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Dive Review of Aggressor IV in
Cayman Islands/Grand, Little and Cayman Brac

Aggressor IV, May, 2006,

by Wayne LeCompte, FL, USA . Report 2497.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Turks & Caicos, Cozumel, MX; Palau; PNG; Belize, CA; California Channel Islands; FL Keys
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas choppy
Water Temp 82 to 83 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 4
Water Visibility 45 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions The initial briefing by the Captain informed us to limit our diving to a max of 130 feet.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Large camera table with ample storage for camera boxes. Large camera rinse tank, but the rinse water was not changed for the entire 7 day trip.

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments The Aggressor IV appears to be a well maintained and operated vessel, but stuff happens at sea. We had a few marine heads that clogged and/or overflowed. The electrical generator was off line for a short period of time and the crew was unable to bring the standby generator into service. Condensed water built up in the salon AC system and created a minor leak, the crew was able to stem the leak, but the unscheduled maintenance kept them preoccupied most of the afternoon as they clean filters and drain tubes.

The food was good but somewhat short on variety. Meals were served on time, however the Captain required the dinner service to be moved to an early time slot (6pm) whenever there was night dive. The change in schedule usually meant that the last dive of the day was a little short to allow us to return and prepare for the earlier dinner.

The diving was by and large better than average. Most dives had a mild, if any, current. Only one morning with rain, otherwise it was sunny with typical sea breezes. Many turtles were spotted and most allowed us to swim very close while they posed for photos. Not many sharks, but enough sightings to keep us looking. Our best shark observation was on the predawn dive as we hovered on the top of the reef on the edge of the wall we renamed that location Shark Route 66 as the Black Tips were on parade. We also observed Spotted, Green and Purple Mouthed Moray Eels. In addition we saw numerous Nassau, Tiger and Black Groupers. Lots of Southern Sting Rays (in addition to Sting Ray City) and a couple of Spotted Eagle Rays were seen. And those with eagle eyes were able to find Scorpion Fish.

Lots of small critters such as Red Lipped Blennies, Sail Fin Blennies, juvenile Drum Fish, Garden Eels, Yellow Headed Jaw Fish the first time we have seen the male with eggs in its mouth, Manta Shrimp, Flamingo Tongues, and much, much more. We even saw several Channel Flounders. In addition, there were fish cleaning stations everywhere and they were open for business! At one cleaning station we saw several large Groupers and a Great Barracuda lined up waiting for service! Talk about your pecking order!

Plenty of wonderful swim throughs on most reefs, and the walls are steep, deep and spectacular. Unfortunately, there were not many offers by the crew to provide guided tours; I think there were two reasons for that 1) they were short handed and 2) they were busy with the boat because they were short handed. Kat and Tom were last minute add ons to the crew, and they are largely responsible for making up for the rest of the problems with the boat and overall service. Their attitudes and performance were above and beyond.

For those of us who are meticulous about keeping their dive gear clean and in good service, it was a bit disappointing to be on the Aggressor IV. The web site states that the boat has a fresh water storage capacity of 3,200 gals. That sounds sufficient until we learned from the Capt that he can only make fresh water at a max of only 40 gals/hr! That means it would take 80 hours to fill an empty tank, if nobody was using any that is not going to happen with 17 divers and 1 non diver on board. The Captain warned us on a couple of occasions that if we did not conserve water he was going to have to eliminate some water usages. Even before the warnings, the Captain recommended that we hang our wetsuits without a fresh water rinse; the only exception was if you urinated in your suit, then he provided a barrel partially filled with fresh water, without disinfectant, to be used for the whole day. There was also no way allowed to rinse any of our tank mounted scuba equipment (regulators, BCDs, etc). HOWEVER, the captain did give the sundeck a freshwater wash down every morning, and windows and the dive deck also received a fresh water wash down several times during the week. That is not to say that we did not appreciate having a clean boat, but there did not seem to be a proper balance between the boat and the guests

The other odd procedure on the boat that the Captain insisted upon was that you had to change into dry clothes before you could enter the salon or return to your room from the dive deck. It did not mater how dry we toweled ourselves. When we asked where we were to change he offered the deck head (small and a very messy floor as it overflowed several times on the trip), the laundry closet (only a contortionist could pull that off), and the cramped camera dark room all were accessible on the dive deck. OK, now divide those amoung 18 divers!

Also make sure that you read the web site on available dive gear to rent. They do not offer very much, so be sure to bring everything that you need and a few critical spares; for example they do not even have regulators to rent and I blew out a high pressure o-ring on my integrated computer.

Overall, it was an enjoyable trip but below the level of service that we are accustomed to on other live aboard boats. We think that the service also suffered, in part, because they appeared to be short handed; the crew consisted of the Captain + four, which was taxing for the crew to keep up with 18 guests. Overall a C grade when it easily could have been an A+.
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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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