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

February, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Bernice Anderson, tx, usa
Report Number 1634
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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 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
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  
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  
 
 

Overall Rating

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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