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Dive Review of Aggressor Fleet in
Turks and Caicos/Provo-West Caicos-French Cay

July, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by Chris Watt, MA, US
Sr. Reviewer   (10 reports, with 2 Helpful votes)
Report Number 6647
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
St. Vincent, Roatan, Bermuda, Italy, UK, Red Sea (Egypt), St. Lawrence
River, New England
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy  
Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Return to the boat with 500 PSI, no deco diving  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Sizeable camera table, with decent lighting and air hoses.  Camera-only
rinse tank.  Staff was quite good and attentive at offering to hand cameras
down, to pick them up at the end of dives, to get them straight into the
rinse tank and to place them securely on the camera table after a good
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
3 stars   
5 stars    
Lets be diving

This was the call to arms we heard at the end of each dive briefing given
by Captain Piers during our week on the T&C Aggressor II.  What a
fantastic week we had = great boat, great group of fellow guests, great
crew, great food and great diving.  This was my second liveaboard (first
was 2 years ago in the Red Sea) and my long time buddy Mikes first.  The
Aggressor certainly sets a high standard for the overall liveaboard
experience that IMHO is very hard to beat.

We flew to Providenciales on American from Boston via Miami - generally a
painless process.  After passing through immigration and claiming our
baggage, we stepped outside and were met immediately by Josie, a member of
the TCA crew.  We quickly corralled the other guests who had arrived on the
same plane and loaded up the taxi van for the 15-minute drive to Turtle
Cove marina.  

We unloaded our dive gear on the dive deck first.  The dive deck is
well-laid out and is a few steps up from the rear platform.   Large,
well-lit camera table with air hoses.  A head on the forward end of the
deck.  Ample storage under the seat  bench where your tank is kept.  Plenty
of room and hangers for hanging wetsuits and other gear.  Dual showers on
the rear platform.  Large camera-only rinse tank at the rear of the dive
deck area and a separate rinse tank re-filled at the beginning of every
dive for rinsing wet-suits and other gear.   Crew did a nice job taking
care of camera gear, getting cameras directly into the rinse tank after
being handed up after dives.the crew would then take each camera and place
it securely and carefully on the camera table after each had had a good
soak.  We had 16 people on board (total capacity 18).  Things never really
felt crowded.  We tended to do our own thing while diving (not following
the DMs).

The rooms are all below decks.  We were in cabin 6, which is located
mid-boat.  Bunks consist of a single bed above and a twin below.  I took
the bigger bed as I am 65.  Although my head and feet would touch the
walls if I laid straight, the bed was plenty wide for me to sleep
comfortably in a diagonal position.  There is a sink in the main room and a
separate private bathroom (shower/toilet combo) in most cabins on this
boat.  Storage in our room was actually pretty ample.  Both of us brought
large, soft-sided divebags, which fit side-by-side under the bed.  Under
the other half of the bed are 2 storage drawers with latches to prevent
opening during rocky seas.  There is also a closet on the right as you
enter the room, with room and hangers to hang shirts and a few storage
shelves.  The closet and cabinets under the sink also had secure latches. 
Finally, there is a small safe in the bottom of one of the underbed storage
drawers.  Everything in the rooms seemed to function well, particularly the
air conditioning (ice box cold).  There was a flat screen TV/DVD player in
each room.  We never used ours, as most evenings we read about 3 pages in
our respective books before falling asleep.

Forward from the dive deck on the same level is the main salon, where most
meals are served (we had a few meals up on the sun deck) and which is
air-conditioned.  Large flat screen TV, which was used to look at photos,
to watch movies and to screen footage that had been taken by the crew
during the week.  My favorite feature on board the boat was found here = an
ever-filled jar of Oreo cookies ☺

Above the salon/dive deck level is the sun deck, which consists of a mix of
open air and shade/covered space.  Chaise lounges, comfortable padded
booths and bar stools.  Cold beverages always available here and in the
main salon (beer, wine, soda).  This was my preferred place to had out and
grab a quick nap between dives.

