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Dive Review of Aggressor Fleet in

Aggressor Fleet: "Excellent diving and crew, good accomodations, bad food", Jul, 2017,

by William H Johnston, CA, US ( 1 report with 1 Helpful vote). Report 9869 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 1 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments I had been on the Tropic Dancer twice and found it bullet proof: excellent diving and crew, adequate accommodations with a single supplement, and good food with much variety for a picky eater such as myself. Because it is a lot of travel getting there for one week of diving, this time I decided to book back-to-back weeks.

After I booked the trip, the Tropic Dancer was renamed the Rock Island Aggressor. When I arrived on the Rock Island Aggressor, I was told that the second week would be on the Palau Aggressor and I would have to move, which was accomplished easily with excellent help from the crew.

I first dived in Palau in l991 as a beginner, and returned for a land based trip with a local dive club several years ago. The diving was again as expected, with lots of big animals and schooling fish, some strong currents at the drop offs, magnificent sites such as Blue Hole, and a wonderful drift dive in Ulong Channel. The highlight of the trip on the second week was diving with spawning giant bump head parrot fish; check out videos on You Tube.

In recent years, I have become more interested in invertebrates, especially tunicates, and they were few and far between. Other invertebrates were more plentiful, but not nearly to the extent at Indonesia.

The crew was excellent as expected, being courteous, skilled, and helpful.

The big disappointment this trip was the food on both boats. While on the Tropic Dancer food was never an issue, this time it was a major concern.

Instead of an early small breakfast before the first dive, and a larger hot breakfast afterward, there was only one rushed breakfast at 6 am with both cold and hot items. We were expected on the dive deck at 6:45 am for a 7 am dive. The cruise director the first week said that it was the usual Aggressor policy, and it was easier on the cook.

Morning snacks after the first dive during the first week were excellent and included warm chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies, and excellent warm brownies served as we disembarked the skiff by beaming crew members.

Morning snacks the second week were served upstairs in the salon were reported to be heavy and greasy, so I opted for cat naps instead.

Lunches on both boats lacked the variety I had come to expect on the Tropic Dancer.

The cook the first week was not very skilled and served there was undercooked poultry and overcooked fish. One lunch was almost entirely of raw fish, with several unappetizing choices including hard boiled egg sushi. I should have asked for a peanut butter sandwich.

The cook the second week was skilled in cooking techniques, but over salted many items with hands full of salt and had very odd menu choices such as a dinner salad consisting of 3 deviled egg halves on a bed of smashed peas.

He interpreted my request of "no red meat" on the guest information survey to mean that I was a vegetarian, so I got lots of salty zucchini or several asparagus spears even though I repeatedly told him that I was not a vegetarian.

The snacks at the two farewell cocktail parties were embarrassingly stingy, in keeping with much of the rest of the food on the trip.

I suspect that the Aggressor people in Palau have cut the food budget. While I used to strongly recommend the Tropic Dancer to those I meet on my 3-4 dive trips each year, I will no longer do so for the Rock Island Aggressor and Palau Aggressor because of the disappointing food.
Websites Aggressor Fleet   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Indonesia, Fiji, Solomon Islands, PNG, Sipadan, Thailand, Caribbean
Closest Airport Koror Getting There Asiana Airlines via Seoul, Korea; ANA via Tokyo with no difficulties

Dive Conditions

Weather rainy, cloudy Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 82-86°F / 28-30°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 20-150 Ft/ 6-46 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions I'm a conservative diver and encountered no problems with restrictions.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments The brand new point-and-shoot camera that I brought to document invertebrates flooded on the first dive, so I had no camera for this trip. I had used an early model of the same camera for 2 years before it failed.
Was this report helpful to you?
Report currently has 1 Helpful vote

Subscriber's Comments

By Dan Gowen in FL, US at Oct 14, 2017 05:59 EST  
I wonder why overall rating is 5 when the food was so bad. Umm!
By report author: William H Johnston in CA, US at Oct 14, 2017 10:13 EST  
The lousy food is reflected in the Value for $$ rating of 3 stars, which would have been 4 or 5 stars had the food been the same as on my previous 2 trips on the Tropic Dancer. I don't go on dive trips for the food, but for the diving, and that was 5 star on this trip, as it has always been for me in Palau. That's why I keep going back. Next time, I will try another boat.
By Ryan Black in MI, US at Oct 14, 2017 11:35 EST  
Sorry to hear about your camera! What kind was it? Hopefully you had accident protection insurance for it!
By Dan Gowen in FL, US at Oct 14, 2017 11:46 EST  
Understand and agree on the main purpose,nth at said, food is next for me. I was just there on a land-based trip at Sam's Tours. I noticed a Schooner live aboard called the Siren, I believe. Looks interesting. Koror is the airport, I believe.
By report author: William H Johnston in CA, US at Oct 14, 2017 12:23 EST  
As I said, I am a picky eater so the food on the Aggressor boats might be to your liking. However, on other boats they listen to what you say on the guest information form and provision accordingly to accommodate the food preferences of their clients. The Siren Fleet has a dismal safety record, so I wouldn't consider it. I rode to the Koror airport in the hotel van with 3 people who had been on the Ocean Hunter III and were very pleased with their experience, especially the food.
By report author: William H Johnston in CA, US at Oct 14, 2017 12:29 EST  
The camera that flooded was a Nikon Coolpix AW130, which was under warranty so Nikon replaced it without question. I tested the new one in a bucket of water when I received it, and it didn't flood, so am hopeful that it will be okay on my upcoming trip to Raja Ampat. After I bought the AW130, Nikon brought out a new version called the W300. It looks the same as the AW130, but has slightly different dimensions and some added features.
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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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