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Dive Review of Cayman Aggressor IV in
Cayman Islands

November, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Jim Garren, FL, US
Sr. Reviewer   (8 reports, with 2 Helpful votes)
Report Number 6328
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Bahamas, Hawaii, GBR, Red Sea, Roatan, Maldives
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, dry  
calm, no currents  
Water Temp
83   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Depth limited by nitrox mix, no diving after  using alcohol  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
1 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Large carpeted camera table, with charging station below for batteries,
dedicated fresh water rinse tank near exit from dive platform.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
3 stars   
2 stars    
This was our fourth liveaboard and kind of last minute compared to planning
for previous trips.  We visited the Maldives in April of this year so we
had not planned to do another week long dive trip until a friend and dive
buddy mentioned she was booked for this one and indicated there were spots
still open.  Having someone we know to dive with had great appeal so we
decided to join her and we were happy we did.

The short flight time of just over an hour from Miami was welcome as we
live in south Florida, way less painful than our trip in the spring. 
Pickup by van at the airport on Grand Cayman by Aggressor IVcrew came off
without a hitch, but did require two trips to accommodate all divers.

First impression of the boat was excellent and only improved as the week
progressed.  No mechanical failure of any kind diminished our week long
stay on CA-IV.  Aside from our cabin being somewhat small, the boat is
easily the nicest one we have used to date.  The dive shop owner who
arranged the trip said at one time the boat only had two heads until it was
revamped to include one in each cabin, which probably explains the small
size of the rooms.  Built to accommodate 18 divers, there were only 11 the
week we were on board plus 6 crew.  

All staterooms are on the lowest deck, accessible via steep steps in the
main salon, excellent handrails assist with entry, two other exits are
available from this level for emergency use.  The main deck includes the
spacious main salon with dining tables, big screen TV,  and computer desk,
the pilot house was forward of the salon, the dive ready area at the stern.

The dive portion of the main deck includes generous seating and storage
area for each diver, integrated fill whips for air and 32% nitrox, rinse
tank and hanging storage for wetsuits, a huge camera table with charging
station below for batteries and a large dedicated camera rinse tank.  The
dive platform is reached from the ready area by steps with handrails on
each side of the boat; divers can enter the water between the two large
ladders or from each side of the platform.   The large stabile ladders made
for easy exit when returning to the boat after dives.

My wife who has had hip replacement surgery chose to gear up on the
platform, crew members transported her gear from the ready area prior to
each dive without complaint, as well as her camera which earned largest
camera distinction awarded  tongue in cheek at the cocktail party held
the last night of our trip.  

The third deck is a nice place to relax in the sun or shade depending on
preference.  Some meals were served on the top deck when weather allowed.
Soft drinks, beer and wine are always available in coolers here and in the
main salon.  Consuming alcohol was an automatic end to diving for the day
for any who elected to imbibe.  The hot tub on the third deck was popular
with many on board following night dives.

Dive guides were in the water on every dive for those who wanted to follow
them.  Divers were treated with respect and permitted to dive their own
profiles with little restriction except for depth as dictated by the 32%
nitrox mix being used my most on this trip, cost for nitrox is an
additional $100 per week per diver. Safety was emphasized by the entire
crew; divers were checked for return after each dive by CA-IV crew who
recorded dive time and depth for reference should an emergency occur.  

Only two sites are normally visited each day, the boat was usually moved
following the second morning dive.  The typical schedule was breakfast
including eggs to order between 6 and 6:30, dive briefing at 7:15 with
first dive immediately afterward.  The second dive, often on the same site,
followed around 10:30, lunch was served at 12:00, the first afternoon dive
usually occurred at 2:30, the second around 4:30 for the usual 4 dive day. 
Night dives were offered every night on the same site as the afternoon
dives and were popular with many divers.  Several nights the moon was
nearly full during our trip which made for excellent night diving.

Weather the week of our trip was excellent, typically a few clouds each
morning then sunny for the remainder of the day, no rain at all.  Wind was
from the north and east the first few days then came more out of the
northwest, the wind direction was the one factor that contributed to
disappointment with the trip.  Seas were about one to two feet with some
larger swells a couple of days, the captain insisted the wind was wrong for
visiting Little Cayman or Cayman Brac.  While I would not disagree with a
professional responsible for the safety of those onboard, I was surprised
by the decision to remain entirely on the south and west sides of Grand

We often dive in 4 to 6 foot seas where we live in south Florida aboard day
boats in the 30 foot class; CA-IV is a 110 ft. vessel.  Certainly a run to
the other islands might have resulted in some passenger discomfort, but our
group consisted of experienced divers who came for first class DIVING. 
Captains of similar sized boats in Australia and the Red Sea were not
intimidated by rough conditions in order to reach the best dive sites.  I
can only hope the captain of CA-IV truly made his decision to stay on Grand
Cayman based on his assessment of conditions and NOT due to the economic
pressure of having less than a full complement of divers the week we

So how was the diving you ask?  We enjoyed the diving, in part because of
the company.  Underwater topography was impressive and very different from
reefs in south Florida with many pinnacles or bommies for those familiar
with that term.  There are many swim throughs as well as cave like passages
and walls falling away into the abyss, we dove several wrecks including the
newly sunk Kittiwake and all were enjoyable.  

That said, the reefs themselves were unimpressive, far fewer and smaller
fish than we see locally, much of the coral had a brown appearance, I am
not a biologist so I hesitate to say it was dead, but overall it did not
seem to be healthy compared to other destinations.  Spear fishing is
restricted here and we did see many large snapper, grouper and hogfish
unlike Florida waters.  We also saw several turtles of small size, but only
3 sharks in 26 total dives, two nurse sharks and one small reef shark. 
Dive briefings promised possible eagle ray sightings on virtually every
dive, our group of three saw NONE on the entire trip.

Food quality and quantity as well as service aboard the boat were all first
rate; sadly however the diving is what we will remember and it came up a
little short. For others contemplating this liveaboard boat, hopefully our
experience was an aberration, and your trip will make it to the other
islands where I understand the diving is much better than that on Grand
Cayman.  All factors considered we will definitely consider another
Aggressor liveaboard, perhaps the diving on the next one will live up to
the high standards reflected in boat condition and customer service aboard
Cayman Aggressor IV.

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Other dive reports on Aggressor Fleet

All Cayman Islands Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Cayman Islands
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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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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