Star Dancer

The Dancer Fleet of liveaboard dive boats wants you to Dream, Dive, and Discover the pristine beauty of exotic Papua New Guinea for an 8- to 10-night scuba diving vacation aboard the Star Dancer. Papua New Guinea is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean in a region known as Melanesia, and is comprised of the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous islands offshore. While Papua New Guinea is one of the world’s most culturally diverse countries, it is also one of the least explored. Currents from the Bismarck Sea, the Solomon Sea, and the Coral Sea converge in the region of Papua New Guinea, bringing nutrient-rich waters that provide nourishment to an incredible variety of marine life that populates these waters.

Milne Bay, a province of Papua New Guinea, is made up of seven groups of islands and other land. Milne Bay Province is characterized by mountains, waterfalls, jungles, caves, mud pools, hot springs, and inactive volcanoes; it is also a source of some of the best scuba diving available in Papua New Guinea and perhaps even the world. With something for everyone, you will thrill to the dives available to you—black sand creature dives, current-driven pinnacle dives, and reef diving. In addition to thousands of silvery fish, rare creatures await as you dive the reefs—Pygmy Seahorses, Ghost Pipe Fish, Flamboyant Cuttlefish, Emperor Shrimp, Coleman Shrimp, and Nudibranchs make their homes among the corals. You can expect dive encounters with Sharks, Dog Tooth Tuna, and enormous schools of pelagics such as Trevally and Barracudas. Your captain will select your scuba diving itinerary based on knowledge of the area as well as the current and forecast weather conditions so as to provide passengers with the best possible diving during the entire excursion.

Papua New Guinea offers year round diving. It has a warm, tropical climate with wet and dry seasons. Depending on the season, visibility ranges from 80 to 150 feet (24-45 m.). Prevailing currents make for good visibility during the wet season from June through October. July and August are the rainiest months. Do not be deterred, however, as rain showers usually occur in the evenings. The dry season occurs from November through May. While visibility is decreased at this time, you can expect to spot different critters during the dry season. During the summer months the water temperatures average 84°F (29°C) and during the winter months they average 77°F (25°C). Because of the number of dives you will be making, we recommend that you bring a 3mm wetsuit, which should offer sufficient protection and keep you comfortable. You may also have the opportunity to go ashore to visit Skull Cave and experience a beautiful island waterfall at the end of your excursion.

Star Dancer departs from Alotau, and all diving is done in and around Milne Bay Province. Weather and sea conditions permitting, you will be able to make up to five dives per day and one or two additional dives on the day you return to Alotau. All dives should be planned as no-decompression dives. Before making your first dive, you will be required to present your c-card or proof of diving certification to the divemaster. Most dives will be made from the Star Dancer’s dive deck. What follows is a list of some of the best scuba diving sites in Papua New Guinea, representative of some that may be on your itinerary.

Samurai Island Pier presents a tremendous diversity of marine life. Congregating around the pier’s cathedral-like pilings at depths of just 25 feet (8 m.), you will find various species of Catfish and Batfish as well as schools of bait fish. In this same area is the dive site known as the Washing Machine, so named because of its 8-knot drift dive.

Nearby is the manta cleaning station Giants at Home. At this popular dive site a magnificent coral bommie covered in soft corals rises from a plain sandy bottom in depths of 25 feet (8 m.). The bommie is home to numerous cleaner Wrasses who rid the Mantas of their parasites. You may see up to 15 Mantas at the cleaning station at one time, swooping in to allow the cleaner Wrasses to do their job. The Mantas are very friendly and let you get in close to them. They appear to enjoy the sensation of the divers’ bubbles on their undersides and will even swim above you just to experience the bubbling.

The passage between stunning Basilaki and Sideia Islands is home to the wreck of a P38 Lightning aircraft. The waters around Nuakata Island, considered the jewel of Milne Bay, provide great diving at sites such as Black and Silver, Trish’s Bommie, Tunnel Reef, Boirama Reef, and other beautiful sites. The waters are replete with pristine coral reefs and abundant fish life. Do not be surprised to spot schools of fish and pelagics such as Tuna, Grey Sharks, and Spanish Mackerel sharing the shallow waters in this area.
Another wreck, the Blackjack, a World War II B17F bomber, is located at a dive site along the northern edge of Milne Bay. Many consider the Blackjack to be the best aircraft wreck in Papua New Guinea, as it lies undisturbed on a sandy seabed in clear blue waters. Because it rests at depths of nearly 160 feet (50 m.), the outer limits of recreational diving, this dive is only for the most experienced of scuba divers.

The dive sites of Dinah’s Beach and Deacon’s, although in close proximity of each other, offer very contrasting dives, exemplifying the diversity of diving at Milne Bay Province. Dinah’s Beach is a black sand dive where you will see such marine life as Blue Ribbon Eels, Leaf Scorpion Fish, Mantis Shrimp, Mimic Octopi, and more. At Deacon’s you will find amazing coral gardens with a series of coral towers, and encounter both Hammerhead and Whale Sharks.

The Dancer Fleet strives to provide scuba divers and vacationers with the highest quality, most memorable and innovative liveaboard experience possible. In addition to unmatched scuba diving, guests aboard the Star Dancer will enjoy excellent accommodations and delicious meals as part of their vacation package. The Dancer Fleet’s dive boats afford guests both safety and comfort as they travel to the best diving locations around the world.