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Turks & Caicos Aggressor II
17 - 27 Aug 2016
Air Temperature: 80° - 90°F
Water Temperature: 81° - 86°F
Visibility: 40 - 100 feet
Recommended Exposure Suit: Skin to 3mil Shorty
Captain: AMANDA SMITH
2nd Captain: CHRISTY WEAVER
Engineer: ROB SMITH
Chef: MATT CRAWFORD
Photo Pro: TROY SANDY
GUESTS: Josh, Fran, Rick, Langston, Molly, Jennifer, Tim, George, Debbie, Barb, Leo,
Thursday - Eel Garden & The Dome - Northwest Point
Friday - Boat Cove & Brandywine - West Caicos
Saturday Anchor - West Caicos, G-Spot - French Cay
Sunday - Half Mile - French Cay, Arches - South Caicos
Monday - Arches & Troy’s Dream & War Head - South Caicos
Tuesday - West Sand Spit, Rock N Roll - French Cay
Wednesday - Elephant Ear Canyon & Driveway & Gullies - West Caicos
Thursday - Amphitheater - Northwest Point
As the guests slowly started to trickle in on Wednesday Afternoon, the crew could hardly wait for the upcoming 10 day charter. People slowly started to pick their dive lockers and tanks for the week, people were shown their rooms and everyone started to settle in for the 10 days of amazing diving ahead. After people had unpacked and started to swap diving tales over a couple drinks, a delicious aroma started to fill the salon. Chef Matt had started cooking and no body could wait until dinner to try his amazing dinner. After dinner was finished, the guests went up to the sundeck to watch the sun set and have a couple more drinks before retiring for the night.
Early Thursday morning, the boat cast off the lines and blew the horn signaling that we were heading out of port. Once out of the marina, Captain Amanda turned towards Northwest Point and our first dive site, Eel Garden. That is a great spot for people to do weight checks and make sure all the gear is working like normal. Below the boat is a large sand patch filled with garden eels. It is always fun to watch them poke out of their holes and sway in the water. From a distance, they look like grass growing but as you swim closer, they start to pull back into their holes and hide under the sand. If you remain really calm and still, they will pop back out and you can catch a glimpse of their heads. Once people finished playing with the garden eels and made their way over to the wall, they swam past multiple Yellowed Jawfish dens with the males protecting and aerating the eggs. If you are patient enough, you can witness the males popping out of the holes and releasing and recapturing the eggs with their mouths before quickly retreating back to the safety of their dens. Down on the wall, Chromis and Wrasse schools darted about while parrotfish munched on the rocks. Decorator crabs were hanging off sponges and lobsters were seen in the cracks. After a quick snack and a second dive to explore some more, the boat moved over to The Dome. There is a large metal dome structure from a failed 80’s gameshow, Pago Pago, underwater that is covered in coral and always has large schools of fish around it. Under the stovepipe sponge structure, a couple lion fish and a very large channel clinging crab were found. Out on the wall, just to the south of the Dome, is a beautiful vertical swim through called the chimney. It starts at about 110 and ends at about 50 feet deep. The channel is full of devil sea whips and gorgonians. Plate corals reach out at you and fire coral is seen lurking in the recesses. After a couple day dives, Rob brought out his toys for the night dive and people got to experience Florescent Light Diving, think 60’s & 70’s blacklight parties but underwater. All the coral and most invertebrates glow!! It is so cool to do and makes the reef look completely different.
As the sun rose over the horizon on Friday morning, the mooring was cast off and the engines roared to life. The boat started the trek over to Grand Turk that would take us past West Caicos, French Cay, and South Caicos. As we neared West Caicos, we pulled up to Boat Cove for the morning dives. The water was blue and the divers ready to splash in for a couple dives before moving on to the next site. During the dives, Spotted and Green Morays were seen along with Channel Clinging Crabs and Spiny Lobsters. The soft corals are always fun to watch swaying back in forth in the currents and people loved spotting the Flamingo Tongue’s munching on the Gorgonians. After two dives here, we moved over to Brandywine. The sandy areas are full of Yellowed Jawfish and Gobies while Morays and Octopus love hiding under the coral heads. Soft and hard corals are on all the rocky outcroppings and the sand channels are full of rays and other fish. While we were underwater, a couple nurse sharks and rays came by to play and to inspect what we were looking at. As the divers emerged from the night dive, they could not wait to get back under the water in the morning.
