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Dive Review of Palau Aggressor II in

Palau Aggressor II, Mar, 2008,

by Charles W Donaldson, AZ, United States ( 2 reports). Report 3942.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Considering the time and expense, a trip to Palau and a week on the Palau Aggressor II had better be good. It was. Everything worked as advertised. We were picked up at our hotel at the time promised and whisked to the vessel. Greeting and orientation was conducted in a friendly, but professional fashion.
First thing Monday morning, we were doing the first dive from the Aggressor. Our return was to the skiff which was our dive home for the rest of the week. Tanks and BCs are kept on the skiff and filled in place. There is room for fins and other bulky gear on the skiff so you don’t have to keep moving it around. On return from a dive, you board the Aggressor with wet suit on and have the opportunity to rinse gear and hang it up on the dive deck. There is room for the max 18 divers that Aggressor carries. A hint for future passengers: Avoid the last row of seats in the back of the skiff. There is little room to don fins, you eat lots of outboard exhaust and the skiff crew uses your space for boat access while docking. As advertised, the skiff is raised up to the level of the dive deck for boarding and de-boarding.

The Aggressor Crew, food, accommodations and service were excellent. You could even not dive and have a good time aboard. Captain Mike and his staff were super. The food was plentiful, varied, and very good. There were vegetarian alternatives available at all meals. There was bottled wine and beer on tap, with the standard “have a drink and your dive day is over” caveat. Cabins were appropriately sized – not huge, but not too small, and the beds were comfortable and made up each day. Nobody used the hot tub the entire trip – but it was there. With the exception of the land excursion on Peleliu (which is worth it for anybody with any WWII interest, or if only from a “when am I going to be back to Peleliu” standpoint), the “Eat. Sleep. Dive” motto is appropriate.
The diving was good, but not so much better than Turneffe Island in Belize or the Southern walls in Cozumel that I would undertake the trip and the expense more than once. The highlight of the trip was several opportunities to “hook in” on Blue Point and watch the sharks, barracuda and Napoleon Wrasse swim in front of and around you. I was concerned about using a reef hook, but there is ample dead coral to hook on to without damaging the reef. Safety is a priority with excellent briefings, EPRIB locators, safety sausages and knives part of the dive package. Divers were allowed to dive their computers and to venture off on their own. Avoiding the group was not terribly easy since most dives involved a live boat and movement with the current. Staying in one place or leaving the group made pick up at the end of the dive subject to delay. 2 days offered 4 dives per day, 3 days offered a 5th night dive making at least 23 dives available for the hardcore diver. Nitrox 32 was available and virtually required if you intended to make all or nearly all the dives. Fortunately, instruction and Nitrox computers were available (and encouraged) for the non EAN qualified divers. All 18 of the divers on our trip ended up using Nitrox, with 5 getting certified onboard. Each daylight dive had 3 dive guides (rotated among all the crew, including the Captain). 18 divers tended to produce a “gaggle” of people and bubbles early in every dive until people spread out. Because we were in a moonless period, tides and currents were frequently not what the guides expected. Although briefings accounted for current in multiple directions, we frequently dropped in and ended up swimming against the current. Several of us were frustrated by the dogged determination of some of the guides to swim into the current when a more pleasant dive would have been had by staying in one place or even going the other direction along a wall. This culminated in an extremely unsatisfying second dive at Ulong Channel, which included 15 minutes solid of hard kicking straight into the current in Ulong Channel. There were divers crawling on the rocks, pulling each other along trying to keep up with the guide – not a good dive. However, there was redemption on the next day – Jellyfish Lake and Chandelier Caves. Snorkeling in Jellyfish Lake is certainly a once in a lifetime experience – the jellyfish are stingless and plentiful (we were told there were 15 million in the lake), and being on the Aggressor gets you there before any of the crowds show up, so you have the place to yourself. It’s an awesome experience and excellent photo-op. Chandelier Caves is a 4 chamber cave dive with a 30ft max depth and some fascinating air chambers. The stalactite formations are amazing, and the swim-out with lights off into the eerie blue glow was creepy and fun. No cave certification is required.
Bottom line: Great trip and experience – once!

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, Sea of Cortez (5 locations), California Channel Islands, Puget Sound, Hawaii
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy Seas calm, choppy, surge, currents, no currents
Water Temp 80-84°F / 27-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-100 Ft/ 15-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No major limits except diving your computer. Dive sites tended to force grouping
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 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 Camera Facilities were excellent
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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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