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Turks & Caicos Aggressor II
6 – 13 May 2017
Air temperature: 70° - 80° F
Water temperature: 77° F
Visibility: 50 – 80 feet
Thermal recommendation: 3mm or 5mm full wetsuit
Captain: AMANDA SMITH
Engineer: ROB SMITH
Video Pro: CONOR FERRIN
Chef: JESSICA POLK
Instructor: MICHAEL WEINBAUM
Instructor: MAT SLATT
GUESTS-Bryan,Holly- Kathie, Kathryn-Bill, Lynda-Wayne,Buddy-Ed, Jamie-Ken, Misty-Don, Carol-Nancy, Winnie-Mike, Marc
Sunday – Cathedral, Pinnacles - Grace Bay, Amphitheatre – North West Point
Monday – Spanish Anchor – West Caicos, Rock ‘N’ Roll - French Cay
Tuesday - G-spot – French Cay, West Sand Spit
Wednesday – Elephant Ear Canyon & Boat Cove - West Caicos
Thursday – Gullies - West Caicos, Dome – North West Point
Friday – Eel Garden - North West Point
Perfect weather, clear water and new guest kick start our week here on the TCA11. Our crew is salty and sun kissed ready to go and our guests are eager and enthusiastic. We have a myriad of personalities on board this week, from old salts to new divers to a lively bunch of ladies who live for diving, Canasta and good times. Within minutes of having folks settled, the vibe is fun and all can tell this is going to be a memorable week. We settle in the new guests and our galley gal Jess, fresh from vacations charms us all with some home cooked southern love. The night passes swiftly and as the engines kick over 18 souls drift off to sleep rocked in the cradle of the deep.
Sunday morning begins with a light breeze and perfect clear water. We moor up on Cathedral, a fantastic site in Grace Bay which aptly lives up to its name. With sheer walls, unique structure and a grandeur of scale all are in awe and wide eyed with their first dive. After shaking the dust off during dive one, we moor up on Pinnacles, another great site in Grace Bay. Dive two is stunning, eagle rays, reef sharks, massive schools of horse eyed jacks and all the other reef critters are out in full force. The overhead sun streams shafts of light making the wall seem ethereal, the hour passes like a blink and we are chomping at the bit for more. The day’s dives so far have created some serious appetites and Jess is ready to feed the need!!! Wine marinated tenderloin fills our bellies and soon we are kitted up and ready to go for our third dive site, a night dive on Amphitheatre. Rob leads the black light dives and blows the minds of those lucky divers with and underwater disco flashback as the rest of our divers are treated to massive channel crabs, lobster, shark, eels and rays all doing what they do at night. We round out the hour with warm showers and Jamaican rum post dive hot chocolate.
Off we steam to West Caicos under blue skies and strong sun. We tie up on Spanish Anchor, Feed the guests who are still chatting about the night dive, the true to our ‘’eat, sleep, dive’’ motto, in we go! West Caicos delivers in style. Sharks everywhere, cascading waterfalls of creole wrasse and blue Chromis pour over the wall as we explore the beauty of this desolate island. Our guides pinpoint every critter, both the usual suspects and the camouflaged and cryptic as well. Scorpion fish and Juvenile peacock flounder are all making an appearance and 18 happy divers blow bubbles of happiness and contentment as the hour passes with not a second less then spectacular. A very cool surprise greets us as we steam over to Rock N Roll in French Cay, the whole boat is greeted by a pod of 5-6 Pilot Whales that join us for fifteen or so minutes. So it’s more food from Jess and then it’s back in the water. A few ladies stay dry and go for a few glasses of wine and a game of canasta. The rest of us are once again hurtling ourselves through the liquid abyss, with a lower sun and no current another amazing dive is had by all. French Cay is yet again a locations that never fails to impress. The cast and crew of this fine vessel are well fed, smiling and kissed by the tropical sun.
Tuesday we are still at French Cay a spectacular isolated little island known for its nurse sharks and unbelievably healthy reefs. We tie up at G-spot, and all 18 splash, and o what a treat French is. The walls are literally teaming with life, every color of the rainbow is present as the 450 plus species of Caribbean reef life is out in full force in perfect light and great conditions. The site aptly named G-spot………is always a thrill! Passing reef sharks fly by us like mini airplanes as nurse sharks seem to be found between every coral head. The occasional eagle ray passes by and our southern sting rays are omni present in the sand, closely chased by their symbiotic reef buddies, the bar jack. After this dive we quickly head over to West Sand Spit, a very unique and isolated dive site. We drop anchor and hurl ourselves into the blue. The isolation combined with the vibrant blue hues make for a memorable dive. Sting rays seems to be everywhere and all of them approachable to within inches. Great photos and film stock is taken and we are all quite happy to have had the chance to dive here, guides and guests alike have a high level of stoke factor after this dive and although we love it, the vote comes in unanimous….we will do our night dive back on G-spot, as everybody wants to see the Nurse sharks. So we eat, heartily, recharge our batteries both internal and lithium alike and as God’s flashlight dips into the horizon we all collectively witness a green flash, an omen that tonight’s dive with be surreal. French reef at night is most accurately described as diving in an aquarium with better colors and bigger fish! From rays to sharks, macro to micro, the night dive is truly breath taking and after about a 70 minute dive, the PSI runs down and hot chocolate and sleep lure us back to our floating home.
