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Dive Review of Star Dancer in
Papua New Guinea/New Britain

Star Dancer, Jul, 2005,

by Jill Rain, WA, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 8 reports with 4 Helpful votes). Report 1845.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving [Unspecified]
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather Seas
Water Temp 86 to 88 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 10 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 4 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 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Kimbe Bay itinerary.
This was a smoothly run and mostly very comfortable week with plenty of excellent diving. The boat is spacious and luxurious, staffed by crew who go out of their way to accomodate you and make it a memorable experience. There was one problem during this week: excessive diesel fumes in the aft cabins which were suffocating at night - I had to spend some nights on deck or with my door open to be able to sleep. However, in every other way it was exceptionally good. My fellow guests (mostly American, as is generally true of SD I heard) were amiable, the staff (mostly PNG, the rest Aussie ex-pats) genuinely liked and had fun with each other, all of which made for a great atmosphere on the boat. The food was abundant, varied and included lots of fresh local fruits, vegetables and fish. Desserts and in-between dive snacks were noteworthy.
The dive schedule was perfect: an early sunrise dive (watching the day fish coming to work), then breakfast. Two more dives before lunch, then some lounging/offgassing time before the afternoon and night dives. I liked having the night dive before dinner - this was possible because the suns sets at 6:30 there on the equator every day.
After showering for the day, you can then relax at dinner with a glass of wine and conversation.
I was very impressed by how the dive staff operated. They knew the dive sites and sea life which is to be expected, and there were at least 3, sometimes 4, divemasters on every dive, for at most 12 divers. But more than that, they early on evaluated each diver's skills and "diving personality" and somehow monitored everyone under water at all stages of a dive without ever being heavy-handed or intrusive, so we were all able to enjoy our own experiences, guided or not as we chose. I never felt anyone hovering over me, but there was always a DM nearby to point out unusual things or be helpful when conditions were rough. Ensuring safety without being controlling is an admirable skill, especially in strong currents, surge or low viz, which came up now and then. (Just as a sidebar: Any diver who travels so far should understand the connection between currents and tidal range, open ocean and most importantly, abundance of marine life. Current is a good thing! Expect it - please, no complaints!)
What we saw, on bommies, ridges, walls and beautiful submerged caldera rims densely covered with corals and sponges: the full range of animals from macro to pelagics, too numerous to list. My 8 lbs of ID books were essential. Huge schools; lots of behavior to watch; the common and the rare; fabulous colors and patterns; adults and juveniles; dawn, day and night populations. As good as it gets.
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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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