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Dive Review of Palau Aggressor II in

March, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Charles W Donaldson, AZ, United States (2 reports)
Report Number 3942
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, Sea of Cortez (5 locations), California Channel
Islands, Puget Sound, Hawaii
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, rainy  
calm, choppy, surge, currents, no currents  
Water Temp
80   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
No major limits except diving your computer.  Dive sites tended to force
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Camera Facilities were excellent
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
4 stars    
Considering the time and expense, a trip to Palau and a week on the Palau
Aggressor II had better be good.  It was.  Everything worked as advertised.
 We were picked up at our hotel at the time promised and whisked to the
vessel.  Greeting and orientation was conducted in a friendly, but
professional fashion.  
First thing Monday morning, we were doing the first dive from the
Aggressor.  Our return was to the skiff which was our dive home for the
rest of the week.  Tanks and BCs are kept on the skiff and filled in place.
 There is room for fins and other bulky gear on the skiff so you dont have
to keep moving it around.  On return from a dive, you board the Aggressor
with wet suit on and have the opportunity to rinse gear and hang it up on
the dive deck.  There is room for the max 18 divers that Aggressor carries.
 A hint for future passengers:  Avoid the last row of seats in the back of
the skiff.  There is little room to don fins, you eat lots of outboard
exhaust and the skiff crew uses your space for boat access while docking. 
As advertised, the skiff is raised up to the level of the dive deck for
boarding and de-boarding.

The Aggressor Crew, food, accommodations and service were excellent.  You
could even not dive and have a good time aboard.  Captain Mike and his
staff were super.  The food was plentiful, varied, and very good.  There
were vegetarian alternatives available at all meals.  There was bottled
wine and beer on tap, with the standard have a drink and your dive day is
over caveat.  Cabins were appropriately sized  not huge, but not too
small, and the beds were comfortable and made up each day.  Nobody used the
hot tub the entire trip  but it was there.  With the exception of the land
excursion on Peleliu (which is worth it for anybody with any WWII interest,
or if only from a when am I going to be back to Peleliu standpoint), the
Eat.  Sleep.  Dive motto is appropriate.
The diving was good, but not so much better than Turneffe Island in Belize
or the Southern walls in Cozumel that I would undertake the trip and the
expense more than once.  The highlight of the trip was several
opportunities to hook in on Blue Point and watch the sharks, barracuda
and Napoleon Wrasse swim in front of and around you.  I was concerned about
using a reef hook, but there is ample dead coral to hook on to without
damaging the reef.  Safety is a priority with excellent briefings, EPRIB
locators, safety sausages and knives part of the dive package.  Divers were
allowed to dive their computers and to venture off on their own.  Avoiding
the group was not terribly easy since most dives involved a live boat and
movement with the current.  Staying in one place or leaving the group made
pick up at the end of the dive subject to delay.  2 days offered 4 dives
per day, 3 days offered a 5th night dive making at least 23 dives available
for the hardcore diver.  Nitrox 32 was available and virtually required if
you intended to make all or nearly all the dives.  Fortunately, instruction
and Nitrox computers were available (and encouraged) for the non EAN
qualified divers.  All 18 of the divers on our trip ended up using Nitrox,
with 5 getting certified onboard.  Each daylight dive had 3 dive guides
(rotated among all the crew, including the Captain).  18 divers tended to
produce a gaggle of people and bubbles early in every dive until people
spread out.  Because we were in a moonless period, tides and currents were
frequently not what the guides expected.  Although briefings accounted for
current in multiple directions, we frequently dropped in and ended up
swimming against the current.  Several of us were frustrated by the dogged
determination of some of the guides to swim into the current when a more
pleasant dive would have been had by staying in one place or even going the
other direction along a wall.  This culminated in an extremely unsatisfying
second dive at Ulong Channel, which included 15 minutes solid of hard
kicking straight into the current in Ulong Channel.  There were divers
crawling on the rocks, pulling each other along trying to keep up with the
guide  not a good dive.  However, there was redemption on the next day 
Jellyfish Lake and Chandelier Caves.  Snorkeling in Jellyfish Lake is
certainly a once in a lifetime experience  the jellyfish are stingless and
plentiful (we were told there were 15 million in the lake), and being on
the Aggressor gets you there before any of the crowds show up, so you have
the place to yourself.  Its an awesome experience and excellent photo-op. 
Chandelier Caves is a 4 chamber cave dive with a 30ft max depth and some
fascinating air chambers.   The stalactite formations are amazing, and the
swim-out with lights off into the eerie blue glow was creepy and fun.  No
cave certification is required.  
Bottom line:  Great trip and experience  once!
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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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