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

Peter Hughes/Star Dancer, May, 2007,

by Ji m Ferman, AZ, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 3593.

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

Weather sunny 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 We could dive our own profiles
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 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
UW Photo 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
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments 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 both.
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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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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