The crew wakes at the rosy wisp of dawn breaking and we untie and make way back over to West Caicos where we tie up on Elephant Ear Canyon. The guest stir from their slumber, inhale some breakfast and its back on deck, kitted up and in we go. The topography of this dive site is spectacular. With tiers enormous elephant ear coral and chutes brightly encrusted in hard coral we swim the wall smiling and staring. Some just gaze as if using this morning dive as a meditation ritual, others are armed with camera and talent and so the hour passes. It is yet another great dive, another great day with 18 lovely guests and a crew that well, is simply just awesome. Back to the breathable atmosphere we return to shower, eat and for some…..get busy with a heated game of Canasta and white wine, 2015 vintage preferred. Dry, fed, and ready to go we head over to Boat Cove for another excellent dive. The fates have treated us well and there is literally not a cloud in the sky nor wisp of wind. We throw ourselves into mirror calm waters and descend for a classic Caicos wall dive. This time we are treated to schooling barracuda and some rather large Nassau groupers out and about. Some of our guests have eyes like an eagle and here we find Sea horse, which is always a crowd pleaser, and a very cool find, in addition a few long horn Nudibranchs are spotted in the sand. A few turtle grace us with their presence and yet again the azure waters we dive please and impress everyone. Daylight fades and we feast on some of Jess’s southern cooking, then a few of us opt for the night dive as others seem a bit tired, or more accurately have been soaking in a hot tub tipping back a few icy adult beverages. The dive is, as always a crowd pleaser, Rob stuns more guests with his fervent passion for fluorescent night dives and the rest of us just enjoy the nocturnal difference of reef life under artificial illumination. More Hot chocolate, more rum cream, a few Oreo cookies and by 10pm the ship is as quiet as a church.
Thursday finds us back in West Caicos at Gulleys a delightful sight with a breathtaking wall and of course gully like under water topography. The conditions are beautiful and the dive itself follows suit. A perfect hour passes at depth all creatures big and small are spotted and a few guests diligently fill out their fish survey sheets as many other click away in search of the perfect photograph. We finish the dive, get warm dry and relaxed as we make our way over to the Dome on North West Point. Being a signature sight with a very unique backstory, the Dome is just FUN FUN FUN! Having man made structure adds a different touch to the already gorgeous reefs and encrustation and habitat inspection is had by all. A few of the newer divers are amazed at how much growth can aggregate on structure in a few years’ time. The rest of the divers bear witness to schooling shoals of grunts, large grouper hanging about and a few of us with keen eyes spot a sailfin blenny hiding in his little nook. Everybody has a great dive and we are all eager to revisit the Dome under Nocturnal conditions to see what stirs in the night.
Friday shines its new day with a dead calm sea, zero wind and a hot tropical sun. The guests arise shocked to realize we have made way in the night, and all 18 voraciously attack breakfast keen to get wet for their last two dives. What a dive it turns out to be. Eel Garden has Groupers feeding on lobster right of the wall, dozens of reef sharks gliding their figure eight patterns in the blue, free swimming moray eels and a few turtle round out what seems to be a perfect dive. There are a few things in life everybody should experience at least once, and witnessing a reef come to life from dawn to full sunlight is truly something to behold. We push the dive to around 75 minutes as everybody just wants to stay down and play, spawning tube sponges are gazed upon. We giggle, swim, blow bubble and enjoy and as our gauges tick down we return to the surface, awake and awestruck at just how spectacular the diving here can be.
Seven days has flown by. Perfect guests, amazing food, world class diving and all inside the scope of a flawless week of tropical weather. As usual new friends have been made, memories are created that will last a lifetime, and that’s what it’s all about. Live the dream, dive and travel, be an active participant in our subsea lifestyle while relaxing in the comfort and safety of our great crew. We head into Turtle Cove Marina, tie up our beloved TCA11 and take on tasty fresh victuals aboard the boat for the upcoming week. The sun is bright overhead and hot as the crew makes fast work of everything, we are all quite keen on the wine and cheese party tonight. More laughs and fond memories to be had for sure. The upcoming week will have some large shoes to fill as we will miss this week’s cast and crew of our ship.