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

May, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Ji m Ferman, AZ, USA
Reviewer   (3 reports)
Report Number 3593
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Fiji, Micronesia, Tahiti, Hawaii, Bonaire, Cozumel, Garnd Cayman, Little
Cayman, Cayman Brac, Honduras, Belize. 
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
84   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
80   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
We could dive our own profiles  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
4 stars  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
5 stars    
   This was our second trip on the Star Dancer.  Our itineraries included
the Kimbe Bay area and Witu Islands, and from Walindi to Rabaul. Captain
Peter set the relaxed tone on the boat from day one. He was a very
confident captain with years of experience in the area. He had a very funny
sense of humor as well. 
   We were met at the Hoskins Airport by the social/trip director of the
boat, Jamie. She was an absolutely charming and humorous young woman who
immediately made us feel very much at home. After arriving at the Walindi
Resort where the boat is based, we met up with the owners of the resort and
the Star Dancer: Max Benjamin, his wife Cecile, and Alan Raabe, three of
the nicest people who truly understand what customer care and service is
all about. Max has done an incredible job of promoting and constantly
upgrading his resort. Cecile is a woman I could talk to for hours as she is
very knowledgeable about the history of World War II in Papua New Guinea.
She is full of information about the areas airplane wrecks. Alan Raabe is
a charming host/Captain who is more of the hands-on expert when it comes to
the boat management. His knowledge of the areas dive sites is amazing.
   The Star Dancer accommodates 16 divers in eight cabins. They were a nice
size with a queen-size bed, had plenty of storage space and included a
nice-sized bathroom with full size shower. The dive deck had ample space
for dive gear and had a separate table for cameras and one for battery
charging.  Each diver kept the same station for the entire trip and it was
at these different stations that their individual tanks were refilled after
every dive.  The topside sundeck is large and partially covered for those
who want to skip a dive and snooze or read a favorite book. The
lounge/dining area was spacious and was made up of a number of separate
tables so you could sit with a small group of fellow passengers and make
new friends. The food was excellent, hot, and plentiful.  Accommodations
were made for the picky eater. No one ever left the table hungry.
   The diving itself was excellent.  The diversity of fish life ran the
spectrum from plenty of small stuff for the macro-lover to silver-tip,
white-tip and black-tip sharks and dolphins for the big creature
enthusiast. My wife loves photographing nudibranchs and other macro life
and was shown new creatures on this trip that she didnt even know existed 
Spotting strange animals such as the Crocodile fish, Spanish Dancer,
Scorpion fish, and Leaf Scorpionfish, were all everyday occurrences. The
dive masters were all incredible at finding everything you asked for,
especially the small things that most divers never see. Pygmy Seahorses are
extremely hard to find, but this crew seemed to have radar. One of the dive
deck personnel, Relvi, was our friend from our first trip.  She always had
a bright smile on her face and whenever we would arrive back at the boat
she was there to lend a helping hand.   After the first day or two, she
knew which fins and which camera belonged to each diver and helped with
   The visibility on most dives was in the 80-100 foot range. Not much in
the way of current during the entire stay.  All dives were performed from
the back of the ship, and all anchorages were environmentally friendly. 
   We went on a separate day trip on each of the two itineraries. On the
Witu Island trip we went ashore and toured a local village. It was led by a
local character, Dickie Doyle, who had lived on the island for a good
portion of his life, having married a local woman. Visiting the village was
like stepping back in time 50-100 years. No electricity or running water,
but the locals were all very friendly, happy and smiling.  On the Rabaul
trip we visited the ominous, smoking volcano that loomed over the port
city. We also visited the caves and tunnels dug out of the solid rock
hillsides by the Japanese during World War II. Rabaul was an important
Japanese naval base during that time.
   We would happily recommend this trip to everyone. 
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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
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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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