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Dive Review of Palau Aggressor in
Micronesia/Palau

Palau Aggressor, Apr, 2004,

by Diana Dickinson, WA, USA . Report 1017.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Fiji, Kona, Maui
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 80 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 50 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Stay with buddy; descend with group; ascend with buddy; dive ends at 60 minutes
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The Palau Aggressor is a clean, well-maintained, and carefully run boat. The food was excellent. There were 18 of us on board and it was not uncomfortably crowded. It should have been a great trip.

Why wasn't it a great trip? It was close to great--but not quite. Mostly it was the "control freak" factors: we did the dives the captain wanted us to (even if that meant diving Blue Corner three times); we came up at 60 minutes (even if we'd done a shallow drift dive and still had air left). All dives were done in the big group of 18. In all fairness, I think most people on board liked diving Blue Corner more than I did, and were happy to dive it three times. I would have liked to spend more time at Peleliu, especially because the weather was calm--we did only two dives there.

The corals varied in health: at Peleliu, both hard and soft corals were healthy and plentiful. At Blue Corner, a lot of the hard coral was dead--just too much impact from school after school of divers reef-hooking in to watch the huge schools of fish and sharks play in the current. (On one dive, there were 11 dive boats there.)

Okay, what about the actual diving? Blue Corner has huge schools of jacks, pyramid butterflies, and plenty of passing sharks--and of course, there's Sweetie, the friendly (and huge) Napoleon wrasse who likes to be petted. Peleliu was fascinating, above and below water. The Aggressor arranged for a land tour of that fascinating piece of WWII history. We saw remnants of the war all over the reef at Orange Beach, including unexploded shells and pieces of landing boats. There were anemones and clownfish at every dive site--some holding on even in heavy current. Hawksbill turtles were seen on about half the dives. There are HUGE giant clams on several dives. There were tuna and many large groupers (the largest was at least 6 feet long).

The soft corals showed lingering impact from the El Nino of 98. A few spots seemed to have minimal damage, but others clearly had been wiped out.

About half the dives were reefhook dives, in which we cruised along the reef wall until it was time to ascend to the plateau of the reef and hook in--then watch the passing fish over the dropoff. Current over the top of the reef varied from mild to "screaming" (hold onto your mask and hope your fins stay on!).

Palau is a LONG plane flight and an expensive one. We spent a recovery night (after the flight there) at the Palau Pacific Resort, which is expensive and luxurious, with great food. The beach at the Palau Pacific has nice snorkeling--my son and I saw an octopus there and tridacna clams of varying sizes, as well as plenty of smaller fish.

I'm not sure that the Aggressor has major advantages over land-based diving in Palau. Most of the dive sites are pretty close to Koror, and only in Peleliu were we completely alone at the site. (The Aggressor pointed out that the boat ride is 45 minutes from Koror and that it's rarely as flat as we saw it. But the flexibility of choosing destinations might be worthwhile.)
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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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