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Dive Review of Aggressor Fleet in
Cayman Islands

Aggressor Fleet: "Easy diving, great reefs, overall very enjoyable trip", Jul, 2016,

by James K Harris, TX, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 9 reports with 22 Helpful votes). Report 9035 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 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 Arriving at the GCM airport on a direct flight from DFW, I was met by a taxi driver the boat had meet the six or so of us on this flight. He had a van and we loaded up for the short trip to the boat for $10/pp. The return taxi van at the end of the trip made the run for $5/pp (price difference might be due to the arrival driver having to wait 30+ minutes for the group to clear customs).

Don’t believe American Airlines if they tell you you don’t have to fill out an immigration card going to GCM from the US. They didn’t pass any out telling us we didn’t need them (wrong). They also managed to not know what time it was and told us the wrong time (off by an hour). Not AA’s best day.

The reefs are in phenomenal shape and like I remember them from 20 years ago. Most fish are hand-sized or smaller, but this was offset by some specials. I’ve never seen this many turtles on one trip - 12 turtles, with a couple eating coral and weren’t bothered by divers/photographers getting up very close. We had 2-3 Caribbean reef sharks and/or a nurse shark that showed up on 6 dives and would do close approaches for pictures. There were tons of 3-4’ stingrays and plenty of opportunity to see them in sandy areas on various dives. Saw one eagle ray, a small school of reef squid, good-sized tarpon on Grand Cayman, octopus on a night dive, a few crabs, quite a few lobster, and lots and lots of grouper. Many grouper are like puppy dogs following the divers around and swimming up into your face. Anyone with a camera stick that looks like a pole spear will have grouper following them around hoping they’re hunting for lionfish. We saw very few lionfish and the crew was hunting them on a few dives. It was spectacular to watch a hefty grouper follow the crew around and be in their face as they speared a lionfish in a crack in the coral. As soon as they pulled the spear out the grouper would chomp the lionfish and take it off the spear.

24 dives were scheduled with only 2 night dives (2nd and 3rd nights) along with a dusk dive (4th night) and a dawn dive (6am day 5). It was unusual to me to do the 356 Keith Tibbets wreck on Cayman Brac first at night (I don’t think I’ve ever done a location first as a night dive), and then we did it again as the first dive the next day before heading back to Little Cayman. It’s an interesting wreck, looking more like something you’d see on the bottom of Truk Lagoon in terms of how torn up it is from hurricanes twisting it amidships.

The wreck of the USS Kittiwake as dive #1 is a nice wreck with many penetrations possible without risk of silting out or not finding your way out.

Stingray City (dive #2) was fun as always with the Captain having a contest to see who comes back with the biggest “hickey” from the stingray bites. Back in 1995 there were 50+ stingray at the dive but this time there were only 4 so there were periods where you didn’t have one anywhere near you. If you want to win the contest just keep the squid in your closed fist the whole dive and let them chew on your hand – my hand came back bloody from skin torn off and I won a t-shirt for my troubles. Gloves aren’t allowed in the Caymans.

Water temps were 85-86 degrees with no current except in the shallows on one dive at The Great Wall. We’d gone off on our own deep along the wall and when we came up to the shallows for the return to the boat we encountered a noticeable head current for about 10 minutes that then petered out. The next dive there had no current.

Longest dive was 68 minutes, 58 minutes on average, deepest was 108', average was about 40' since most sites had deep portions and then shallow areas to gas-off while still having things to check out.

Surface intervals between dive #1 and #2 and between #3 and #4 was usually just an hour. There were a couple of times we’d do 3 dives before lunch or between lunch and dinner so not a lot of rest time.

The crew is great with Capt. Lauren taking the prize for the best captain of any liveaboard I’ve been on. She’s there to have fun and ensure the guests have fun (and be safe) and she’ll have you laughing and smiling.

Someone from the crew, often the captain, would lead every dive but you were free to do your own thing (with a buddy). Most people on my trip tended to follow the leader which at times led to the divers all ending up bunched together, especially at swim-throughs (and there’s lots available). I usually ended up swimming over the top rather than end up in a traffic jam in a tunnel.

The cabins are small as most Aggressor boats are that I’ve been on. The toilet’s in the shower stall, you’re encouraged to shower on the rear deck to help control humidity down below. The AC worked well (we controlled the temp with no issues) and the bed was very comfortable. The temperature in the boat wasn’t so cool that I ever needed a long sleeve shirt or jacket. The food was pretty standard Aggressor fare with a fair amount of the food coming off the grill on the top deck. Desserts were excellent. The food at the Friday night reception (chilled shrimp and pulled pork mini pita pockets with chips) was delicious (there was enough food that most people skipped going to town for dinner). Overall we had no issues with the boat during the trip.

The crossing to Little Cayman was pretty calm although a few people got a little queasy. The return trip was supposed to be smoother but the ship was rolling pretty good side to side. I was wearing a patch and was fine both ways.

Air fills (nitrox) were in the 31.5% to 32.5% range with fills usually to 3200-3300psi. A few times the fill would be short (2200-2900) and it was never an issue to get the crew to quickly top it up.

When we left the boat at 8:00am Saturday most of us had mid-afternoon or later flights. It was hot and humid so most people ended up going to the airport to wait rather than doing a tour or something. The boat will hold your luggage and arrange for a taxi at a later time to the airport if you want but you’re off the boat at 8am. There’s a small café (10 tables) at the airport that’s air conditioned upstairs before security so I hung out there for a couple of hours with breakfast (reasonably priced for GCM) and free wifi, and then moved out into the open-air covered atrium as they got busier to free up the table. It was reasonably pleasant and still close enough for the free wifi from the café.

Saturday afternoons are nightmares at the airport for departures and at noon an hour-long line had developed to get through security. It serpentined inside and outside like a busy roller coaster at Six Flags. Once through security back into the air conditioned gate area there’s not enough seating for all the passengers for all flights. It’s crowded and noisy, there’s minimal food available past security, and long lines for the women’s restroom. Had I realized it was going to get so long I probably would have gotten in line for security around 11am (for a 3pm flight) and then staked out a seat in the gate area and chilled there.

AT&T International Data Plan worked on all three islands although the cell signal disappeared during the middle of the crossing to/from Little Cayman. Most of the time I could get a signal in my cabin but not always.

I booked the trip in response to a Feb. e-mail that offered 32% off any trip booked by March 5 for the Aggressor Fleet’s 32nd anniversary. It was a fun, easy trip that was very enjoyable and had good diving by Caribbean standards.
Websites Aggressor Fleet   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Galapagos, Socorro, Palau, Cocos, TX Flower Gardens, Hawaii, Bahamas, Caymans, Belize, Cozumel
Closest Airport GCM Getting There Flew non-stop from DFW

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 85-86°F / 29-30°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 75-100 Ft/ 23-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Max Operating Depth, no deco, be safe
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Typical liveaboard camera table, no problems with having the crew hand you your camera after a giant-stride off the stern.
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Report currently has 1 Helpful vote

Subscriber's Comments

By Vicki Schaller in TX, US at Sep 18, 2016 12:59 EST  
Great and detailed review. It hit every point I'd be asking a friend before going to the same location. Thank you!
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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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