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Dive Review of Aggressor Fleet/Jardines Aggressor in
Cuba/Gardens of the Queen

 
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Aggressor Fleet/Jardines Aggressor: "Cuba on the Jardines Aggressor", Nov, 2016,

by David Marchese, PA, US (Contributor Contributor 13 reports with 21 Helpful votes). Report 9430 has 4 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments The diving was good, but my expectations of seeing the Caribbean how it was 40 years ago, I guess, were not realistic in retrospect. Like we've seen elsewhere, hard corals are in the small minority with soft corals and sponges covering most of the reef. Regardless, the reefs were quite healthy overall. I had hoped to see more hard corals and more colors. While healthy, the reefs were largely monochrome tan-brown. While elk horn and stag horn varieties were almost nonexistent, brain-type hard corals were fairly common. Most were small, but we did see a few that were in the 5’ to 6’ range.

The fish life was very good. While not like the Pacific, the fish density (yellow-tailed snappers, grunts, and pork fish mostly) was high on most dives. We also saw moderate schools of blue chromis, which were reminiscent of the old days. We also saw many large groupers and even 3 - 4 Goliath groupers, which I haven't seen is years. There were groups of maybe a dozen tarpon on a couple of dives. We saw grey reef sharks on about every other dive, with 1 - 3 in a group when they did show up. The boat didn't do any feeding or chumming, but the behavior was that of sharks that have been fed.

We did two dives with about a dozen silkies just under the skiff. They got close and made good photo subjects. Again, while they weren't fed on this trip, they were definitely there looking for food.

The snorkel with the crocodile was very cool and unique. However, it only lasted about 20 minutes and we didn't get a 2nd opportunity. I would have liked to do it at least once more, but the captain said the itinerary would not allow it.

After three day-dives, we were given a choice of doing a night dive either as the sun set or waiting until after dinner at 8:00. We chose the early dive every night except one. There were large crabs, basket stars, sleeping turtles, large sleeping hog fish, lobsters, and eels at night. We had an excellent octopus encounter on the 8 PM night dive.

Overall, with a flat sandy bottom at around 60’, clear water, and zero current on most dives, this is an ideal location for beginners. For experienced divers, it is certainly good (if not the best) on the Caribbean scale, but it’s still obviously the Caribbean, so I recommend keeping that in mind. While 80 – 82 degrees may make you think 3mm, the constant wind made me think that I should have brought my hooded vest to wear under my 5mm. One couple from MN did every dive with just a skin, but I think they were robots.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, Turks & Caicos, Bay Islands, Bahamas,
Fiji, Saba, Maldives, California, Revillagigedo, Cozumel, Midway, Kona,
Galapagos, Panama, Palau, Tahiti, Cocos, Tonga, PNG, Komodo, Sulawesi,
Holbox, Solomon Islands, Belize, Komodo, Raja Ampat.
Closest Airport Havana Getting There Miami - Grand Cayman - Havana

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 80-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 50-100 Ft/ 15-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Most dives were 60' or shallower. There are no walls. Dives were limited to 60 minutes, and they wanted the group to stay together. They were fairly lax, but wanted all divers (9/skiff max) within sight throughout the dive.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 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 They have a dedicated 3-tier camera table (about 7' square), an air gun, and a good size rinse tank. As this was a new boat, the crew seemed a little unfamiliar with how to handle DSLR rigs, but they did a good job with assisting divers with passing gear from main boat to skiff.
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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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