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Dive Review of MV Golden Dawn in
Papua New Guinea/Hermits & Ninigos

MV Golden Dawn, Jul, 2007,

by Diane Pogrant, NJ, USA ( 2 reports). Report 3532.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Bonaire, Bahamas, Caymans, Belize, Cocos, Hawaii, Fiji, Yap, Palau, Australia, Thailand, Red Sea, mostly on liveaboards
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy, dry Seas calm, currents, noCurrents
Water Temp 77 to 83 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 2 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions according to computer, usually an hour
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments crew was gentle with gear, dedicated rinse for cameras

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments This was my 5th trip to PNG in a 20 year span; twice on Febrina, 3 times on Golden Dawn. I fear it may be my last. Had I not been there before, I could not have noticed the differences. While the diving is still good, it is no longer excellent. The long liners have been through, cleaning out food fish and sharks, destroying the reefs in the process. The Japanese have the locals fishing for them, further depleting the fish stocks. There were many fewer fish than in the past. Schools of medium to large fish are noticeably absent. We found a long net draped down the side of a previously pristine underwater bommie. Many algae eaters are gone, the reef shows signs of algae overgrowth. I remember more nudibranches and invertebrates in the past. Some areas were still beautiful, but too many were empty looking with ravaged coral. Eastern Fields (on the other side of PNG) is far enough away that it is still excellent.
Air Nuigini makes every trip a trial of nerves and guts. They routinely cancel a flight or two every day, due to their aging fleet and lack of repairs. Getting on a particular flight with several days worth of people all trying to do the same thing requires nerves of steel and a brassy attitude. Even then, the flights don't necessarily go to the city they are supposed to. All five of the divers for this trip missed two full days of diving. Frustrating for crew and guests.
Craig still runs an tight ship, everything in good repair. His crew is superb and accomodating, the food excellent. But with Air Nuigini's cancelled flights and the long liners destroying the reefs, the dive business in PNG is being destroyed as well. Alas.

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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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