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Palau Aggressor feedback please?

Discussion in 'The Pacific Islands' started by plc, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. plc

    plc Angel Fish

    Hi there,

    Planning for my next diving vacation and need some help figuring out where to go.
    I’ve been to Maldives, Sipadan, RedSea, Indonesia (Maumere and Alor) and Roatan. Diving wise, Sipand is clearly the one I prefer and the one I would repeat if it wasn’t for the mess caused by the permits required to dive there.

    I’m seriously looking to Palau, specifically the Palau Aggressor but it’s not that easy to get/find first hand feedback on this.

    Those of you who have been there can give me any feedback?
    - I would like to get some feedback on the boat and the Aggressor’s diving operation at Palau
    - The diving: just for expert divers? I’ve read some reviews about the current at dive sites such as Blue Corner, but I also read about a lot of beginners going there… (I have 150 logged dives and reasonably fit)
    - Weather: I know it’s almost the same weather during the year…how is it? Does it rain a lot?

    Other option is to go to Komodo on a liveaboard…
  2. robint

    robint Orca

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Albuquerque, NM
    I can't give you impressions of the Aggressor in Palau but we were on another liveaboard there so I can give you some feedback on the diving.

    It is not for beginners, especially doing 4-5 dives per day but as long as you have good bouyancy and good air consumption you should be fine. ALL dives are done as drift dives, so you backroll off the chase boat, do the dive, then the boat picks you up when you surface. No diving is done off the mothership. All dives are within 5-15 minutes from where the mothership is anchored. They anchor in a safe harbor between two islands, no rocking boat issues.

    Weather in Palau is about the same year round, but there is a rainier season - Aug-Nov you can get heavy downpours that last a long time, sometimes off and on all day. During the rest of year there is occasional rain, sometimes daily, but just quick showers. Vis isn't affected as they are "rock islands" so no runoff. BUT if the skies are gray it will be darker, especially deep.

    They will supply you with a reef hook and teach you how to use it for dives like Blue Corner, Uulong Channel, Peleliu, etc. where you will hook into the reef and watch sharks swimming around in front of you.

    You really should be diving nitrox in Palau, too. Many dives are deep, 80-120' and when doing multiple dives per day you want to minimize your nitrogen load.

    All that said... yes, Palau is possibly the best diving in the world. It has some of the best variety: deep dives, drift dives, wild current, sharks, mantas, anemone fish, blue holes, WWII wrecks, huge schools of colorful fish, hard coral and soft coral. :D

  3. Damselfish

    Damselfish Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boston
    I was on the PA Jan 05. So awhile ago but was a great trip, very happy w/ boat and crew at the time and I'd do it again. I agree it is not beginner diving. I don't know if I would call it expert either, depends what you consider expert. You should certainly have all your skills down and be very comfortable with live boats and currents and have good buoyancy control. The currents vary, they mostly weren't as strong as I believe is usual then we were there, which I think made some of the sites not as good as they're famous for. (Not sure if that is predictable with moon phase or season or anything.) As I recall the greenest diver on the boat had about 100 dives and they were ok.
  4. Mossman

    Mossman Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: SoCal
    One of the finest liveaboards I've been on. Boat in excellent shape (nothing broke our entire week), crew provides excellent service (no need to ask for anything the entire week), food was phenomenal for a liveaboard, and the hydraulic skiff lift makes for the easiest way to get in the water short of diving directly off the mothership. My only complaint was that the "free" wine was $2-Chuck or the local Rock Island wine made from concentrate. Yuck. Fortunately the locally brewed Red Rooster on tap almost made up for it. BYOW if you care about wine since the excellent food deserves better.

    You'll be fine. The boat provides reef hooks and instructs in their use - many people don't listen and then do the wrong thing, but even then the DMs are vigilant at Blue Corner watching for such mishaps and ready to help - there's always someone in the bunch who can't unhook because they've kept their BC inflated.

    Yes. And sometimes it rains really hard. During the dry season, however, it should rain less and you'll sometimes have a cooling breeze. Unfortunately without rain clouds blocking the sun, it can often get really hot. Fortunately there's always an ocean to cool oneself off every couple of hours and the boat's a/c worked decently in the cabins and mostly decently in the salon.

    There's certainly nothing wrong with that idea either. I could easily spend a week diving nothing but Cannibal Rock, just like I could probably do Ulong Channel over and over and over again. Flip a coin.
  5. farsidefan1

    farsidefan1 Loggerhead Turtle Rest in Peace

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah USA
    I did a fair amount of research into liveaboards in Palau. I'll be on the Aggressor in Feb. It is not cheap but it seems more than worth it to me.
  6. altaskier

    altaskier Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Chicagoland, USA
    Also look into the Ocean Hunter boats; I had an excellent trip on Ocean Hunter I in May.
  7. chinacat46

    chinacat46 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Puerto Galera,Philippines
    I'm gonna throw this into the mix. If you like Sipidan you might want to check out Lembeh Strait in Indonesia. If you like macro and weird stuff there isn't a better place for it then Lembeh.
  8. shawrg

    shawrg Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: alabama
    I was on the Palau Aggressor 3 weeks ago. Current on one reef hook dive (Peleliu) was strong enough that the dive guide recommended diving without a camera. There were no beginners on the boat but, the less experienced handled the current & hook-ins ok with only a few missed hookups. Sharks seen on most dives. There were lots of sharks at Peleliu & Blue Corner. Other sites had beautiful, healthy soft & hard coral with tons of reef fish.
  9. cozcharlie

    cozcharlie Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Cozumel, MX and Houston TX area
    I dove with the Aggressor in 2001, 2009 and will be on the boat this September. Obviously as a repeat customer I am pretty happy with the boat and crew. The diving is good, the accommodations were good, the food was good, and the crew was excellent.

    While some of the dives might or might not be considered advanced depending upon your definition, the diving is not really "expert" diving. While it can be difficult to judge a diver by the number of dives, you should be fine given that you said you have 150 dives. The last trip we had a 18 year old with 10 dives prior to Palau--he seemed fine. He may have skipped Blue Corner, though. The currents can be relatively strong at some sites, but there is always a divemaster on each dive and usually (always?) another crew member diving as well--just listen to what they say and follow their lead.

    The Aggressor does offer Nitrox--you should get EANx certified if you haven't already. You will be bumping up against computer limits continually if you try to dive all week on air. Worst case, I think you can do a Nitrox course on the Aggressor.
  10. marpacifica

    marpacifica Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Once upon a time in Micronesia, but now bubbling i

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