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Dive Review of Aggressor in
General Travel/Other Locations

Aggressor: "The other Tragedy of the Sri Lanka Aggressor", Feb, 2017,

by Timothy J Hedrick, IL, US (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports with 5 Helpful votes). Report 9532.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 2 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The Other Tragedy of the Sri Lanka Aggressor
My dive buddy and I were on the Sri Lanka Aggressor for the final Rec Diving week, February 18-25, 2017 referenced in your article (Woes Aboard the Sri Lanka Aggressor, April 2017). We were not scheduled for the following ill-fated week of whale watching, but many of the people with whom we had forged friendships during the first week were. And we were so sorry when we received updates from them about their disastrous experience and injuries. As most travelers know, a few unmet expectations are just a part of any adventure, but a myriad of issues are the ingredients for disaster – and the former Sri Lanka Aggressor seemed to be no exception.

But the other casualty of this failed attempt was the diving. We actually enjoyed it! We knew when we booked this trip back in summer of 2016 that the itinerary would be mostly wreck diving. And while the “reefs” were barren of life, the wrecks surely were not – schooling fish, octopus, lobsters, soft coral and more. Most of the wrecks were in great condition, littered with the cars, construction equipment and building materials they carried when they went down. The stories and legends behind their sinking were equally fascinating. In an unplanned move, we actually dove on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the SS Perseus. We found the wreck-heavy itinerary to be a unique departure from other liveaboards we have experienced.

Yes, the wrecks were deep. And the absence of Nitrox was inexcusable for such an itinerary – tantamount to a tech-dive itinerary without trimix. Repeated, exclusively deep dives on plain air pushed us further into diving limits than we normally venture. Given the pitiful bottom times allowed with air, it took us three full dives to explore the entirety of the Chief Dragon. But luckily our charter was one of the few able to make every dive without weather interrupting the schedule. Previous Captain’s Logs, when the boat was operating, detailed many missed dives and missed days due to weather.

We were not scheduled for the following whale-watching week aboard the Aggressor; rather, we booked a 4-day land tour in this ancient country. Our tour included a private driver and tour guide, along with 5-star hotel accommodations, entry fees, private docents at the different sites, and half board all for a very affordable $575 each. It appeared to be a relative bargain as compared to the 3-day, $2,500, never-materialized Aggressor Tent Safari. We visited four UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well as an afternoon safari and a stop at the Elephant Orphanage. We were equally impressed with the historic beauty of such sites as the Dambulla Cave Temples and Sigiriya Rock Fortress. It was an incredible cap to our 16-day adventure.

With the failed franchise fresh in your reader’s minds, there is an unintended consequence of casting a great shadow over the unique experience we found both above and below the water in Sri Lanka. The wreck diving was exciting and our land tour was of historic significance. Provided someone can iron out all the challenges and launch a successful boat, we would give it a second chance.

A video summary of our trip can be found at [ link]

Divers’ Bios:
Tim Hedrick and Phil Niccolls are both PADI Dive Masters with over 1,500 dives throughout the world and hail from Chicago, IL
Websites Aggressor   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Worldwide
Closest Airport Getting There Chicago > London > Sri Lanka

Dive Conditions

Weather cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy, surge
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 Nitrox on Boat required watching no Deco closely - Nitrox was broken
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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 [None]
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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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