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Dive Review of Aggressor Fleet in
Maldives

Aggressor Fleet: "Decent diving but a problematic boat", Aug, 2016,

by Elizabeth Russell, PA, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 10 reports with 6 Helpful votes). Report 9007 has 3 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 2 stars Food 2 stars
Service and Attitude 2 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments We spent the week of July 31-August 7, 2016 on the Maldives Aggressor and it did not live up to our expectations. The boat had many issues, which made the trip very uncomfortable for all on board. On Tuesday, one of the generators quit working and the crew switched to the alternate generator. This generator also broke down, leaving the boat with emergency battery power only. One of the winches that bring up the anchor was broken and the other was unable to work without the generator. Basically, the boat was dead in the water, unable to move because the it was anchored. Most of the passengers were out on a night dive when the generator failed and all the flashlights were on the dhoni for the dive. The crew lit candles, which we felt was a safety hazard. My buddy and I, who skipped the night dive, rounded up flashlights and provided them to the crew, who were using their phones to light the engine room and diagnose the problem. No power means no air conditioning, no water-making capabilities, no tank-filling ability, and no way to move the boat in case of an emergency. The crew moved the bedding onto the deck for passengers who wanted to sleep outside, since the rooms were terribly hot. Since they couldn’t cook, the next day we were provided with lunch at a local resort, which was acceptable, but we were told that one of the crew members had to charge it on his personal credit card and hoped to get reimbursed. We got one dive that day, as the crew was able to fill tanks by asking another operator to help out. The next day, the part arrived to fix one of the generators. It took five hours by boat from Male’ to get the part and the local management pulled up to the stern, handed off the part, and immediately left. They didn’t stay to see if it work or if they could help out. Several hours later, the generator was “repaired,” meaning that it was limping along. We got very low on water since the boat was not able to make water while the generator was out. We should have been instructed to try to ration water, but the crew was very bad at communicating.

After the generator was fixed, the air conditioning was back on but fluctuated on and off all week, going from 75ºF to 85ºF. The rooms had a constant smell of diesel fumes, which made several of the passengers ill. There was also a black, sooty substance that constantly came out of the air conditioning vents. One of the passengers removed the vent in his cabin and said that the filters were completely covered by soot.

Cabin 9 had an air conditioner leak all week that finally got so bad that it soaked the room and all of their clothing and bedding. They had to sleep in the salon as the room was drenched and the floor covering was warping.

One passenger had his camera in a housing on the camera table. When the crew was passing the cameras to the dhoni, they did not check to see if the housing was secured and the camera fell into the water and was not able to be recovered. He lost not only the camera but all the pictures that he had not downloaded. This could have been avoided if the crew had just checked the housing. They did lend him a camera for the rest of the trip but that didn’t make up for his loss.

All diving is done from a dhoni, which means that you have to descend a rickety metal ladder with ropes for handholds to get in and out of the dhoni. This was rough for some of the less mobile passengers. The pickups on the surface were problematic. Unless you stayed with the divemaster you were on your own to use a surface marker and ascend. This happened constantly to photographers who stopped to take a picture and lost the group. Several times we came up and had trouble spotting the dhoni because of the waves. Many divers had to wait from 20-40 minutes on the surface for dhoni pick up. This was especially problematic on night dives, when the seas were rougher and it was difficult to know if the crew had even seen them in the water. The ladder up to the dhoni was difficult to climb, even for the triathlete on board. It leaned backward and you had to fight against gravity to climb with all your gear on. The aluminum was difficult to grip when wet. Some rope tied around the hand holds would have made this easier.

Most issues were with the crew’s lack of communication. We seldom knew what was going on and had to continually ask for information. I know they were as stressed as we were, but an update would have helped. On the last night, when the “awards” were presented, several divers who had reached milestones were forgotten while several others were presented with certificates. This may sound petty, but 400 and 800 dives are significant to the people who achieved them.

It seems to us that the main problems with this operation are with the local management. The crew stated that they had been having problems with the anchor winches and the generators for a long time but the management was trying to limp along with minor repairs when things broke down. They also said that they have complained to the management with not actions taken on their issues. One crew member said that they haven’t been paid for several months.

The diving was good but there is extensive coral bleaching on most reefs. The visibility varied between 30 and 50 feet on most dives. We didn’t experience extremely strong currents but there were some that were a little difficult to swim against. We saw one manta and several eagle rays. Lots of sharks were present on most dives, and large schools of fish were seen on several. I don’t think I will return to the Maldives. The long trip and the expensive accommodations were hard to justify for the quality of the diving and the difficulty we experienced with the boat.
Websites Aggressor Fleet   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Cayman Islands, Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, Indonesia, Fiji, Thailand, Egypt, Galapagos, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Chuuk, Central America
Closest Airport Male International Getting There Doha, Qatar on Qatar Airways had great service

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 81-84°F / 27-29°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 30-50 Ft/ 9-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No deeper than 98 feet and surface with 500 psi (these not enforced)
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Camera table and rinse tank on dhoni and mother ship.
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Report currently has 3 Helpful votes

Subscriber's Comments

By Ms Lynda Durfeein VA, US at Aug 13, 2016 19:13 EST  
Wow! What I difference from my experience in Nov. 2013. Hope you got some $$$ compensation. I'm not a photographer, but I would think it was the responsibility of the owner of the camera to make sure the housing was secure. After all, many of these camera geeks spend ALL their spare time working on their cameras, photoshopping, downloading, etc. (not very sociable). I wouldn't get in the water without checking my gear again if someone else set it up.
By keith brashearin FL, US at Aug 15, 2016 11:54 EST  
I would welcome a dive where no cameras or only a Go pro were allowed. Camera buffs tend to line up and hold the dive up underwater all trying to get a picture of the same thing while thus who are just there for the dive, get to look at photographers backs and fins. I am sorry tis person lost their equipment
By report author: Elizabeth Russell in PA, US at Aug 23, 2016 21:40 EST  
The owner of the camera was a casual photographer. We were told that the crew would only move the cameras if the owners said they wanted them on the boat but they put every camera on the dhoni every dive.
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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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