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Dive Review of Aggressor Fleet/N/A in
Cayman Islands/All three islands

Aggressor Fleet/N/A: "Busy week in the Caymans", Nov, 2018,

by Craig A Wood, PA, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 46 reports with 47 Helpful votes). Report 10814 has 4 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments I have been to Grand Cayman 10 times, Little Cayman twice, and Cayman Brac once. When I found myself with a bonus week available for diving, I jumped at the opportunity to spend the time on the new Cayman Aggressor V, especially with the 35% discount they offered for their 35th anniversary. I looked forward to diving the best sites all three islands have to offer.

Reservations/travel:

It couldnít have been a much simpler trip than this. I made my liveaboard reservations directly with Aggressor, it worked flawlessly. This was my 5th trip with Aggressor (Red Sea x2, Cocos, Galapagos). I made my reservations with American Airlines for a nonstop flight from Philadelphia to Grand Cayman. The Aggressor arranged for a cab to the boat and then back to the airport for $10 per person each way.

Boat and crew:

The Cayman Aggressor V is a beautiful new boat. It is 120 feet long, 25 feet in beam, takes up to 20 passengers and has 7 crew. The lower deck has 8 of the 10 cabins, 3 are side by side twins, the other 5 can be set up as twins or a king. I didnít see any of the lower deck cabins but the comments about them were routinely positive.

The main deck includes the dive deck, lounge, and the 2 balcony suite rooms. I shared one of the balcony suites, set up as twins, can also be a king. It was easily the largest liveaboard room I have had and was very comfortable. The room has a large sliding glass door that let in wonderful natural light. The balcony itself was relatively useless. I went out on it a couple of times, otherwise it saw no use. There are no closets but there are a couple of large shelves above the bed, copious storage under the bed, and a good sized night stand. The bathroom was quite spacious and had a large shower. The air conditioning was relatively loud but worked well with an accurate thermostat. The only complaint I had was the very loud mechanical clanking noise made by the autopilot almost all night on our cruise over to Little Cayman. The 2 balcony suites are below the pilot house. Apparently, the autopilot noise was barely or not audible in the lower deck cabins. Our passage back to Grand Cayman was made during the day so this was not a problem. The lounge was large and very comfortable. It has a large, flat screen TV with a good sound system that was put you use most evenings with movie screening. The dive deck is quite large and well laid out. There are 12 tanks on each side and 4 tanks in a middle area for the guides. There is a fill whip for every two tanks, tanks were always filled well before the next dive. Fills were routinely 33% and averaged a little over 3000 psi. There is no under seat storage but fins were kept on the diving platform and each diver had a small cubby. There are two large, bi-level camera tables, each with 2 air hoses and a supply of camera towels. All dives are made from the spacious dive platform that had the fin storage, two very sturdy ladders and two warm water showers.

The upper deck includes a covered lounge, the dining room, galley, and pilot house. The dining room has two long tables that made it easy to rotate seats and meet/talk to different people. There is a center serving buffet that was very efficient, best arrangement Iíve seen. The sun deck is expansive with numerous lounges and chairs, the hot tub, and a covered area with a wet bar.

The very hard working crew included Captain Randy, Cruise Director Aubri, Engineers Del and Oneil, Instructor JC, Chef Kingsley, and Steward Latoya. Randy, Aubri, Del, and JC all took turns guiding dives. The food was not the best I have had on a liveaboard but it was routinely very good and varied. Many of the morning and afternoon snacks were excellent, as were most of the desserts. There was plenty of red and white wine and beer to go around, I stuck to the Caybrew.

Diving:

You are free to stay with the guide for all or part of the dive, or, dive independently with your buddy. Buddy diving is required, solo diving is prohibited. I, and at least one other diver, was chastised for returning to the boat well after our buddy. We quickly worked out a mechanism to always return to the boat, close in time, with another diver, satisfying all. Dive briefings were very good, with excellent hand drawn maps on a large whiteboard. Maximum dive time was said to be 60 minutes. I managed to average just a bit more, 63 minutes (51-67). On some of the moorings the boat would really swing, often over good distances and quite fast. It was futile to chase the boat, catching a ladder or one of the weighted lines on a pass was the best mechanism.

