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Dive Review of TAHITI AGGRESSOR in
French Polynesia/FAKARAVA TO RANGOIRA

TAHITI AGGRESSOR, Feb, 2005,

by Bernice Anderson, tx, usa . Report 1634.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving PALAU, PAPUA NEW GUINEA, GREAT BARRIER REEF, CORAL SEA, BELIZE, SABA, ST. MARTEEN, COZUMEL, CANCUN, CAYMAN(ALL), GRENADA, BEQUIA, ST VINCENT, ST KITTS, NEVIS, ANGUILLA, ANTIGUA, COSTA RICA, GALAPAGOS, HAWAII BARBADOS, TOBAGO, BONAIRE, ARUBA, CURACO, GUADLUPE, ST CROIX, ST THOMAS FLORIDA, TEXAS COAST, CALIFORNIA COAST, REDONDA, MONSERRAT, HONDURAS, PANAMA
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather windy, rainy Seas choppy
Water Temp 82 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 100 to 150 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions THE MOTOR WAS BROKEN, HIGHWINDS FORCED THE SHIP INTO THE DOCK, EMERGENCY EVACUATION ENSUED. NO HELP WITH EVACUATION, AIRLINES, HOTELS, THE SHIP WAS BROKEN, ALSO THE SKIFF AND BACKUP ZODIAC WERE NOT FUNCTIONAL. THE SHIP WAS IN AN UNSAFE PLACE PUTTING OUR LIVES AT RISK. DANGER!
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 1 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments FRENCH DIVERS POORLY ACCOMIDATE AMERICAN OR UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHERS, CAMERA EQUIPMENT BEATEN UP BADLY, NO RINSE BUCKET OR STABLE PLATFORM WHEN UNDERWAY, COULD NOT GET MORE THAN 10 FEET FROM MASSIVE FRENCH GROUP WITHOUT THREAT OF NO MORE DIVING. CONDITIONS DID NOT WARRANT PRECAUTIONS AND RESTRICTIONS, ONLY 2 DIVE PER DAY 1 AM AND 1 PM. AGGRESSOR WAS FUNCTIONAL, WE WERE EVACUATED ANYWAY WITH NO HELP WITH HOTEL DIVING ARRANGEMENTS. UNSAFE AGGRESSOR BOAT HANDLING. CREW SENT THEIR BELONGINGS WITH US UPON EVACUATION. DO NOT GO IN TYPHOON SEASON!

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

Accommodations 1 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 1 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 1 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 1 stars
Comments I BOOKED AND PAID FOR TWO WEEKS ON THE TAHITI AGGRESSOR IN FEB 2005. PLEASE BEFORE YOU GO MAKE SURE TAHITI AGGRESSOR HAS ALL THE FOLLOWING BEFORE DEPARTURE: FUNCTIONAL VESSEL, STABLE RELIABLE EXPERIENCED CREW, FUNCTIONAL SKIFF AND ZODIAC CHASE BOAT, FRENCH SPEAKING PERSON MUST BE PRESENT ON BOARD IN CASE OF EMERGENCY OR NECESSARY COMMUNICATION. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE BACK UP HOTEL INFORMATION IN CASE OF AGGRESSOR CANCELLATION AND DAN RUTH'S PERSONAL PHONE NUMBER IN CASE OF PROBLEMS, RECOMMEND SATELLIE PHONE (IRIDIUM) AS WELL AS FRENCH POLYNESIA VINI SIM CARD FOR YOUR CELL PHONE. IF EMERGENCY ARISES IN FAKARAVA GO TO TE AVA NUI (FRENCH DIVE SHOP-THEY DON'T LIKE AMERICANS, BUT THEY ARE SAFE DIVERS WHO SEEMED TO BE THE ONLY ONES WHO COULD HELP) ONLY HOTEL ON THE ISLAND IS MAITAI DREAM BEAUTIFUL, (VERY BAD DIVE OPERATOR-FAKARAVA DIVERS, SERGE & CARINE HOWALD @HOTEL - AVOID DESPITE CONVENIENCE) AVOID FOOD AT MAITAI DREAM HOTEL, (SICKEST I'VE EVER BEEN)
