary. 

4 dives a day were available for all but the last day.  Night diving was
available on 6 of the 10 days. The dive deck crew was always available to
provide whatever assistance was needed, including washing and rinsing the
dive gear at the end of the trip. All diving was done from the Stardancer.

The water was almost too warm.  I wore a 3mm hyperstretch and would have
preferred a 1mm. Some overall covering is recommended because occasionally
we encountered reefs covered with coralimorph which could cause a nasty
sting if touched.

Visibility was generally at least 80 feet horizontally with maybe a hundred
looking down when the sun was overhead.

This was my third trip on the Stardancer in PNG and by far the best.
Overall, I rate the diving as the best in my 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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