I ended up getting in all 24 of the dives offered during the week. Water temperature ranged from 79-83, a 3 mm full suit was perfect for me. Visibility was quite good, 80+ feet in general. Our diving started on Sunday with a check out dive at the Doc Poulson and then a dive at Stingray City. The Doc Poulson was unmemorable. The first half of Stingray City, the feeding, was a silt filled circus. The second half the dive, away from the feeding area, was fun, as many of the Southern Stingrays hung around. We finished the first day with 2 wonderful dives at Babylon and then got underway to head to Little Cayman. On Monday we did 2 dives at Lea Leaís Lookout, 2 dives at Marylynís Cut, and then cruised over to Brac for a night dive on the 356, the Capt. Keith Tibbetts. This was a great day of wall diving and a unique night dive. On Tuesday we did 2 dives on the Tibbetts and 3 dives at Meadows, including a very good night dive, complete with many very large roaming crabs and a school of squid. On Wednesday, we got in 2 good dives at Donnaís Delight before having to beat it back to Grand Cayman to escape the wind and swells that came up abruptly. Unfortunately, we missed 2 planned dives at Randyís Gazebo. Our three days at Little Cayman points out one of the drawbacks of the Aggressor vs. land-based diving. As the Aggressor is not so quick and nimble, it appears they often do 2 dives at a site rather than visiting two different sites. We often went different directions and had two unique dives, but, I missed the variety you get when the boat switches sites for each dive. We were actually lucky to get to Little Cayman and Brac on our trip. Winter conditions often make the passage impossible and the Aggressor spends the entire week off Grand Cayman. Of the 2 trips before ours and the 2 trips after, only one made it to the sister islands. This is definitely something to take into account if you plan on a winter visit. Reviewing the Captainís Logs will give you a good idea how frequently they are able to make the passage. Upon our return to Grand Cayman we moored on the south side, due to conditions. The first two dives on Thursday were at sites called Pedroís Castle and Bullwinkle, both pretty unremarkable shallow dives. Further offshore from Pedroís Castle is a wonderful site I have done previously, Pedroís Pinnacles. Unfortunately, the distance from our mooring made the swim out to this site impractical. We moved on to the Kittiwake for 2 daytime and a night dive. The Kittiwake was a better dive than I thought. This is a very clean, safe, artificial reef. On the first dive, I swam the length of the boat below decks from a hatch on the stern to an opening on the bow. There is not a lot of growth on the ship but there are many interesting places to explore. The Kittiwake now lies directly adjacent to the reef at the dive site, Sand Chute. On the second dive I spent most of the time on the wall dive. The night dive was interesting, I spent about half the time on the wreck and half on the reef. On Friday, our last day of diving, we started at 6 AM on the Oro Verde. This started like a night dive but turned into a beautiful sunrise dive. Second dive was on the wall out from the Oro Verde and we finished the week at tired old Devilís Grotto.

The Cayman Aggressor V is a very nice boat and the crew was excellent. Some of the diving was great, some of it pretty mediocre. The Aggressor visits no sites that are not also available from land-based operations. It was a good, very easy way to get in 24 dives over 6 days and a reasonable sampler of Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. Other than a couple of Nurse Sharks, I saw no other sharks. There were many Tarpon and Southern Stingrays, a few turtles, and a reasonable selection of most of the usual reef fish. I was disappointed to see no Eagle Rays. Some of the reefs/walls, particularly Babylon and Little Cayman, were phenomenally beautiful. The Tibbitts and the Kittiwake were fun artificial reef wrecks. Overall, I would recommend divers consider taking a dedicated land-based trip to any of the three islands, to get in a variety of the very best diving the Caymans has to offer. However, Iím very glad I had the opportunity to spend a week on the Cayman Aggressor V.
Websites Aggressor Fleet   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, Cayman Brac, Bonaire, Curacao, Turks & Caicos, Roatan, Cozumel, Key Largo, SE Florida (Boynton Beach, Jupiter, West Palm...), Maui, Oahu, Cape Ann, San Diego, Costa Rica, Panama, Cocos Island, Red Sea, Galapagos
Closest Airport Owen Robers Intl, Grand Cayman Getting There Nonstop flight on AA from Philadelphia

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 79-83°F / 26-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60-100 Ft/ 18-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Buddy diving, no solo. Loose 60 minute dive time. 110 feet.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Very good camera tables with air, towels, charging. Good rinse tank. Crew handled cameras carefully.
Was this report helpful to you?
Report currently has 4 Helpful votes

Subscriber's Comments

By Robert H Martelli in MI, US at Jan 04, 2019 00:34 EST  
I think your comment on some dives being mediocre and others excellent is also sums up my experience with live-aboards. The only way to see all the good stuff a trip has to offer is to make all the dives.
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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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