FINANCIALLY BE PREPARED IF AGGRESSOR CANCELS CHARTER YOU ARE LOOKING AT MAJOR EXPENSES TO STAY IN HOTEL AND DIVE. $ 360/ MINIMUM HOTEL, mEALS $28 AT "SNACK" RESTURANTS(WHEN YOU CAN GET TRANSPORTATION),PRICE AT HOTEL $100+ FOR DINNER (WITHOUT WINE) AT HOTEL, ONLY CLASSIC FRENCH RAW DISHES AT HOTEL, RAW DUCK, RAW LIVER, HIGHLY RECOMMEND AVOIDING FOOD AND DIVING AT HOTEL. $140-$180 DAY FOR 2 DIVES, NO 2 TANK DIVES.THEY DIVE AT 8 AM AND 2 PM, ONLY WATER CRACKERS, CHEESE AVAILABLE AT STORE. DO NOT FORGET DICTIONARY (FRENCH/ENGLISH INSECT REPELLENT, WATER, SPARE EQUIPMENT. NO TAXIS, SOME CHEAPER HOMESTAY PENSIONS AVAILABLE, (NO AC SHARED BATHROOM). **********BEST SHARK DIVING I HAVE EVER DONE RECOMMEND PIERRE AT TE AVA NUI, AVOID STEPHANIE, NO BUDDY SYSTEM ALLOWED, THEY SURFACE WHETHER YOU ARE FINISHED DECOMPRESSING OR NOT. THEY DO NOT HAVE DEPTH LIMITS OR CONCERNS LIKE AMERICAN DIVERS, WEAR GLOVES, THEY CRAWL ON CORAL IN CURRENT TO SEE SHARKS, WEAR REALLY THICK WET SUIT FOR SKIN PROTECTION. WATCH YOUR EQUIPMENT, ESPECIALLY CAMERA/VIDEO. AIRLINE EXCESS WEIGHT CHARGES OVER $600 ( I HAD NIKONAS, MAKO VIDEO HOUSING AND HARDLY ANY CLOTHES).
DO NOT COUNT ON TAHITI AGGRESSOR FOR HELP PLEASE FOR YOUR SAKE HAVE BACKUP PLAN AND COMMUNICATION, SATELLITE AND VINI (FRENCH POLYNESIA CELL PHONE CARD). AGGRESSOR OFFICE DID NOT HELP WITH EVACUATION AIR ARRANGEMENTS, HOTEL OR BOOKING INTO LANDBASED OPERATION. THIS IS NOT REALLY TAHITI, IT IS TRULY FRENCH POLYNESIA WHEN IT COMES TO DIVING, STRICT FRENCH RULES, NOT TOLERANT OF PHOTOGRAPHERS, EQUIPMENT WAS KICKED BOUNCED AROUND, MIRACLE IT SURVIVED. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE BACK UP PLAN AS TAHITI AGGRESSOR HAS HISTORY OF OF BREAKDOWNS, CREW CHANGOVERS, OVER 6 CAPTAINS IN 2 YEARS, ALL THE CREW WERE INJURED IN SOME MANNER, EXHAUSTED, IN EXPREMELY FOUL MOOD, AND UNHELPFUL DURING PERIOD BEFORE EVACUATION.
***********FRENCH FREIGHTOR PULLED TAHITI AGGRESSOR OFF DOCK AND INTO LAGOON OR IT WOULD HAVE SUNK(THE WIND WAS FORCING THE STARBOARD SIDE INTO A CONCRETE DOCK). THE ONLY 2 PEOPLE FROM THE AGGRESSOR FLEET WHO COULD PROVIDE ASSISTANCE (OR HAD THE AUTHORITY TO GET US TO A HOTEL) WERE ON A PLAN TO MOSCOW(WAYNE HASSON AND DAN RUTH) DURING THE TIME THIS WAS GOING ON(THIS IS WHAT THE CAPTAIN TOLD US). THE SHIP HAD BEEN BROKEN SEVERAL DAYS BEFORE OUR ARRIVAL, THEY FULL WELL KNEW THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE BOATS DISREPAIR, AND POOR AVAILABILITY OF PARTS) AS A MECHANIC WAS ON THE PLANE WITH US WHEN WE ARRIVED. HOW THEY COULD ALLOW BOTH ENGINES TO BE DOWN AT THE SAME TIME DURING TYPHOON SEASON AND IN GOOD CONSCIOUSNESS WITHOUT INFORMING UP UPON IMMEDIATE ARRIVAL SHOULD HAVE BEEN CRIMINAL, NOT TO MENTION A BROKEN SKIFF, AND TOTALLY FLAT ZODIAC.
