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Dive Review of Aggressor Fleet/Raja Ampat Agressor in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat

Aggressor Fleet/Raja Ampat Agressor: "Didn't Have To Be Perfect", Oct, 2015,

by Lee and Nancy Skinner, IL, US (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 8736 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments First of all, we were tempted to compare this trip to one a few years before on the Pindito, a Swiss boat and an early liveaboard in Raja. The Aggressor itinerary differed greatly, however, sailing W and SW from Sarong into the Banda Sea and ending in Ambon. We chose this itinerary since it was 10 days--thus worth the trip from O'Hare. Overall, the diving was mixed, with visibility being quite limited on some days. But overall, the trip was quite enjoyable.
Some days were, as we remembered from the Pindito, "normal" for Raja Ampat: decent visibility and a wide range of macro and other creatures that usually make the trip to Raja enticing. Yet on a few days we viewed very healthy reefs--but a surprisingly limited number of fish. We wondered collectively whether the time of year was relevant--as we also wondered on days when vis could be very limited. The Raja Ampat itinerary began just in June, and this 10-day trip was the first ever for the season. Only the guest cruise director and to some degree, Harry--Nancy and my dive master--knew much about the area. Some dives seemed exploratory, and we suspect that they will be culled from future similar itineraries. Keep up on possible further information about itineraries.
As we have experienced before, possible "specialty" dives can be bummers. One search for hammerheads known to be in a certain area resulted twenty minutes into the dive in abandoning the edge of a reef to an exploration in shallow water with the same 25' vis. Nancy found one interesting fish, but she is a good finder. The best early dive was a lengthy dive at Magic Mountain, a busy manta cleaning station.
Yet the end of the trip wowed the two very professional couples who knew each other: a professional photographer/writer couple and the captain and photo/video pro of the Turks and Caicos Aggressor. These dives were two days of muck diving, especially in the Ambon harbor the day before the end of the trip. Critters, not familiar with the terms "debris" or "garbage," inhabit whatever environment they encounter, even seemingly preferring some of the erratically shaped material on these shallow dirt areas. Snake eels, sea moths, razor fish,and octopus seemed at home. But the star was a "rhinopius" (as best I can spell it: I could not find it in the guides). The four experts on board seemed to feel that the trip was almost worth it just for this fish, possibly in the scorpion fish family. Apologies here to the more knowledgeable.
With a very good variety of nice people on board, the surface intervals and meals were quite enjoyable. Many really positive divers made up for one potentially "challenging" person. We shared experiences freely and benefited much from the conversations about dive locals and photo/video preferences. The atmosphere was quite a few cuts above that of the Pindito.
The food was varied enough and tasty. No one had complaints. But the wine was an interesting experience: the policy was one glass at dinner, the amount pre-poured. Perhaps that rationing was "necessary" since we ran out on the sixth of ten days. To the crew's credit, we were resupplied the last night after they went into Ambon for resupply. Theoretically, one could have additional wine @ $5 a glass. But our occasional requests were unsuccessful, possibly given the limited amount on board. Though wine in Indonesia can be an issue, this boat might check with the Thailand Aggressor.
To his credit, the engineer worked hard to eventually fix our balky cabin a/c. His and the other crew's attitude was enthusiastic, concerned and sincerely friendly. We even shared some guitar music with them. They helped much with this first season of a new Aggressor itinerary. The overall atmosphere on the boat made for a good escape vacation.
A final comment: Garuda, which was the airline of choice for all of us, initiated a new policy re luggage after a date in August. A previous divers' overweight allowance had expired for some, and the overweight charges were very significant. Explore that wrinkle if you fly Garuda to your dive destination. Sarong, the start nearly all the various Raja Ampat Aggressor cruises, is accessible various ways. Study them carefully for connection times as well as cost. You may encounter necessary overnights.
From Chicago, I got by comfortably with a shorty. Others had two layers of neoprene. The 79 temp was very brief on one dive.
Websites Aggressor Fleet   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Nearly all the Caribbean, Coral Sea, Solomons, Micronesia, Maldives, and various other Asian venues
Closest Airport Sarong Getting There Garuda with Jakarta is a common gateway but check other options. See below.

Dive Conditions

Weather rainy, cloudy Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 79-86°F / 26-30°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 25-120 Ft/ 8-37 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions none besides no diving after drinking. Lots of experienced divers here.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments We had many photogs/videographers on board. We all shared space both on the rear deck and at the rear of the lounge very compatibly. Additional charging stations were provided as needed.
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Subscriber's Comments

By carl berensonin WA, US at Dec 06, 2015 12:05 EST  
the town is " SORONG"
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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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