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Dive Review of Aggressor Fleet in
Turks and Caicos/N.Caicos, W.Caicos, French Cay

May, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Brian Bickner, IL, US (1 report)
Report Number 6110
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Past diving experiences include:  Florida Keys, Cozumel, Cayman Islands,
Belize and Palau.  This includes four previous live aboard dive boats.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, dry  
Water Temp
78   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
75   to 125    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
The crew did not want anyone doing decompression dives; otherwise, you
could dive your own profile.  However, everyone must use a computer.  We
were told if the dive computer locks you out, then you will not be able to
dive until the computer unlocks.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
2 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
I am not a photographer.  However, the majority of the guests were
photographers.  They seemed to be very pleased with boats set up for
photography.  Furthermore, the crew was always willing to help or lend
their expertise to anyone that wanted or need it.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
2 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
4 stars   
4 stars    
I booked our trip through the Aggressor website.  It was very easy. 
Furthermore, if you have any questions or concerns, they were very prompt
at returning emails or phone calls.  After booking the boat, Aggressor
offered to help with any airline or hotel reservations.  They were up front
and said I could book my own flights and hotels for cheaper on-line.  They
did give me a list of recommended hotels and a phone number of a preferred
taxi service.  My wife and I like to arrive at least one day prior to the
charter.  On our previous live aboard dive trip (Cayman Islands), our
flight out of Chicago was delayed due poor weather, thus we missed our
connecting flight out of Miami.  After spending almost 18 hours getting to
the boat from our house, we were tired and we felt guilty for being the
last ones on the boat.  As soon as we stepped on the boat, the boat
departed.  This trips early arrival would allow for any travel delays,
plus we would be well rested for the start of our dive trip.
	Since we arrived a day early, the Aggressor would not provide
transportation from the airport.  I had called the day before to set up
transportation from the taxi service recommended by the Aggressor Fleet. 
The man was waiting for us as we come out of customs; however, we had to
wait 15 minutes for him to get his car.  There were numerous taxis waiting
to take passengers anywhere on the island, and you dont have to wait for
them to get their cars.  Thus, you dont need to setup transportation prior
to arriving.
	We elected to stay at the Gansevoort hotel in Grace Bay.  This is a very
nice hotel with an excellent beach.  Kayaks, Hobie Cat sailboats and
paddleboards were available for use by the guests.  The breakfast buffet
was included in the cost of our room, and the buffet was phenomenal. 
Anything and everything you could want for breakfast was included in this
buffet.  After seeing Turks and Caicos for the first time, I am sure there
are many nice hotels along Grace Bay, and most of them cheaper than the
Gansevoort.  However, there was nothing wrong with the Gansevoort, and I
would recommend this hotel.
	We boarded the boat on Saturday afternoon at 3 PM.  We dove 5 times a day
on Sunday  Thursday.  Dives times were at 8:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 2:00 PM, 5:00
PM and 8:00 PM.  The first two dives of the day were at one dive site,
while the last three dives of the day were at a second dive site.  The last
dive of the day was obviously a night dive.  The crew wanted to keep the
dives spread out (3 hours apart).  My only small complaint about the dive
times was the time of the second to last dive of the day.  While it was not
a true dusk dive, the sunset at around 7:10 PM, towards the end of the
dive, the visibility was clearly not as good as earlier in the day.  I
would have preferred this dive to be a little earlier.  On the last day,
Friday, there were two dives offered at 6:00 and 8:30 AM.
	Over the course of the week, we were able to dive North Caicos, West
Caicos and French Cay.  The dive sites for the week were as follows:
	Sunday  Black Coral Forest and The Dome / Thunder Dome (North Caicos)
	Monday  Brandywine and Driveway (West Caicos)
	Tuesday  Elephant Ear Canyon and Rock Garden Interlude (West Caicos)
	Wednesday  The Anchor / Whiteface (West Caicos) and Rock & Roll
(French Cay)
	Thursday  G-Spot (French Cay) and Gullies (West Caicos)
	Friday  Eel Garden (North Caicos)
Personally, I thought the dives on West Caicos and French Cay were the
best.  By comparison, the coral on the dives sites on North Caicos had a
little algae growth, and it showed a little more damage.
	Almost all the diving was along walls.  The only man made structure was
the Dome.  This was a structure built for a French game show which never
aired.  The Dome has been knocked down from a hurricane, but it does hold a
fair amount of fish.  If you are someone who likes to see wrecks, then this
is definitely not the dive trip for you.  Overall, the fish life was very
good for the Caribbean, and there was an abundance of macro life.  I would
say we averaged seeing about 6  8 lionfish on each dive.
