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

Peter Hughes -- Star Dancer, Jun, 2011,

by Michael J. Millet, CA, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 68 reports with 19 Helpful votes). Report 6115.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving All over the Caribbean, Revillagigedos, Galapagos, Vanuatu, Truk Lagoon, Yap, Kosrae, Palau, Solomon Islands, GBR, Indonesia, Hawaii, Fiji.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather windy, rainy, cloudy Seas choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 78 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 25 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No deco
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments The Stardancer has a large camera table with compressed air; also a large dedicated camera rinse tank. The dive crew is fairly diligent and efficient handling the cameras. There were plenty of 110v charging stations available.

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments This trip on the Stardancer was a mixture of negative and positive experiences, unfortunately mostly the former. At the captain's briefing, we were advised that the fresh water maker on the boat was in need of repair or replacement and that we may run out of fresh during the 10-night trip. Well, we ran out of fresh water twice during the charter having to motor 10-12 hours back/forth to Alotau to replenish. This not only unnecessarily wasted fuel but also resulted in 2 rather choppy nights at sea with little sleep.

The Stardancer used a chase boat to pick up divers that were finished their dives away from the mother boat. Good idea but for a couple of dives the motor on the chase boat wasn't working and it had no back-up motor. So, of course, during these 2 dives my dive buddy and I had the unfortunate experience of having to deal with a strong current and a dive guide who took off without us. We were led away from the mooring by the dive guide who them left us apparently trying to find the boat. With less than 500psi, my dive buddy and I surfaced to find the chase boat inoperable, and the mother boat about 200 meters away from us in choppy water. In was an unpleasant back fin to the Stardancer.

The food on the Stardancer was average at best. The coffee was either weak or burnt. The only bread available was white -- no wheat,raisin, etc. The fish, chicken, beef or pork was usually over cooked and tough. The galley did do a good job with the lamb -- moist and tasty.
The salads and vegetables were usually OK. The desserts were nicely done. Fresh seafood was served on only a couple of meals, which seemed rather odd for the area.

The dive guides were both local divers and Americans, including the captain and the video pro. For the most part, these guides went too fast on the dives. It was normal for me to stop to take 3-4 pix to then find the dive guide some 10 meters or more ahead of me. The dive guides at the Tawali resort were much better at finding marine critters for photos. Nonetheless, the crew was, for the most part, friendly and helpful.

The dive conditions also added to the negative experience with high seas, banging ladders, strong currents and marginal viz.

I have been on about 25 live-aboard dive trips, & I would have to rate this experience in the lower third.



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Subscriber's Comments

By thomas j dwyer in HI, US at Jul 01, 2012 17:07 EST  
I will repeat myself, The Star Dancer should be taken out and drocked and totally refiited. It does not meet the high standards of The Agressor Fleet!!
By Lenny Zwik in TX, US at Aug 08, 2015 11:32 EST  
We dove on this boat in 2011. The compressor provided contaminated air and only upon strenuous complaints did the crew switch over to a backup that was woefully inadequate to fill our tanks in a timely manner. The food was average at best, as were the accommodations. When our group leader reported this to the Aggressor/Dance Fleet, there was denial and no offer to make good on a below average experience.
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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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