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Dive Review of Aggressor Fleet in
Maldives/Best of the Maldives

Aggressor Fleet: "Maldives Aggressor 2 May 2019", May, 2019,

by Jon Hoffmann, GA, US (Contributor Contributor 13 reports with 17 Helpful votes). Report 10933 has 5 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Travel to Maldives
There are many options on flights to Male. Most passengers got there a day or 2 early to acclimatize to the time zone, or to be safe in case of delayed luggage. Just know that Male is a Muslim town and good luck finding any alcohol. Itís also very crowded and construction is everywhere, so not a lot to do. I personally would rather take the risk on luggage and spend as little time as possible in Male. One couple from an eastern European country had their luggage delayed and the Aggressor did a great job giving them loaner equipment and picking up their luggage at the airport for them the next day. I was told that the airport hotel is the only place in Male with a liquor license. If true, I would stay there next time rather than the Hotel Ocean Grand, which was on the beach, but was equivalent to an airport transit hotel. Aggressor travel hooked me up with the Hotel Ocean Grand and at least they included a shuttle back to the airport to connect with the Aggressor crew to board the boat. The Aggressor picks you up and drops you off at the airport by boat- 200 feet from the airport entrance. Your last night of the trip, you will be taken to Male for a walking tour and dinner for which you will need to pay (about $40). I donít think it is optional, so be prepared for a hot walk through various markets, mosques, etc.

The boat
Early May is the transition period between seasons, but our weather was perfect with lots of sun and no rain or wind. For some reason, the boat only had 7 guests instead of the full load of 22. I was told the boat had been full every cruise so far this year and I have no reason to doubt that. The boat is large at 46 meters and 4 levels, including the upper hot tub/sundeck. I could imagine it would have felt a bit crowed with lack of privacy if full with 22 guest and crew. I was told the boat will be going to dry dock soon to be refreshed, but from the looks of it, most of that will be for a fresh coat of paint on the hull. The cabins are the best Iíve ever had on a liveaboard. The most outstanding feature is the separate toilet, sink and shower areas for each cabin. Itís difficult for me to explain what a benefit that is to most people, but for anyone that has been on a liveaboard before, you know that the bathrooms are generally similar to those of a small RV. This cabin felt more like a small hotel room. I had cabin #11 on the top level, which for the most part was the same layout as the other rooms on the lower deck, except for a larger window. Cabin 7 is the largest and more of a suite at the front of the boat, but it had a worse bathroom layout than all other cabins. The crew is awesome and Tony has assembled a friendly, helpful and hardworking team. They cleaned the cabins every morning and left chocolates on pillows at night. The food was great as the boat has a real kitchen. Even foods I donít normally eat or like were all very delicious- and healthy. Diversity of menu was good, but most meals included a fish dish. One evening we were taken to a private island for an awesome sunset BBQ on the beach. Cell phone reception was available most of the time, which I used for a hotspot for myself, but wifi is available for a charge, but itís basically just a 3G phone hotspot and only works when within cell range. There are 3 camera tables and 2 sets of lockers for camera gear. I recommend staking out a locker soon after boarding the boat as there are only 12 lockers directly above 2 of the camera tables. There are power strips on 2 of the tables with about 5 plugs and 2 USB on each. There are no rinse tubs on the boat, so make sure to do all rinsing on the dhoni. When you check out the last day of the trip, you will settle your bill and provide a tip to the crew which is split equally. There is a $290 park fee plus $100 for nitrox that is not included in the up-front pricing. They accept Visa/MC, but tack on a 3.5% transaction fee. You can pay in $US, which I did, but expect them to come back with some of the bills with an explanation that they canít be accepted unless in pristine condition. Any minor tear, ink markings, etc render them useless in the Maldives.

The diving
All diving is done from a massive dhoni, which is the size of some liveaboards in the Maldives and looks like a mini-me of the mother ship. When you arrive at the Aggressor, you will put all your gear on the dhoni and it will stay there until you leave. There is a crate for wet gear under each tank station, and some shelving for keeping other things dry. Iíd recommend staking out a tank station towards the front of the starboard side. You will have the shortest walk to remove your gear after each dive because the ladder is on that side. There are 2 rinse tanks each for wetsuits and masks and 1 large tub for cameras. Getting on/off the dhoni from the main vessel requires a big stride, but there are always crew there to help. And reboarding the dhoni from diving is easy because of a well designed ladder. But it is still a bit of a climb (8 steps) and could be problematic for those who like to remove their BC & tank before climbing up a ladder. With the passenger load we had, there was plenty of room to stretch out, but I can imagine there is still plenty of elbow room with a full load of 22 divers. But the absolute best thing about the dhoni- 2 awesome showers on the rear platform with unlimited hot water. You might get some dirty looks if there is a full load on the boat, but for me, there was no better place to take off and rinse my wetsuit after each dive. The best of the Maldives itinerary for our trip made a big loop down southward and provided a good diversity of diving in 80-84 degree water with consistent 60-80 foot viz. Some sites saw minor crowds as there are lots of liveaboards in the Maldives and they all seem to hit the same spots. The Maldives isnít a macro haven like Indonesia or the Philippines, but it makes up for it with lots of bigger fish. A night dive on the Alimathaa House Reef will exceed expectations, and the whale shark hunting at Sun Island is hit or miss. But for my trip, we did see whale sharks, mantas, many species of reef sharks, eagle rays, stingrays, tuna, jacks, napoleons, dolphins, turtles, octopi, etc, etc. And clouds of all kinds of reef fish. The coral is a little bleached out in some areas, but there are also other areas of healthy coral. You will also see an occasional nudibranch, leaf fish, and frogfish. There was always some level of current and everyone should bring and expect to use a reef hook on any given dive, which the Aggressor will supply. Currents were always manageable and only about half the dives had medium to strong current. But the crew will divert to another dive site if they believe the current is too strong for a fun dive. Normal days are for 3 dives, with 2 before lunch and one in the afternoon. Night dives were only offered 3 nights. So expect around 18-20 dives total for a 7 day trip. But the ship is so comfortable, you wonít be suffering in anticipation waiting for the next dive. Although you can do you own thing on every dive as long as you have a buddy and SMB/reel, I still recommend staying with a guide to point out the small critters and put you in the right spot for the big stuff. Maximums of 99 feet, 60 minutes and >750 PSI/50 bar are enforced. Itís positioned as more of a government regulation than boat rule.
Websites Aggressor Fleet   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, Costa Rica, Thailand, Micronesia, Maldives, Indonesia, PNG, Palau, Malaysia, Philippines
Closest Airport Male Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, currents, no currents
Water Temp 80-84°F / 27-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 40-80 Ft/ 12-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 30 meters and 60 minutes
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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Report currently has 5 Helpful votes

Subscriber's Comments

By Valera Sakhnenko in ON, CA at Oct 31, 2021 20:13 EST  
Thank you so much for your very detailed report.
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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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