	We did see a lot of Reef Sharks and a few Nurse Sharks especially on West
Caicos and French Cay.  At West Caicos and French Cay, there would be about
6 sharks just circling underneath the boat on each dive.  This probably had
to do with the fact that the crew did put out the Pyramid of Love on
three different dive sites.  The Pyramid of Love is a pyramid shaped
container with small holes on each side.  The crew would capture some
lionfish during the week, and then put them on ice.  Then later, they would
cut up the frozen Lionfish and place them in the pyramid.  They would then
place the pyramid in the sand underneath the boat.  The Reef Sharks would
just circle the pyramid and would occasionally nudge it their noses, while
the Nurse Sharks would go crazy for the pyramid.  The Nurse Sharks attack
the pyramid trying to suck out the fish through the small holes.  Equally
entertaining was watching the crew take in the pyramid at the end of the
dive.  The sharks obviously did not want anyone else touching the pyramid. 
With a long pole, they would release the pin keeping the pyramid shut.  As
the dead Lionfish float up out of the pyramid, the sharks would snap up
these pieces.
	For individuals who only want to do a few night dives, we would recommend
Driveway and Rock & Roll as the two best night dive sites that were
offered on our trip.  The other three (The Dome, Rock Garden Interlude and
Gullies) were just okay for night dives.
	The boat itself is very nice and well kept up.  The boat was just refit in
September of 2010.  If you need anything or have any concerns, the crew is
more than happy to try and make your trip more pleasurable.  The cabins,
like most dive boats, are tight.  We did not have control over the air in
our room.  There was one thermostat for the entire boat.  On the first
night, we were cold in our room.  It wasnt so much the air temperature,
but the fact that the vent was blowing directly on the beds.  The vents do
not close very well.  However, if you place a towel over the vent the room
was very comfortable.  We did mention our room being cold on the first
night to some of the other guests.  The ones towards the bow of the boat,
like us, thought it was cool too.  However, the guest in stern of the boat,
by the engine room, thought it was hot.  So, I guess it depends on where
you are located on the boat.  There were 17 guests on the boat, and it can
accommodate up to 18 divers.
	The crew does offer fishing trips in between dives.  They use the chase
boat to take passengers out.  The trips last about one and a half hours as
the chase boat needs to be back to the main boat prior to the next dive. 
Thus, you dont miss any dives.  It is a very nice break during the week
for something different to do during surface intervals.  There were two
trips that went during our trip, and we had no bites.  The crew said they
usually catch something on about half of the trips.
	Meal times were at 7:00 AM, 12:30 PM and 6:30 PM.  There were also snacks
offered in between dives 1 and 2, and in between dives 3 and 4.  The food
was good with plenty of it.  Our trip came during the last week of the
normal chefs four week vacation.  The replacement chef was good, but she
did not measure up to the high quality of meals that we have experience on
previous live aboard dive boats.
	Friday nights dinner is not included in the trip, and you have to eat out
on the island on this night.  I would highly recommend making a reservation
a few days prior, if you want to eat somewhere nice.  The crew is more than
happy to make a reservation for you.  They mentioned this fact at the
beginning of the week, and my wife and I were the only two who asked for
them to make a reservation.  Everyone else had to eat at Shark Bite or the
Tiki Hut which both basically serve bar food.
	My wife and I went to Coco Bistro which came highly recommend.  It was a
$16 cab ride from the boat.  The crew had set up the cab to pick us up 15
minutes prior to our reservation.  And the cab was waiting for us after
dinner.  The setting was very romantic, but we found the food to be okay. 
On the previous Friday night, we dined out at the Anacaona.  This
experience was outstanding, and I would definitely recommend it over Coco
Bistro.  The setting is very romantic as you sit outside looking over Grace
Bay, and the food was just magnificent.
	If you do not stay at a hotel on the island, there is not much to do on
Turks and Caicos.  We went to the shopping district one day, and it took us
about 45 minutes to leisurely see everything.  This made the last 24 hours
a little boring waiting for our return flight.  The weather for our trip
was great.  I think it rained for maybe 15 minutes during our trip.  The
daily temperatures were in the mid 80s.  It was fairly windy on the boat
for most of the trip which made it feel a little cool.  My wife would wear
her light jacket most of the day when she was out of the sun.
	Overall, we really enjoyed the trip, and would recommend the Turks and
Caicos Aggressor as a good choice for a Caribbean dive trip.
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