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Dive Review of Aggressor Fleet in
Indonesia/Komodo to Bali

Aggressor Fleet: "Indo Aggressor - Time for an overhaul", Oct, 2017,

by Carol D Cox, FL, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 20 reports with 14 Helpful votes). Report 9836 has 2 Helpful votes.

Photos Submitted with this Report

Click on an image to see an enlarged version and captions

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments I have sat on this review for quite a while because I really hate to be so negative about an operation, and owner Wayne Brown has been pretty good to me at times. But I finally decided to go ahead with this review because divers need to know what they are getting into when they book the Komodo Dancer.

We booked a 10-day trip that travelled from the island of Labuan Bajo, near Komodo, to Bali. I expected to be diving at several islands along the way, but the itineraries on the Aggressor website did not go into details about this trip, and I guess I should have asked more questions before booking.

On day 1, we did not dive as indicated on the itinerary. I was not surprised because I had read several Captainís Logs from previous trips that said they didnít dive ďdue to late arrival of some guestsĒ. However, all the guests (except one that was meeting us in Komodo the next day) arrived on the morning flights as instructed, so we werenít given a reason for the missed dives. It seems there was plenty of time to head over to Komodo and get in a couple of dives, but it didnít happen.

We received our briefing the first night from our cruise host, and many guests were surprised when he said our itinerary did not include visiting the Komodo dragons. This also differed with the itinerary, and if I had known, I would have flown to Labuan Bajo early and done a day trip to see the dragons. I wasnít the only passenger dismayed by this news, and the cruise director arranged it so passengers had a choice of dragons or a dive. My husband opted to do the muck dive while I visited the dragons.

On the third day of our trip, the boat lost the larger of two generators. This resulted in the crew not being able to pump nitrox. To fill the air tanks, they had to turn off power to half the cabins. It was bad enough losing power in the two master cabins on the top deck, but I canít imagine what it was like to be without power and air in the cabins below.

Things got really interesting on day 6 when we lost most of our fresh water supply due to a leak in the tank. This happened in the morning and we were told it would be fixed when we came in from our morning dive. When we came back in from the dive, and found no showers available, you could tell which divers had tinkled in their wetsuits (need I say more). It gets worse; imagine all the people on board using 'the facilities' with no place to wash their hands before going through the buffet line for lunch. The crew could have set up some wash buckets of salt water at the very least. The crew finally hand carried the remaining water up a flight of stairs to dump it in a camera tank and we were provided a cooking pot for rinsing off. It took two days to locate and fix and leak and we lost some dive time when we went to an island to stock up on fresh water because the reverse osmosis system couldnít catch up fast enough.

After day 6, we lost even more dive time. Instead of stopping and doing dives in route, we spent 1 ½ days at sea to get to Bali. If I had known this in advance, I probably would have saved my money and booked a local cruise around Komodo. Other itineraries, such as ones to Cocos or Socorros, are very clear on how much time you will spend at sea, but not the 10-day Komodo trip.

Once we arrived on Bali, the boat deviated from the online itinerary again. We were expecting Tulamben and the Liberty Ship Wreck, but got Padang Bai and the Jetty. Padang Bai is a great place for diving Bali, but it is not the Liberty Ship, Baliís top dive site. And on the day we dived Padang Bai, visibility was not good. It was also obvious that the Aggressor divemasters did not know these sites well.

The boat itself is not set up well for divers. The crew has to load and unload your kit down and up a flight of stairs between every dive. Often, they were hard on the gear. My husbandís BC knife was cracked and I had a compass pop out and lost. I heard other passengers complaining to the cruise director about damaged gear.

There is no restroom on the main deck of the boat where you dive, relax, and dine. You must go up or down the stairs to your cabin when nature calls or you simply want to wash your hands before eating.

Some of the showers, especially the one in Master Cabin #8, had badly placed drain holes causing shower water to cover the entire bathroom floor. Depending on how the boat was listing, the water even ran out onto the bedroom floor when underway.

The air-conditioning units in the main lounge were having issues. If you didnít have A/C in your cabin because they were filling tanks, you didnít have a cool lounge to retreat to.

We were never briefed on how they did diver accountability. I think they did it by counting fins in the chase boats.

I will say that the crew worked very hard at their jobs. It took a great deal of manpower and effort to get the gear on and off the chase boats between dives. The staff that waited on us during meal time were very attentive. Meals were plentiful and OK, but the Indonesian influences were not my favorite, especially one meal of duck over noodles that was extremely spicy.

The divemasters gave good briefings and were usually attentive on the dives. They were all pretty good at pointing out the macro creatures photographers love so much, like ornate ghost pipefish. As a macro photographer, I usually lagged behind and did manage to get separated from the group a couple of times, much to the chagrin of my husband. This was the first time to this part of the globe, and I managed to add lots of great photos to my collection. This included lots of nudibranchs, shrimps, crabs, anthias, damsels, crocodilefish, frogfish, pipefish, and even manta rays.

One of our divemasters had a difficult morning. My group was settled in a chase boat and on the way to dive Moyo Rock when one of my buddies realized she had a bad O-ring (she failed to check her equipment before it was loaded in the chase boat). We returned to the Indo Aggressor and the O-ring was quickly changed out. We headed back to the dive site, when our divemaster found he had a bad O-ring. Back to the Aggressor again, and instead of getting a new O-ring, he handed his tank over to get a new tank, thinking this would be faster. Well, just as the crew was handing him a fresh tank, the chase boat was pulled away by a wave, and the full tank went into deep water in a ripping current. We wasted a couple of minutes on a fruitless search before going back to the boat for another tank. We got to Moyo Rock, a large pinnacle, when our divemaster realized he forgot his face mask. He let our group start the dive without him while he went back to the Aggressor for his mask, and caught up with us about 20 minutes into the dive.

All-in-all, I enjoyed the diving on this trip and would like to return, but the 10-day Aggressor trip is not worth the extra cash you have to lay out. I would not return to this ship unless it is hauled out and some major upgrades are made.

For our troubles, the $150 park fees were waived, we could pick out a free shirt from the limited stock, and we were not charged for our two days of Nitrox use. In addition, we were offered a $350 voucher to be used on Aggressor within 1 year, which we negotiated to 2 years. We are going to give Aggressor one more try to Cocos. I hope it is a better boat.
Websites Aggressor Fleet   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, Bahamas, Florida, Turkey, Palau, Truk, Mexico, Red Sea, Cypress, Guam, Indonesia, Revillagigedo
Closest Airport Labuan Bajo Getting There Use to book domestic flights. Domestic airlines require an Asian credit card. Aggressor charges a huge convenience fee for the domestic flights. Travelindo was only $5 more than the published rates, and we paid through Paypal. You can use credit card to pay overweight baggage fees from Bali to Labuan Bajo. You need cash in the other direction. Our extra suitcase and camera gear ran us $80 total.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, currents, no currents
Water Temp 69-82°F / 21-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 20-100 Ft/ 6-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Return with 500 psi (not strongly enforced)
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Space for a large number of photographers were adequate. More power outlets would be nice, but we were able to make due with what was available. Rinse tanks were roomy. Rules were not enforced to keep drinks off the camera table. Even the staff set trays full of drinks in that area.
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Subscriber's Comments

By report author: Carol D Cox in FL, US at Oct 10, 2017 12:10 EST  
Sorry, I forgot to put in the correct dates. This trip was March 2017.
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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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