Craig can trace his ancestors back to a Dutch pirate in the 11th century who drowned when his ship was sunk off the Hook of Holland by the Royal Navy. Other ancestors, from the better side of the family, were admirals. Generations of them were seafarers, so Craig is not too surprised to find himself operator of the Golden Dawn, an elegant 24-metre live aboard base in Port Moresby. Craig grew up in Papua New Guinea and studied electrical engineering in Australia and was set for a career with Telecom. With a promotion on offer after two years with Telecom in Sydney, Craig took a holiday in Papua New Guinea to visit his parents who had been working there since 1952 - and stayed. The "yuppie" lifestyle did not satisfy; adventure called and Craig went to sea. He crewed boats on delivery voyages, obtained valuable sea time and eventually his Captains ticket. While traveling he kept an eye out for suitable vessel to start a family business and keeping with tradition his resulted in The purchase of "Unity" a fast twinscrew multi functional vessel ideally suited for piracy. His dream of emulating his famous ancestor (with- out getting sunk) was quickly shattered, however, with the "Unity" Being in constant demand for wild party-cruises in Port, Moresby harbour and treasure hunting with the "Gold Syndicate" looking for the famed "India Maru" reported to be carrying 150 tons of gold and wrecked off Wewak during World War II. As with most treasure hunts nothing was discovered and it was hydrographic survey and oil rig tender charters that made the business prosper.
It was during this period that Craig realized he didn't really want to be a pirate, but something far less reputable a diver. He felt there was a great opportunity for a live aboard dive boat to explore the fantastic Papua New Guinea Coral Sea reef ... known as Eastern Fields, a 90 nautical mile cruise out of Port Moresby. Few had dived there but reports of big fishes and the adventure of unexplored reefs were irresistible. This reef is not affected by cyclones like Australian Coral, sea reefs and is much easier to get to - just an overnight cruise away. So a search for another boat suitable for live aboard diving was started. The boat was found in Sydney in 1991, a seldom used and luxurious rich mans toy. It was renamed the Golden Dawn and fitted out for divers. Stabilizers, both dynamic and static, along with compressors, air conditioning, GPI's navigation systems freezers and two inflatable dive tenders were added. Local divers were used as guinea pigs" to make exploratory cruises to Eastern Fields to find the top dive sites. Satisfied that the operation was up to standard, Craig started attracting international divers in 1993. He now has a world-wide reputation for providing excellent adventures for experienced divers and particularly under water photographers. Golden Dawn runs seasons around Papua New Guinea, Eastern Fields cruises lake place in the line weather slots October - January and April- May with January-March spent out of Tufi and July- October in Northern Papua New Guinea. He employs a permanent crew of two expatriates and four Nationals and hosts many of the cruises personally. Craig is an avid underwater photographer and has a beautiful wife Michelle, who is a teacher and artist. He has an enthusiastic good-humoured approach to life and is a great mate to dive with. Stories that he made me walk the plank are totally false:
.......... Bob Halstead