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Dive Review of Cayman Aggressor IV in
Cayman Islands

Cayman Aggressor IV, Nov, 2011,

by Jim Garren, FL, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 8 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 6328.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Bahamas, Hawaii, GBR, Red Sea, Roatan, Maldives
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 83 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Depth limited by nitrox mix, no diving after using alcohol
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Large carpeted camera table, with charging station below for batteries, dedicated fresh water rinse tank near exit from dive platform.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments This was our fourth liveaboard and kind of last minute compared to planning for previous trips. We visited the Maldives in April of this year so we had not planned to do another week long dive trip until a friend and dive buddy mentioned she was booked for this one and indicated there were spots still open. Having someone we know to dive with had great appeal so we decided to join her and we were happy we did.

The short flight time of just over an hour from Miami was welcome as we live in south Florida, way less painful than our trip in the spring. Pickup by van at the airport on Grand Cayman by Aggressor IVcrew came off without a hitch, but did require two trips to accommodate all divers.

First impression of the boat was excellent and only improved as the week progressed. No mechanical failure of any kind diminished our week long stay on CA-IV. Aside from our cabin being somewhat small, the boat is easily the nicest one we have used to date. The dive shop owner who arranged the trip said at one time the boat only had two heads until it was revamped to include one in each cabin, which probably explains the small size of the rooms. Built to accommodate 18 divers, there were only 11 the week we were on board plus 6 crew.

All staterooms are on the lowest deck, accessible via steep steps in the main salon, excellent handrails assist with entry, two other exits are available from this level for emergency use. The main deck includes the spacious main salon with dining tables, big screen TV, and computer desk, the pilot house was forward of the salon, the dive ready area at the stern.

The dive portion of the main deck includes generous seating and storage area for each diver, integrated fill whips for air and 32% nitrox, rinse tank and hanging storage for wetsuits, a huge camera table with charging station below for batteries and a large dedicated camera rinse tank. The dive platform is reached from the ready area by steps with handrails on each side of the boat; divers can enter the water between the two large ladders or from each side of the platform. The large stabile ladders made for easy exit when returning to the boat after dives.

My wife who has had hip replacement surgery chose to gear up on the platform, crew members transported her gear from the ready area prior to each dive without complaint, as well as her camera which earned largest camera distinction awarded tongue in cheek at the cocktail party held the last night of our trip.

The third deck is a nice place to relax in the sun or shade depending on preference. Some meals were served on the top deck when weather allowed. Soft drinks, beer and wine are always available in coolers here and in the main salon. Consuming alcohol was an automatic end to diving for the day for any who elected to imbibe. The hot tub on the third deck was popular with many on board following night dives.

Dive guides were in the water on every dive for those who wanted to follow them. Divers were treated with respect and permitted to dive their own profiles with little restriction except for depth as dictated by the 32% nitrox mix being used my most on this trip, cost for nitrox is an additional $100 per week per diver. Safety was emphasized by the entire crew; divers were checked for return after each dive by CA-IV crew who recorded dive time and depth for reference should an emergency occur.

Only two sites are normally visited each day, the boat was usually moved following the second morning dive. The typical schedule was breakfast including eggs to order between 6 and 6:30, dive briefing at 7:15 with first dive immediately afterward. The second dive, often on the same site, followed around 10:30, lunch was served at 12:00, the first afternoon dive usually occurred at 2:30, the second around 4:30 for the usual 4 dive day. Night dives were offered every night on the same site as the afternoon dives and were popular with many divers. Several nights the moon was nearly full during our trip which made for excellent night diving.

Weather the week of our trip was excellent, typically a few clouds each morning then sunny for the remainder of the day, no rain at all. Wind was from the north and east the first few days then came more out of the northwest, the wind direction was the one factor that contributed to disappointment with the trip. Seas were about one to two feet with some larger swells a couple of days, the captain insisted the wind was wrong for visiting Little Cayman or Cayman Brac. While I would not disagree with a professional responsible for the safety of those onboard, I was surprised by the decision to remain entirely on the south and west sides of Grand Cayman.

We often dive in 4 to 6 foot seas where we live in south Florida aboard day boats in the 30 foot class; CA-IV is a 110 ft. vessel. Certainly a run to the other islands might have resulted in some passenger discomfort, but our group consisted of experienced divers who came for first class DIVING. Captains of similar sized boats in Australia and the Red Sea were not intimidated by rough conditions in order to reach the best dive sites. I can only hope the captain of CA-IV truly made his decision to stay on Grand Cayman based on his assessment of conditions and NOT due to the economic pressure of having less than a full complement of divers the week we visited.

So how was the diving you ask? We enjoyed the diving, in part because of the company. Underwater topography was impressive and very different from reefs in south Florida with many pinnacles or bommies for those familiar with that term. There are many swim throughs as well as cave like passages and walls falling away into the abyss, we dove several wrecks including the newly sunk Kittiwake and all were enjoyable.

That said, the reefs themselves were unimpressive, far fewer and smaller fish than we see locally, much of the coral had a brown appearance, I am not a biologist so I hesitate to say it was dead, but overall it did not seem to be healthy compared to other destinations. Spear fishing is restricted here and we did see many large snapper, grouper and hogfish unlike Florida waters. We also saw several turtles of small size, but only 3 sharks in 26 total dives, two nurse sharks and one small reef shark. Dive briefings promised possible eagle ray sightings on virtually every dive, our group of three saw NONE on the entire trip.

Food quality and quantity as well as service aboard the boat were all first rate; sadly however the diving is what we will remember and it came up a little short. For others contemplating this liveaboard boat, hopefully our experience was an aberration, and your trip will make it to the other islands where I understand the diving is much better than that on Grand Cayman. All factors considered we will definitely consider another Aggressor liveaboard, perhaps the diving on the next one will live up to the high standards reflected in boat condition and customer service aboard Cayman Aggressor IV.



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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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