(THE NEXT PLANE OUT OF FAKARAVA WAS 2 DAYS LATER)WHEN THE WEATHER BECAME WORSE ON MONDAY MORNING, AND THE CAPTAIN ORDERED EVACUATION OF THE SHIP THERE WERE NO ARRANGEMENTS FOR OT SHELTER MADE. IF THE VILLAGERS HAD NOT PICKED US UP AND TAKEN US WITH THEM WE WOULD HAVE BEEN STUCK IN 60 MILE/HR HARD DRIVING RAIN ON THE DOCK. THERE WERE 15 OF US IN A PLYWOOD HUT WITH 2 BEDS, NO PHONE NO TV, AND SOME WONDERFUL TAHITIAN PEOPLE WHO SPOKE NO ENGLISH, LUCKLY ONE PASSENGER SPOKEN ITALIAN AND EXPLAINED WE NEEDED TO TO GO TO THE AIR TAHITI OFFICE TO BUY TICKETS OFF THE ISLAND! OTHERWISE WE WERE TRAPPED WITH RISING WATER IN THIS PLYWOOD HUT APPROX 50 FT FROM THE WATER. FAKARAVA IS REMOTE, BEAUTIFUL, OFFERS NO PROTECTION IN BAD WEATHER, BUT IS DOES HAVE AWSOME SHARK DIVING AT THE PASSES. LATER, WHEN THE WEATHER IMPROVED, I RETURNED TO FAKARAVA, TO DIVE AND THE DIVING WAS SOME OF THE BEST I HAVE EXPERIENCED. ALL THIS TIME, THE SKIFF OF THE TAHITI AGGRESSOR WAS WORKING (WHEN I RETURNED, THEY STILL WOULD NOT LET ME DIVE, ALTHOUGH THE CREW WAS OUT DIVING ON AT LEAST 2 OF THE 8 DAYS I WAS IN FAKARAVA. THE AGGRESSOR DID REFUND OUR CHARTER PRICE BUT NOT THE AIRFARE, EVACUATION EXPENSES IT REALLY MADE ME ANGRY AS THERE WAS A HOTEL ON FAKARAVA WE COULD HAVE BEEN EVACUATED TO, WE DID NOT NOW THIS OR HAVE A WAY TO GET THERE ON OUR OWN. I COULD GO ON FOR HOURS ABOUT THE CONDITION OF THE NEGLECTED VESSESL, THE CEILING TILES WERE WET AND DRIPPING FROM A/C CONDENSATION, MY ROOMMATES CIGARETTES WERE SOAKED, AND THE CREW SAID "SO WHAT", WE DID NOT HAVE CLEAN DRY TOWELS, THESE ARE EXPECTED WEATHER CONDITIONS DURING THIS TIME OF YEAR IN THIS AREA, THERE WAS NO LOCAL PERSON, TAHITIAN OR FRENCH ON BOARD TO TRY TO COORDINATE A RESCUE.
THERE WAS NO BACKUP OR EMERGENCY PLAN BY THE AGGRESSOR. I WAS SHOCKED AT THIS IS ONE OF THE NICER LIVEABOARDS, AND CERTAINLY ONE OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE. THE REST OF MY 2 DIVE A DAY VACATION COST A FORTUNE. THIS IS A RUSHED STATEMENT, HOWEVER I DO NOT WANT OTHER DIVERS TO BE STUCK LIKE THIS!
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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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