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June 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 32, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Belize, Utila, Palau, Komodo, Bonaire

Caribbean whalesharks, missing hammerheads

from the June, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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The Aggressor Fleet markets a wide range of liveaboards, with one operating at almost every conceivable diving destination in the world. Perhaps the most favored destination is Belize, which has calm waters and is easy to reach -- it's only a two hour flight from Houston. It's a great destination for first-time liveaboard divers, and gets plenty of repeat business as well.

Take, for example, Lynda Durfee (Alexandria, VA) and her experience with the MV Belize Aggressor IV. She gave it five stars in most departments including value-for-money, since she took advantage of a one-third reduction in the normal price for certain May dates. In fact, she wrote she couldn't say anything bad about the boat except that there were some AC problems leading to a cabin warmer than wanted.

She loved the 'fin-to-fin' service, meaning she never even had to put her own fins on or take them off. It was done for her. She said "the food was terrific" and her only real complaint seemed to be that a single dive guide escorting 19 guests was a little overambitious, although that would have suited a lot of divers who were free to go off alone in their buddy pairs.

It was a pity that the diving did not live up to her expectations.

We like hearing about improvements. George Borton (Venice, FL) was on MV Aqua Cat in The Bahamas in March and told that things had been improved since our August 2016 Undercurrent review. He wrote, "Apparently the ship was maintained during offseason, as I did not find it in the condition reported [in August.] We had good towels, no rust in the bathroom and the carpeting seemed to be in good shape. The crew was excellent, and the food was very good -- especially for a liveaboard," but added he was very disappointed in the diving itself, because, "The reefs were in poor condition and covered with algae and a lot of sand."

Long Haul Liveaboards

It was a similar story with Phil Johnston (Bayswater, Western Australia), who was also (surprisingly) disappointed with the diving, when he otherwise enjoyed a May trip on the MV Okeanos Aggressor II to Costa Rica's Cocos Island. He gave the boat four and five stars in every category, saying he couldn't fault the boat or crew. Stan Waterman was ever fond of saying that "Cocos always delivers," but Phil reports that the diving on his trip it failed to "live up to its stellar reputation." He failed to see any schooling hammerheads. Consolation prizes came in the less-than-frequent sightings of a large tiger shark, Galapagos sharks and a large manta that turned up at Alcyone. The inshore dive sites were "frankly boring and difficult, due to a strong surge and marginal visibility."...

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