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Dive Review of Star Dancer in
Papua New Guinea/Rabaul

Star Dancer, Jul, 2006,

by Lori Brown, Chris Green, WA, USA (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 22 reports). Report 2749.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments We boarded the Star Dancer in Rabaul for the 8 day Rabaul to Rabaul itinerary. Rabaul is on the north-eastern tip of New Britain and is a few hours flight from Port Moresby. This was our first live aboard - we had been saving the trip for when we felt our 14 year old son was old enough to enjoy the trip. This was the year. Our first dive was on the Atun boat wreck. This was a fishing boat that was intentionally sunk for divers. The boat was a good dive and large enough that it was possible to spread out enough on the boat to avoid other divers. The next dive was at The Valley. There were numerous sea fans and sea whips. Several divers spotted a shark in the distance which they were convinced was a bull shark. The last dive of the day was a muck dive at a site called Alanís Place. But, before the dive, there was a little excitement as one of the locals had been out spearfishing and had been pulled out to sea by the undertow. One of the crew took off in the tender boat to look for the lost fisherman and the Star Dancer chugged around looking for him. It was a bit tense - I selfishly feared seeing a body bobbing up and down in the water. But word came back that the fisherman had been pulled out by the undertow but managed to get to land and walked back to town. During the dive that night, we saw many shrimp/goby pairs, coris wrasse, crinoid shrimp, and a number of nudibranchs. Our dive at Middle Reef was exciting because of a blue ring octopus that was waiting for us on the mooring. By the 4th day of diving, they started chumming for sharks - some of the divers were disappointed because we hadnít really seen any big fish. But the chumming didnít attract any sharks nor did we see any for the remainder of the trip. One of the best dives of the trip was a muck dive Ė Linguan. We saw many pipefish, an anemone that went on and on without end filled with a wide variety of anemone fish, crabs, shrimp - and I mean huge anemone, sea whips. A contender for the best dive of the trip was the jetty in Rabaul. There were cockatoo wasp fish, lion fish, a boiling mass of catfish, flounder, and frog fish. A moray eel swam up into one of the dive guideís (Josieís) BC and swam out the arm hole. She panicked and flailed around but to her credit, she didnít bolt to the surface. While we were under the jetty, there were more and more local kids freediving from the surface and yanking at our equipment. It was good natured but a bit annoying.
Accomodations on the Star Dancer were excellent and the food, though a bit plain, was good. However, overall, we were disappointed by the itinerary that we picked. We traveled from Rabaul west to the north-west tip of New Britain and back. The diving (compared to other locations in PNG) was a bit disappointing. I think the Rabaul to Walindi trip would have been better diving. I was also a bit disappointed because of a preconceived expectation that there would be camaraderie amongst the divers but this just didnít develop. Instead, there was a group of 5 buddies who had been in a dive club together and had also dived with the Captain and other senior crew. As a result there was kind of a clique thing going and it was sort of like being stuck on a boat with mean girls - if you know what I mean.
Ironically, the saving grace of this leg of our dive journey in PNG was the land attractions. During the last couple days of the trip, the volcano, Tavurvur, was pumping plumes of ash every half hour or so. The view was spectacular as the heavy ash could be seen to be sifting out of the plume to earth as strong winds carried away long continuous streams of steam. We also went on a land tour of Rabaul that included a visit to Admiral Yamamotoís bunker and tunnels built (with slave labor) for living quarters for soldiers and to accommodate barges brought in to supply the Japanese during WWII. We toured an observation point for the volcano where there was a hot spring pouring into the bay. On the trip to and from, the truck we were in became stuck several times in the deep ash from the recent volcanic activity.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving California, Florida, North Carolina, Washington, Bonaire, Cozumel, Fiji, Indonesia (Irian Jaya, Sulawesi), Jamaica
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas
Water Temp 77-80°F / 25-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40-70 Ft/ 12-21 M

Dive Policy

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

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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