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Dive Review of Aggressor Fleet/Cliffside in

Aggressor Fleet/Cliffside: "Excellent time in Palau", Jan, 2015,

by Bonnie MacKenzie, BC, CA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 9 reports with 5 Helpful votes). Report 8101 has 1 Helpful vote.

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 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments After many dives in the Caribbean and Hawaii, the consensus amongst our group was that Palau is the most diverse, fishy, and colourful location we'd dove, with lots of healthy coral.

We were actually on the Tropic Dancer, not the Aggressor, although the two boats have the same layout and are owned by the same company.

We thought the Tropic Dancer was in pretty good shape, and our rooms were larger with more drawers and storage than previous liveaboards we've been on (Explorer and Aggressor). The food was great and the dining room had 3 tables of 6, plus a 4 person bar. Staff was friendly and helpful, although with one exception, the divemasters didn't point out as many things underwater as other trips I've been on. Top deck had 2 hammocks, 4 recliners, and several tables and chairs. Sun and shade. The air conditioning worked properly.

Something to point out - with Palau liveaboard diving, there is no scary, multiple-hour overnight boat ride from the original harbour to the main diving area. I think the longest leg the whole week was maybe 1.5 hours, and in very calm waters. For a person with poor sea legs and a friend that gets seasick, this was ideal!

All diving was from a skiff, and everyone left their BCDs, tanks, and fins on the skiff. Most skiff rides were 5 - 10 minutes, up to about 20 minutes for 2 or 3 dives. The water was very calm, with only a bit of chop when going over the outer reef.

The diving was great. For those that like the big stuff, there were plenty of reef shark encounters on several dives, although not as "up close and personal" as Turks and Caicos. We saw 4 or 5 mantas at German Channel cleaning station one day. And plenty of turtles on multiple dives. The reefs seemed to be very healthy and beautiful, and there were lots of tropical fish around. For us Caribbean and Hawaii divers, we loved the Anemonefish sightings on almost every dive. Not so many crabs, lobster, or shrimp as I've seen elsewhere. For those that like nudis, there certainly were some interesting sightings, but perhaps not as many as they hoped for.

Several moments that stood out for me: Being surrounded by millions of beautiful jellyfish while silently snorkling. Searching and finding Peacock Mantis Shrimp in the sandy rubble. Watching the shrimpgobies perched outside their holes while their "pet" (slave?) shrimp did the housecleaning. Being engulfed in huge schools of black snapper, jacks, and redtooth triggerfish with sharks cruising through while hooked in. Watching the manta "dance" at the cleaning stations.

The Cliffside hotel is not someplace we'd stay again. We spent one night there before our trip and two nights afterward. It's adequate, but not great. My friend hated the hard beds and thin pillows. Small bathrooms. Our coffee pot didn't work. When we made the original booking, we were told that there was a reciprocal deal with the more luxurious Palau Pacific Resort to get complimentary use of their pool and beach facilities during the day, and access to the restaurants, spa, etc. However, when we arrived, we learned that the Cliffside Hotel had been leased to a different company, and the reciprocal deal was no longer being honoured. It cost us $50 per day per person to gain access to PPR (although they gave you a $20 gift card per person to use at any on-site restaurant or facility). One of the staff members aboard the Tropic Dancer later told me that I was lucky they honoured by reservation at all, and he knew of some reservations being cancelled outright. We weren't impressed, but paid our money and had 2 great days poolside at PPR. They have a great house reef for snorkling, only 2 - 4 feet deep in many spots.
Websites Aggressor Fleet   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Saba, St Kitts, Turks and Caicos, Belize, Utila, Roatan, Costa Rica, Sea of Cortez, Cabo Pulmo, Catalina Island, Kona, Kauai, Maui, BC.
Closest Airport Koror Getting There United Airlines: Vancouver - Honolulu - Guam - Yap - Palau.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 85-86°F / 29-30°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 80-120 Ft/ 24-37 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Return to surface with 500psi. Stay with group on hook-in dives. Recreational depth limits.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 4 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 Two large camera tables - plenty of room, and most couples had at least one camera or GoPro. Plenty of charging stations. Two Camera rinse buckets. Staff loads your camera onto skiff and hands it to you once in water. Lounge had plenty of plug-ins for laptops. No place in bedroom for charging equipment.
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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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