Log Date: Saturday, May 30, 2015
Entry By: Turks & Caicos Aggressor Crew
Turks & Caicos Aggressor II
30 May - 6 June 2015
Water Temperature: 79° - 82°F
Visibility: 80’ - 100’
Captain MARK POVEY
Video Pro LOWEL O’ROURKE
Photo Pro SHEA MARKWELL
Instructor KELLY CURRINGTON
Chef AILSA KELLY
GUESTS: Tom & Deb, David & Ellen, Mike & Patricia, Mike & Jane, Darryl & Vanda, Robert & Meghan, Tim, Blain, Kerrie, Caroline, Carolyn, Dana
LOCATION: Turks & Caicos, Northwest Point, West Caicos, French Cay
Sunday – Eel Garden & The Dome - Northwest Point, Providenciales
Monday – G-Spot & Rock-n-Roll - French Cay
Tuesday – Spanish Anchor & Magic Mushroom - West Caicos
Wednesday – Gullies & Elephant Ear Canyon - West Caicos
Thursday – Elephant Ear Canyon, Driveway, & Boat Cove - West Caicos
Friday - Amphitheater - Northwest Point, Providenciales
It’s a beautiful day in the Turks and Caicos Islands with the sun high above the marina making the yacht glisten in the azure waters we are so proud of. We are pleased to have members from Island Hoppers dive shop in Nashville, Tennessee fill the entire charter this week. Guests arrived and board our boat ready for a fun-filled week of adventures in some of the best diving in the Caribbean. They unpacked their dive gear and readied their stations, then headed down to see their cabins and settle in. Captain Marc gently guided the vessel out of Turtle Cove marina and around to the northwest point of Providenciales, while guests dined on a fabulous meal prepared by Chef Ailsa. Yacht safely moored and bellies full guests learned all about the safety procedures on the boat and introductions revealed who everyone is and how much we all love diving and some sure-to-come good times.
As the sun peeks over the island and the lights from Amanyara glow on the beach, guests stagger up the stairs still sleepy eyed but ready for their first day of diving. Eel Garden is the perfect place to start the week. Pearly white sand under the boat is home to hundreds of Garden Eels who entertain divers as they get re-adjusted to the undersea world. Along the coral ridge lining the sand hides a resident Green Moray who is very shy and decided to only show his/her tail to us. Along the wall Neck Crabs hang out on the gorgonians and sea plumes snatching their snacks from the water column and Spiny head Blennies pop in and out of the tiny holes with eyes wide and expressions priceless! It’s a good thing they are not any bigger than they are as they would be terrifying. Perched precariously on a purple sea fan was a teeny tiny Flamingo tongue so cute! Next we moved on over to dive The Dome, an iconic destination on the charter. Remnants of a French-Canadian game show from the late 80’s, its story is as intriguing as the site itself. The structure is covered in Secretary Blennies, beautiful sponges and Christmastree Worms. Inside the Bluestripe and French Grunts hang effortlessly like wind chimes waiting for a breeze. Something seemed out of place though a Cubera Snapper sat motionless as if to blend in with the sand, but I saw him! The wall is not to be neglected here with wire coral crawling with Wire Coral Shrimp, sea fans, gorgonians, and of course our guys and girls in the gray cruising around.
While guests were showering and getting ready for a good night’s sleep one of the guests was washing all the hidden spots when he suddenly felt a strange sensation under is arm and thought something had a hold of him! He jumped back trying get loose from this monster that had him in its grip when he realized it was his silicone ear plug that had been stuck in his armpit hair all day. In his words the funniest part is that his “friends” on the boat never said a word to him even though they noticed it, thinking it was some kind of growth.Then the next day when they noticed it was gone they still didn’t ask what had happened to it…he’s re-thinking his friends list!
