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Dive Review of Aggressor Fleet in
Indonesia/Komodo Islands

Aggressor Fleet: "Disappointing visibility and lots of trash on the surface", Jan, 2019,

by Rene Cote, VA, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 11 reports with 12 Helpful votes). Report 10834 has 5 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations N/A Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 1 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Indo Aggressor: The ship has a pretty high staff-to-diver ratio; there were around 20 crew plus 4 dive guides and 1 in training, and to top it off, my visit was during the off season and we only had 8 divers (versus 16). The service was superb and friendly. Crew washed & hung the wetsuits, moved & rinsed camera gear, and kept the deck and living spaces clean. The ship is a little weathered, but kept pretty clean, and everything worked. My cabin was adequate, and due to low guest count I had it to myself. It would have been a little snug with 2 divers. The bathroom was rather large compared to other Aggressors I have been on - big shower, and lots of elbow room; the only negative was that the shower curtain had some mildew. Meals were plentiful and the chef was really good… it was too much food for me; I gained 4 pounds.

Dive Operations: My first surprise was how new the crew seemed to be. Other liveaboards I’ve been on had guides who had spent years with that ship. The lead guide Diego had just recently joined the team, and the most experienced guide said he had only done 11 trips with the Indo Aggressor; they weren’t young, just relatively new to this ship.

What struck me most though was that the guides would not allow divers to dive on their own. Aggressor markets itself as providing “ultimate service” by giving divers the freedom to pick a buddy and dive within proper limits, but this crew required everyone to follow the guides. When I pointed out to the lead guide that Aggressor usually allows divers to dive their own plan, he said “..that’s not in the SOP..”; however, the next morning Diego approached me and said that he had reviewed the SOP and that I was correct. Here is the language from Aggressor’s “Know before you go” PDF: “While in the water, you and your buddy are in charge. Every dive starts with a dive briefing from the yacht staff. However, as a certified diver, you and your buddy are responsible for planning and conducting your own dives within the limitations set forth by the briefing…. (or follow the guide)”. Despite acknowledging that this was in the SOP, he said something about how the conditions here were much harder and that we needed to follow the guides.

The typical day was continental breakfast available starting at 6am; 1st dive briefing at 7am followed by full breakfast. Dive#2 at 10:30, lunch at 12:00, Dive #3 at 2:30p, Dive #4 at 6pm, followed by dinner. That schedule probably changes during different seasons based on sunset. For our cruise, the ship moved to a new dive site after almost every dive (except for 2 locations).

We had 2 tenders that we dived from, and with 8 divers we only had 4 on each – so there was lots of room; it would be pretty tight with 8. Boat rides were short and there were 2 crew on each tender, plus dive guides. We did roll-back entry, and to get back on the boat we handed up weight belts, BCDs and fins to the crew before climbing the ladder. A nice touch was that after getting back on the boat a crewmember offered us a cup of water and fresh facecloth.

Everyone used Nitrox and the fills were very consistent at about 32%; the staff though did not fill the tanks to 3000psi. I was the only diver with imperial gauges and most of my tanks were not filled (and neither were the tanks of the diver I buddied up with for the week). At one point they were saying that my gauge was inaccurate – but I use both a transmitter and separate high-pressure gauge and both read the same. I pointed out that they only filled the tanks to about 200 bar, which is not the same as 3000psi, and many times the tanks were only 195 and sometimes down to 190 bar.

Dive Conditions: I did the Komodo 10-day itinerary in January, and that is during the rainy season. When we arrived at the first dive site, it was alarming to see lots of trash and debris on the surface – I saw trash and other debris on most of our transits and at nearly every stop; it was a jaw dropper. Visibility below the surface varied from bad, to fair. I would characterize the water as “chunky” at the worse dive sites, but fair viz on about 1/3 of dives (I did 32). At about the 7th day of diving, I noticed mold or bacteria around my silicone mouthpiece; I removed & cleaned it, but it made we aware that the water had “stuff” in it and that I needed to pay closer attention.

Notwithstanding the poor viz, I found the biodiversity and colors of the corals to be absolutely stunning – I can imagine that in the dry season (March to Oct) with high viz that it must be amazing. As with many places around the world though, there are very few big fish – it is fished out. Sadly, on one of our dives we felt the concussions from dynamite fishing – we had to turn around when one of the explosions was rather intense.

Overall, I did enjoy the experience because of the corals; however, I would have had a much better experience not going there during the rainy season.

Videos:
Indo Aggressor 10 days around Komodo Islands highlights (7 minutes):

[youtu.be link]

A 2-minute documentary I made about trash/plastic in Komodo National Park (2 minutes):

[youtu.be link]
Websites Aggressor Fleet   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving All the Cayman Islands, Cozumel, St. Croix, Turks/Caicos, Grand Turks, Bahamas, St Marteen, Saba, St Kitts, Roatan, Utila, Bonaire, Curacao, Tobago, Belize, Hawaii, Palua, Yap, Okinawa, Florida Keys
Closest Airport Labuan Bajo (LBJ) Getting There All the guests flew to Bali (DPS); I went there 3 days early to recover from jet lag. Then you fly Garuda Airlines to Labuan Bajo (LBJ).

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 78-83°F / 26-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 10-30 Ft/ 3-9 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Despite being an Aggressor franchise yacht, the crew did not allow divers to do their own dives. The dive briefings always repeated "stay with the guide"
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 2 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 The camera table is on the dive deck under cover of a roof; though in a storm water sprays onto the table. The charging stations were in the galley, which was great because the batteries and chargers were not exposed to salt spray while charging. The electrical ports are European, not US 110V, so an adapter is required if using a 110V cord.
Was this report helpful to you?
Report currently has 5 Helpful votes

Subscriber's Comments

By Elizabeth Russell in PA, US at Sep 17, 2019 14:20 EST  
I liked your videos. They are quite well done.
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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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