9 - 17 May 2015
Air Temperature: 85F
Water Temperature: 80 - 83F
Visibility: 80 - 100ft
Captain AMANDA SMITH
2nd Captain LOWEL OROURKE
Engineer ROB SMITH
Instructor KELLY CURRINGTON
Chef SHEA MARKWELL
Photo Pro MARK POVEY
GUESTS: John & Nicola, Michael & Pauline, Fabio, Harlan, Richard & Andrea, Lynn & Alan, Rose & Robert, Walter, Donald & Judith, Peter, James
LOCATION: Turks & Caicos, Northwest Point, West Caicos
Sunday – Eel Garden & The Dome - Northwest Point, Providenciales
Monday – Sharks Hotel - NWPT & Boat Cove - West Caicos
Tuesday – Driveway & Spanish Anchor - West Caicos
Wednesday – Gullies & Brandywine - West Caicos
Thursday –Elephant Ear Canyon – West Caicos & Amphitheatre – Northwest Point
Friday – Pinnacles – Grace Bay
As the tropical sun glistens off the turquoise water and the pelicans dive clumsily after their lunch; our guests come aboard smiling and full of excitement. Unpacking and settling in commences immediately and off we go! Safety briefings and the where, when, & hows of the yacht are explained as we make our way around the northwest point of Providenciales to our first dive site of the trip.
Sunday morning starts with a gorgeous sunrise and delicious breakfast whipped up by Chef Shea. After breakfast our guests get their first peek at Eel Garden; a perfect first dive for guests who havent dove for a while as well as those well seasoned divers. Pearly white sand shines up from the bottom and coral ridges line the wall and outline of the site. Little faces with big eyes and a quirky smile sway back and forth in the water as garden eels keep a watch for an easy meal floating near them. Our beautiful guys and girls in gray suits accompany our guests on this first dive to make them feel welcome. The morning light streams through the water and forms a kaleidoscope that only Mother Nature herself can do. A giant condylactis anemone waves its bulby fingers in perfect rhythm in a gentle dance as tiny squat anemone shrimp do back up at the base! After a scrumptious lunch divers slid off the deck into the blue to see The Dome and all it has to offer. It never disappoints. This structure is teaming with life. Schools of Yellowtail Snappers, French and Blue Striped Grunts, and Schoolmasters fill the interior as Damsels and Sergeant Majors guard their home with vigor! The Sergeant Majors have clutches of eggs on the structure which means we will soon have lots of babies! Secretary Blennies and Spineyhead Blennies bob in and out of their holes grabbing a snack as divers try to perfect their macro photography skills. When darkness falls on The Dome, the night shift comes out for display. Our guests who did the Blacklight Try-Dive were happy to find thirty-five Longhorn Nudis crawling about.
Making our way over to West Caicos where the first stop would be Sharks Hotel. Guess what?…There were sharks there! Divers were also accompanied by a couple of very curious Nassau Grouper and not one, but two, Hawksbill turtles. Our next stop would be Boat Cove where eels, clinging crabs, and a slipper lobster were out and about on their daily routine. Sully, our resident queen girl in the gray suit, was accompanied by four male escorts.
West Caicos has so much to offer we stayed and moved over to Driveway to a little cruise. What a lovely stroll it was. Scrawled Filefish and White Spotted Filefish meandered along while Yellowhead Jawfish hovered above their burrows until we got too close and then reversed in like expert drivers. (get it…DRIVEWAY - DRIVERS)
Spanish Anchor was next on our agenda where divers mingled with Trumpetfish, barracuda, and Peacock Flounder. The swim through here is a beautiful path with streams of light from above penetrating the turquoise water and reflecting off the white sand. Nighttime at The Anchor brought out Octopus, lobster scurrying about over the reef, decorator crabs, a massive channel clinging crab, and a Spotted Moray having a squirrelfish for dinner and another ordering a Blue Tang but never getting his order fulfillment.
Gullies would be our next destination at West Caicos where we were lucky enough to have Sully (our Queen Reef Shark) escort us for the entire dive; coming in close for her photo and video ops. She was lead by two juvenile Barjacks staying safely just in front of her pearly whites! A school of Goatfish explored every single nook and cranny of a beautiful coral head while an Atlantic Spade fish danced in the water column above. As divers cascaded into Brandywine soft corals and sea fans swayed back and forth. Spilling over the wall admiring the layers of plate coral we find the stunning magical Blue Condylactis anemone; which when put under light is vibrant pink! Huge barrel sponges decorate the sloping wall like huge brandy sniffers (hence the name Brandywine) waiting for a pour. I think the best find of the week happened here on the night dive when one of our guests found a post larval Bridled Burrfish!!
Elephant Ear Canyon is a favorite of the crew as well as macro seeking guests. This week did not disappoint with plenty of Pipefish, Pipehorse, a Seahorse, and a stareye hermit crab scurrying about in the sand feeding and an Atlantic Long Arm Octopus. During lunch we headed back around to Northwest Point for a show at Amphitheatre where the main stars were yellowhead jawfish with eggs, a gorgeous scrawled filefish, a cute little squat anemone shrimp peering out of its rubbly home, more white spotted nudibranchs than we can count, and Tigers Tail Sea Cucumbers draping the reef.
Friday morning brings us the Pinnacle dive off the famous Grace Bay Beach. As the reef wakes up creole wrasse cascade over the ledge like a fluid waterfall as the underwater world wakes up. The find of the morning was a Fingerprint Cyphoma clinging to a slit pore searod. The guests exited from the final dive of the trip with memories that will last them a lifetime and hopefully bring them back to dive with us again!
From the Ocean to You…