Turks & Caicos Aggressor II
20 – 27 May 2017
Air temperature: 75° - 84° F
Water temperature: 79 - 81° F
Visibility: 50 – 80 feet
Thermal recommendation: 3mm or 5mm full wetsuit
Captain: AMANDA SMITH
2nd Captain: CHRISTY WEAVER
Engineer: ROB SMITH
Chef: JESSICA POLK
Video Pro: CONOR FERRIN
Instructor: MICHAEL WEINBAUM
Mary & Chuck, John & Sarah, Steve, Ray & Kelly, Reid SR & JR, Laura & Steve, Daniel, Brittany & Christine
Sunday - Eel Garden & Dome, NWPT
Monday – Gullies & Brandywine, W Caicos
Tuesday – Spanish Anchor, W Caicos & G-spot, French Cay
Wednesday – Rock ‘N’ Roll, French Cay & Boat Cove, West Caicos
Thursday – Elephant Ear Canyon, West Caicos & Stairway, NWPT
Friday – Pinnacles, Grace Bay
Ok so in the continuing saga of the TCAII and its cast and crew of salty submariners, the new week brings us 15 new guests from all over the world. Many of the guests are return if not multiple Aggressor divers so it certainly seems like a good week to come. Introductions and safety briefings done, we all sit back dine on some good food, get all sorts of cozy and settled then crash out for the night. We wake from our slumber to the harmonic reverb of diesel engines kicking over and its off to Eel Garden we steam.
We moor up in calm seas and sunshine for dive 1 of the trip, everyone is eager to get wet so its quick is the word and fast the action and soon enough 17 of us are gliding along the wall at 80 feet with a perfect sunlight cresting the edge. Engineer Rob and Mike are guiding to start the day. Twenty minutes in a smiling dive guides keen eyes pick up a shape that seems off; yup after closer looks and some refocusing, guest Laura found a frog fish pitched between two branches of rope sponge quite literally in a picture perfect position. Guests as well as crew are ecstatic and surprised, cameras are clicking, people are excited and this is dive 1!!! We do another dive here and after the whole crew and guests assembled have photographed this unique creature we break for lunch and steam over to The Dome. Everyone eats and fills up on energy compares pics of previous frog fish and is keen to get wet at The Dome. The rest of the afternoon and night fly by in a series of relaxing and colorful dives. The Dome at night is as always a crowd pleaser, and the day is done.
The morning is sharp and pink and guests awake to smell of bacon, we have moved over to Gullies on West Caicos in the morning and after a superb breakfast from our southern Chef Jess, we hurl our beings into the blue abyss and really kick that caffeine into gear! Reef Sharks, turtles, schools of blue chromis and an occasional spotted eagle ray make their presence known on dive 1, and so far as is the way West caicos is a winner. We double dip Gullies, and after the swim through is dove, poised in, photographed and loved, we slowly work the wall and enjoy the radiance of color and the healthy colonies of hard and soft coral. Feeling rather puckish we finish our dive and return to our vessel for lunch. The crew move us to Brandywine, another great dive site on West Caicos. The afternoon dive are fun for all, from peacock flounder to southern sting rays, lobster to crab, everybody is really in the swing of it as we watch the sun swing across the sky and bid us back to the boat for dinner. A night dive is had by a few intrepid divers always keen for the experience, whilst a host of non-divers are relaxing salon side with beverages and laughter. A perfect end to a great day.
We wake up and head to Spanish Anchor, a favorite sight here on West caicos. Everybody loves the site and we snap the requisite photo nest to the near 300+ year old holdfast lodged in the reef wall. It’s a great day to be alive as we knock out two dives on this site, teeming with life both pelagic and macro, something is to be had by all to create lifetime memories. We head in for lunch and with a clear weather window we steam over to French Cay and tie up at G-spot!!! Great lunch lead into great afternoon dives, a massive cubera snapper is frequenting the site and everybody just loves the underwater topography, hours drift by and soon its dinner time. Chef Jess does it again and all satisfied and fed, some opt for conversation and others for the night dive. Nurse shark bumper cars is the only real way to describe the scene down there. What a terrific location for a night dive and what a memory we now all share.
Wednesday morning finds us steaming over to Rock N Roll, at French Cay, which as some humor would have it, is actually rocking and rolling, as a touch of wind has Poseidon kicking up the seas a bit. We have 2 amazing morning dive along the wall and everybody is quite happy with their time and experience on French cay, so its lunch in the gullet and bow to the wind as we head back into the leeward comfort of Boat cove, back over on West Caicos. The wind have tempered here in the lee, and seas are dead calm. We spend the afternoon and evening frolicking with multiple reef sharks, eels, and wouldn’t ya have it, eagle rays again! The night dive is a good time as well and by this point we are all in need of a pillow so its crash time for everybody and the boat is calm and quiet as we move into Thursday.
Thursday starts its magnificence with a calm morning still sheltered in the loving leeward comforts of West caicos. We move over to Elephant Ear canyon and after a hearty breakfast, its back into the aquatic breach we head. The first dive here is visually stunning with great lighting and waterfalls of blue chromis and all the usual suspects found on our reefs. Dive 2 is just as lovely with a variance on the wall and a collection of healthy coral life. 60 minutes goes by and a blink and we surface hungry and ready to eat! Jess makes it easy to get our feed on with another tasty lunch and as we eat, we steam over to Stairway on North West Point for our afternoon and night dives. Stairway is awesome, great wall with a change in topography gives us all a good time. We have the requisite visit from curious reef sharks, some cero mackerel and wahoo fly by in the blue, loads of barracuda linger and as usual a countless variety of reef fish mingle around us making it feel like we are diving in an aquarium of polished jewels. We do 2 afternoon dive here, then dine on a scrumptious and perfectly prepared thanksgiving meal, Jess has outdone herself yet again, and those brave enough and not in a full on food coma, get ready to do the night dive. We have 5 in fore the night dive, 3 of which are full on cruising for Iron Diver. The night dive is peaceful and rewarding and as folks warm up with rum infused hot chocolate, we throw off and steam over to Pinnacles in Grace Bay, our final dive site and we brief the salty cast and crew as we plan a 6 am dawn dive, time to really test the iron diver resolve!
Dawn comes early on a boat, but the guests have stirred from their slumber and hit the dive deck with vigor, the 6 am dive gives everyone a chance to see the reef awaken and transition from nocturnal to diurnal and after an hour of bubbles, meet the dive deck and hungry divers dry off and make ready for their final splash of the trip. Grace bay, and more specifically Pinnacles, offers up a unique underwater landscape. Canyon-esque spur and groove reefs drops off at a slanted wall with isolated and heavily habituated coral heads. We spend the dive watching eagle rays and turtles. We all smile and blow bubbles, enjoying our final peaceful hour of subsea tranquility. We all return safe sound and happy. Another great week gone by, awesome diving, great guests, new friends and overall good times. We make it back into the marina and start to re-provision as most guests head off to explore the island. The idyllic trade winds blow and the sun shines as we ready for the wine and cheese party at 6. I suppose in the end we must just take Dr. Seuss to heart, “Never cry because its over, but smile because it happened’’.