Next we headed out to French Cay so we would be ready for the morning. G-Spot would be our first stop at this remote little place. The guests were delighted to see our sharks before they even geared up. The water was crystal clear and vertical visibility was perfect from the surface to the floor. As they cascaded over the deck into the blue, they were greeted by them and escorted to the wall. We have such attentive creatures! One of the spectacular sites was a collection of six queen angelfish circling a massive barrel sponge with two gray angelfish watching from the next sponge over. While doing their safety stop a large school of horse-eye jacks circled continuously under the boat keeping them entertained. After a fantastic Mexican style lunch we made the short move over to Rock-n-Roll for more underwater fun. Elvis’ favorite dive site was not a disappointment for us. A young nurse shark followed us around the entire reef like a puppy and made divers giggle underwater (which admittedly caused a few masks to flood) and put smiles on their faces. The topography here is stunning with massive barrel sponges and sea fans decorating the top of the reef and the wall and gorgonians swaying to and fro in the gentle current. As night fell over the reef and divers slipped into the dark, the sharks showed up again for some fun interaction. An Ocellate Swimming Crab escaped unscathed as the sharks followed the lights, flowing over the coral heads hunting for their dinner while we watch in amazement at their fluidity. They are magnificent creatures!!
We bid farewell to French Cay as Captain Marc headed to West Caicos were the diving is always spectacular and has something for everyone from the macro critters to the big guys. Spanish Anchor would be our first stop and as expected delivered tons of treasures. A very handsome Green Moray posed with several of our divers in hopes of making it into our slideshow he wants to be famous ya know! Jacks schooled in the sand chute under the anchor while a scorpionfish lay motionless on the top of the reef in almost perfect camouflage (I say almost because WE saw them!) Eyes from a southern stingray peered from the sand watching the divers pass overhead.
After lunch we scooted a little north to Magic Mushroom, where there is an abundance of critters to behold! As divers descended from the dive deck, huge Gray Angelfish greeted them with their pretty white smiles and gorgeous gray suits. Queen Triggerfish showed perfect buoyancy while hovering upside down blowing out their pray in the sand. Lobster Tower housed two Caribbean lobsters and a gigantic Conch was on the move!
After a delicious dinner and a good nights’ sleep we hopped over to Gullies for a couple dives. When divers come down the chute and out into the blue, they are met by a wall of indescribable beauty. Huge Barrel Sponges, Wire coral, and Sea Fans decorate this masterpiece like a kaleidoscope of color and movement. A white Mantis Shrimp cleans house and four-eye butterflyfish move in perfect synchronization along the wall. Have I mentioned how blessed we are to see this beauty! Now for the macro loving photographers in our group we stopped at Elephant Ear Canyon. This site truly does have something for everyone. With “Macro Land” under the boat full of pipehorse, pipefish, and stunning headshield slugs a sea horse! Conch raced around the sand and stingrays glided over them hunting. At the edge of the reef Mother Nature decided we had been really good and presented two more seahorses!
For our last full day of diving we stayed along West and moved over to Driveway where we played with Yellowhead Jawfish who were fearless as they floated above their burrows like little ghosts and snatched their meals from water as we watched. A resident reefy circled the perimeter keeping us safe from any impending danger. With bellies full after a hot lunch by Chef Ailsa we made our way to Boat Cove our final site at West Caicos. Before we even made it to the wall we watched a MASSIVE Yellowline Arrow Crab. On the other end of the spectrum was a tiny Gaudy Clown Crab crawling over an encrusting sponge they are so cute! A juvenile Spotted Drum danced under a sponge on the wall as we drifted by and we were pleasantly surprised by a pair of African Pompanos traveling by. Up in the shallows were some juvenile Longsnout Butterflyfish and Redspotted Hawkfish! We love baby fish! Some of the guests were treated to a pair of Hawksbill turtles one of which ascended to the surface for a breath and then came back to join us on our dive…Awesome!
Captain Marc took us back around to Northwest Point and stopped for the final show at Amphitheatre. Before the sun even rises above the island divers slip into the dark and cascade over the wall. In the Amphitheatre are schooling Jacks and beautiful black coral and barrel sponges. The wall lights up as the divers torches pass over highlighting the Lobsters and crabs that are out in force hunting. As the sunlight slowly starts to pierce through the water the reef starts to come alive. Fish seem to appear our of the coral heads like popcorn from a pot. It’s one of the best things about a dawn dive watching the reef wake up!
Guests had a great time and celebrated with one of their traditions - YUCA! A big thank you to Island Hoppers for bringing this group to share a fantastic week about the Turks and Caicos Aggressor with us. Come back again!
From the Ocean to You…