Saturday started with Us moving over the The Anchor. All the divers were ready to go before the breakfast bell was rung. After a quick bite, everyone wanted to jump in and explore the site during sunlight hours. Down in one of the swim throughs, there is a large anchor that was fouled on the reef by a Spanish ship a couple hundred years ago. It is the signature photo spot on the site and everyone inspected it as they swam past. After inspecting the anchor and looking in the sand for any lost treasure, the divers spread out over the wall and loved watching the sharks and turtles swim by. The anchor was hard to find but once found, it was worth searching for. During lunch, we moved to French Cay for an amazing dive at the legendary G-Spot. Once we got there, the sharks were already waiting for us to jump in and swim with them. At the G of the G-Spot, a bend in the wall that makes a vortex of nutrients, everything from small blennies to large sharks could be seen swimming in a very small area. It is really a cool experience to see the bottom to the top of the food chain al at the same time!
Sunday Morning, we moved over to Half Mile for a couple dives. This site is pretty shallow on the swim out to the wall and always has a couple reef sharks swimming by. People are always looking for jawfish with eggs in the sand. After a couple dives here, we made the long trek to South Caicos and pulled up to Arches. Arches is a beautiful site in South Caicos named for the signature arch swim through. There is usually a school of goatfish or schoolmasters hiding in the shadows of the arch. Stingrays were seen hiding in the sand and turtles were spotted off in the distance. The corals here are always amazing and they did not disappoint with all the colors and shapes that can grow in. After a day dive and a night dive of swimming with all these amazing animals, the divers emerged and retired to their rooms for the night.
Monday Morning, we dove at Arches again. It was just that good people wanted to stay. We figured we would try a couple more sites along the island and moved over to Troy’s Dream. IT had a nice wall with great fish life but not a lot of reef structure. For the last two dive,s we moved to a site called warhead. It has the nose cone from a small plane sitting in the sand that sort of looks like a warhead. The divers enjoyed searching for the warhead.
Tuesday morning, before the sun had even thought of waking up, we headed back towards French Cay. But the weather was so nice that we stopped off at West Sand Spit. This is a very small sand bank that has an amazing reef on it. On the swim up to the anchor, guests swam thru huge schools of fish and were greeted by a large school of Spadefish. These fish are so beautiful as they swim and dance by you. After Diving there for the morning, we continued over to French Cay to Dive Rock N Roll. This used to be Elvis’s favorite site. The nurse sharks were waiting for us and came out to play and show of for us. After an amazing day of diving, the boat continued over to Elephant Ear Canyon so we could jump right in in the morning.
Wednesday Morning, Divers jumping into Elephant Ear Canyon. This site used to be covered in a Elephant Ear sponges but a past storm has since removed them. The grass up near the mooring is full of little critters, seahorses, flapping dingbats, and loads of other nudibranchs. Down on the wall is a drastic drop off that is creased by several sand channels. In the channels are stingrays and morays while wrasse and chromis schooled around the coral heads. Sargent Majors were seen guarding eggs and yellowhead jawfish darting from their dens. After Lunch we dove Driveway and Gullies. Both sites are known for reef sharks and large animals. Turtles were seen everywhere and divers did not want to get out of the water. Once we got everyone out, the boat dropped the line and we moved back to Northwest Point.
Thursday Morning, we jumped in at Amphitheater. This site is absolutely amazing. Down on the wall there is a cut out that looks like a natural music stage, think Red Rocks but underwater! Several large jacks are always hiding out in there watching the fish swim by. Up on the top of the site, the sand flats are littered with coral heads and rocky outcroppings covered in sponges and gorgonians. Stingrays swim from outcrop to outcrop looking for crustaceans to eat and we even witnessed a parade of lobsters walking back after the storm. A couple reef sharks were seen patrolling the wall and making sure the divers didn’t misbehave during the show! Unfortunately, we saw some rough weather coming in and we had to head back into port a day early. We hate missing dives but Mother Nature said no. So we had a relaxing day on the boat once we made the dock and just rode out the rain. Saturday Morning all the guests departed and we hope to see each of them again in the future.