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Dive Review of Fiji Aggressor III in
Fiji and Tuvalu

Fiji Aggressor III, Apr, 2008,

by Chrisanda Button/Rickie Sterne, Arkansas, USA (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 24 reports with 7 Helpful votes). Report 4297.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Bahamaas, Bay Islands, Belize, Caymans, Cozumel, Turks&Caicos, Sea of Cortez, Australia, Fiji, Truk, Yap, Palau, Indonesia
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 80 to 0 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 40 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions no deco diving; return to boat with 500 psi
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments The boat had a small carpeted camera table in the salon. Many nonnphotographic objects gravitated to that surface. With only four cameras onboard and only two in use on every dive, the space was just adequate. None of the camera was large. The battery charging station was always full, but we always found space for our chargers.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Our booking a second dive holiday aboard the Sere ne Wai, now the Fiji Aggressor III, attested to how much we had enjoyed both the boat and the diving on our first trip to Fiji. Unfortunately, we encountered three problems and disappointments on this trip that we had not experienced before. None of these problems arose from the boat itself, but the trio did affect how much we enjoyed this trip.
The first two problems were generated by the Aggressor home office in Louisiana. About five days before our scheduled departure, the Aggressor office notified us by e-mail that the release forms they had sent us and which we had returned at least six weeks before were the wrong forms. They demanded that we fill out new release forms and fax them to Louisiana before our departure. Of course, we had nothing else to do four days before we were scheduled to fly one-quarter way round the world. No jobs, no packing, no driving to Little Rock to board the plane. We did, in fact, fax the forms to Louisiana a few hours before takeoff. When we boarded the Fiji Aggressor, the captain said they had not received our release forms. We simply filled them out on the boat. So why all the hassle from the home office? Last year, when we dove from one of the Caribbean Aggressors, we were given two weeks' notice that the Aggressor office had sent us the wrong release forms and similar demands were made. At that time, the excuse offered was that a new owner had just taken over the company. Ten months later that always weak excuse just won't wash.
By placing a second boat in the same waters in Fiji, the Aggressor people have also detracted from the diving experience itself. Small pinnacles seem crowded with two boatsful of divers. If one group dove a site first, there was less sea life for the second group to see.
The third problem was entirely of our own making. We booked our trip for the last week in April, only to discover that spring is not a good season for diving in Fiji. The 80-100 foot visibility we had enjoyed while diving the same sites in August was reduced by half. The currents were so slack that Fiji's signature soft corals were not expanded, and the pinnacles seemed much less magical.
Those problems aside, the Fiji Aggressor III remains a comfortable boat that provides a good platform for diving. We were pleased to encounter familiar faces among the crew. Captain Ned runs a tight ship and leads a good night dive. Chef Luke continues to serve delicious meals thrice daily and to make the best omelets and French toast we have ever eaten. Luke did marvelous things with the fresh mahi-mahi the engineer and divemaster caught over the blue. Divemaster Mosese did an heroic job. He had one very dependent diver whom he had to care for completely while also watching nine other divers, including one relative newbie. He had to swim his "buddy" back to the boat and then return to the pinnacle where the other divers were still exploring. Despite his unusually arduous workload, Mosese still found neat critters for all the divers and cheerfully led night dives when we were the only two interested in the reefs rather than the free wine. The crew is safety conscious; they sent an extra crew member on the shark feeding dive just to help the newbie(who, as it turned out, did just fine and had a blast). The cabins are the usual Aggressor configuration, double berth below and single berth above, but they are slightly larger than those on the Caribbean boats and have full size bathrooms with abundant hot water and good water pressure. The comfortable salon included a good marine ID library. The whole boat is spotlessly clean, despite the fact that we never saw anyone cleaning it.
While the visibility was disappointing, we did see a good number of fish and critters. Several very obliging blue ribbon eels posed patiently while we fired off our cameras. Four species of anemone fish swam around the numerous anemones. We found eight varieties of opistobranchs and half dozen of flatworms. Clouds of anthias and dartfish surrounded every pinnacle. During an afternoon dive in the Nigali Pass we encountered a school of barracuda worthy of Palau's Blue Corner. Mosese showed us a pygmy seahorse that made the Indonesian Hippocampus barbaganti look huge. On a night dive in the same area, we saw flasher wrasse, a cocooned parrotfish, and a small pack of hunting whitetips. Palette surgeonfsih darted about in elkhorn coral. A dozen varieties of butterfly fish swam around the reefs, while titan and clown triggerfish nibbled on corals. We saw a fair number of small groupers. Even with the soft coral collapsed, the pinnacles were colorful and healthy. Three varieties of hawkfish populated large seafans. A half dozen varieties of shrimp, including one Saron shrimp and one golden mantis shrimp, hid in crevices. Careful scrutiny showed us tiny soft coral crabs and crinoid shrimp. Had we not known from previous experience how much more beautiful these pinnacles can be, we would probably have thought the diving was quite good.
The meke at Makogai village was a high point of the week. Fijian music and dancing are special!
Traveling to Fiji is made more pleasant by the national airline, Air Pacific. Air Pacific treats its economy class passengers kindly, and their flight schedule promotes sleeping in the air.
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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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