The diving = there were 28 dives offered during the week (we did 27).  The
regular schedule included dives at 8, 11, 2, 5 and a night dive at 8.  On
one day we also did a 6AM pre-dawn dive (with 5 other dives offered that
day...we did 4 of these 5).  On Friday we dove at 6 and 8:30 to get 2 dives
in before our flight at 9AM the next day. 

We dove Northwest point on Provo, French Cay and West Caicos, spending time
at West Caicos on the way to/from French Cay.   Almost all of the diving
was wall diving, with the top of the wall at most sites somewhere between
40 and 50 feet.  No real restrictions on dive time other than the
obligatory be back on board with 500 PSI guideline.  All of our dives
were in the 55-65 minute range.  As has been discussed in reports on this
boat and the T&C Explorer, this boat swings quite widely when
moored.apparently due to the constant wind and rather long mooring lines. 
Watching the swing produced some rather comical moments on safety stops.  

The diving at French Cay was clearly the best, with West Caicos also very
good.  Nothing wrong with the Provo diving either, just different shades
between good and great.  Lots of reef sharks on every dive, many quite
curious and up close.  Turtles, nurse sharks, morays, southern stingrays,
Caribbean lobsters, flamingo tongues, octopus on the night dives, French
angels, gray angels, queen angels, large schools of jacks, barracuda, drum
fish (juvenile and adults), trumpet fish, a few eagle rays = very scenic,
fishy and beautiful diving.  A few folks had a dolphin encounter underwater
at French Cay, but we did not see it.

We tended to dive 2 sites each day = 1 site for 2 dives in the morning
(usually heading to the wall and heading north or south and reversing for
dive 2).  The boat would move to a new site in the afternoon.  We would do
2 daytime dives at this site and also the night dive (helping to orient
everyone to the site before diving it at night).  This worked generally
well, although in a few cases it might have been preferable to vary the
sites in the PM (a few folks requested this on our last full dive and the
captain complied).

Visibility was in the 80-100 foot range on most dives.

Gear notes: we both wore 3 mm full suits the entire week. Although the
water temp was 84F (a few night dives saw 82F), we never felt hot,
particularly with the steady 10-15 mph winds that are apparently common
while at sea.  Brought tropical gloves but never wore them. For dive
lights, I brought my "big boy" New England light = a Halcyon EOS
LED canister light. Very bright, although it does have a regular and a
lower energy saver settingwhich was still very bright in the clear
water. It was perfect on the 2 dawn dives we did as well as the 5PM doves
when the light started to dim. I was also using it on the 8AM dives, since
with the sun rising in the east and walls facing the west, it was really
helpful for looking into nooks and crannies on the wall. This light also
makes it much easier to handle my camera. The downside is that on night
dives it was almost too bright if trying to take video (I use a Canon G11
for both video and still photos). 

The food was fantastic = always plenty, always tasty and a great variety.
Eggs to order each morning along with fruit, toast, bagels, yogurt, oatmeal
and often French toast or pancakes. Lunch usually included soup along with
a main course. Dinner usually included a salad, main and dessert. We had a
BBQ on the sun deck for dinner one evening. In between meals, snacks were
often delivered as we emerged from the water by chef Phil, and included
still-hot-from-the-oven brownies, cookies, etc. Hot chocolate with
marshmallows and optional alcohol was offered after every dive. 

We loved the crew as well. Captain Piers was covering for normal captain
Amandas vacation as well as giving the ship a once over (he was previously
the captain of this ship for many years, but now works for the
Aggressor/Dancer fleet in a sort of quality control role). Originally
from Zimbabwe, he has quite an entertaining sense of humor. Josie
(British), Cole (American), Leigh (South African), Ernie (American) and
Phil (Canadian) were all great = fun and helpful at every turn. 

We were also blessed with a pleasant group of fellow guestswhich kept
things pretty relaxed. 

All in all, a fantastic experience. Well-run boat, great crew, great food,
great diving with lots of pelagic action. The Aggressor fleet has obviously
developed a great formula for producing a great liveaboard
experiencehopefully it wont be my last trip with them. 

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Subscriber's Comments

By kweaver350 at Feb 02, 2013 10:37 EST  
great review!
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