Log Date: Saturday, Aug 19, 2017
Entry By: Bahamas Aggressor crew
Bahamas Aggressor Captain’s Log August 19th-25th, 2017
Air Temp: 82-97 degrees
Water Temp: 82-89 degrees
Second Captain Matt
Video Pro AQ
Photo Pro Gabi
Robert, George, Neil, Michael, Jason, Scott, Mitchell, Bruce, Amanda, Debby, Michel, Ernesto, Jill
Bahamas Aggressor August 12th-18th
Day 1 August 19, 2017
The day started off hot and sunny. Shortly after the majority of the guests dropped their luggage off at the boat, a thunderstorm hit Grand Bahama. About an hour before boarding, the clouds dispersed and the sun came out once again. At 4pm when the guests arrived, they were greeted with blue skies and smiling faces from the Bahamas Aggressor crew.
Most of the group knew each other from their dive club, Wine Divers, located outside Philadelphia. We were also happy to see a familiar face: Jill from last week! She stayed on board and we were happy to have someone who knew the dive sites come out with us once again.
Wine Divers sipped the on glasses of the boat’s signature wine Tidal Force with a meal of fish and pasta prepared by Chef Marco. One guest had a late arrival so we stayed on the marina dock for the night, preparing to leave bright and early the following day.
Day 2 August 20th, 2017 Sunday
In the morning we left the marina promptly at 6:30 to make our way to the first dive site Sherwood Forest. The sun was shining with a bit of wind as the divers began getting ready. In they splashed shortly after 8am. It was a happy start to the day with reef sharks being the number one animal that most divers happened to see.
Onward to the second dive site, Silver Fox Ledge, divers had a chance to see more reef sharks. Shortly after, they happened to see an Eagle Ray as well, not a very common creature to see over at Silver Fox, but a welcome surprise.
The weather was starting to turn gray so everyone had lunch inside before laying down for a siesta.
In the early afternoon, we moored up at Mini Wall I. The current picked up a little bit, but divers still had a chance to see schools of creole wrasse, porgies, five reef sharks and a green moray eel. Once exiting the water, a small thunderstorm surrounded the boat so we waited until the rain stopped to continue to the afternoon and night dive site.
The Sugar Wreck would be the next destination. Divers jumped in shortly after 4:30pm and were greeted by massive groups of grunts and margate hanging around the remaining wreck bulkheads. Big and small puffer fish poked swam in and out of the wreck’s stern, some sticking around to swim with the divers while others shied away. Pugsley, the green turtle, was spotted in the middle towards the wreck’s ribs and swam with some of the divers as they took photos and videos.
After a dinner of steak, potatoes, and sautéed peppers, divers jumped back in the water around dusk to see the wreck come alive! Spotted eels, lemon sharks, and reef shark were seen swimming around the wreck and behind the boat while the resident nurse shark was hiding under the starboard side wreckage. Additionally, two more nurse sharks were spotted. The Loggerhead turtle swam around looking for a place to sleep away from all the camera lights, and little Pugsley went up to the surface for air then swam back down as divers marveled at his speed and agility.
Just before 9pm divers exited the water and were rewarded with a hot towel and hot chocolate with Bailey’s. Because the winds had picked up, we set sail for the shallow sand patch to anchor for the night.
Day 3 August 21st, 2017
The previous evening Captain Dave made an announcement that Day 3 would be a shark-tastic one. He was spot on.
In the morning Second Captain Matt drove us over to Shark Paradise and upon entering the water to hook up the mooring line, more than ten reef sharks were discovered and the triangle had not even been placed in the water yet.
Once the divers jumped in, over a dozen reef sharks swarmed around the triangle while few lemon sharks and a nurse that happened to be passing by. We stayed there for two more dives to get in all of the shark action. With each passing dive, more lemons showed up both on the surface and in the sand. Divers had the opportunity to get up close to the lemons while they had their teeth cleaned.
On the reef itself was a golden tail eel, a variety of triggerfish, hogfish and even a small Hawksbill turtlesurrounded by a Queen Angel fish and Nassau grouper. At one point, a spotted eel emerged from underneath an opening in the coral reef and slithered at its edge, creating a beautiful ribbon movement with its body.
Two cowfish, one scrawled the other honeycomb patterned, were spotted near some barrel coral on two separate dives. We have been to this reef every week since May and rarely have we seen cowfish so this was a special find indeed.
In between dives was a solar eclipse. One guest, Debby, happened to bring a special pair of glasses allowing everyone to get a look at the moon’s outline while it passed in front of the sun.
Once the third dive was finished, we moved over to Hogfish reef for the mid-afternoon and night dives. Many more lemons circled around the triangle and half a dozen lay on the sand near the boat making it pretty easy for divers to get their share of shark sightings without having to travel far.
Shortly before the night dive begun, the mooring line snapped and came detached from the reef. The crew all worked together to ensure that they picked up the line (and Chef Marco who was in the water) and get everything they needed back on board. Because of this unfortunate mishap, we moved back to Shark Paradise for the night dive instead.
At this site, a variety of different lobster, crab, and shrimp were seen in small crevices along the reef. Divers also saw a spotted eel and octopus! Instructor Gabi brought her black light, which was an added bonus for the divers who stayed by her side.
Once the dive was over, divers gathered in the salon for wine and beers as the crew prepared the to anchor at the shallow sand bar.
Day 4 August 22nd, 2017
It was a typical morning with the guests waking up to the scent of bacon and pancakes as the boat headed towards El Capitan.
There was a slight current to report, but nothing out of the ordinary. Once under water, divers were surrounded by schools of chub, jacks and wrasse as a few reef sharks passed by both near and far. About 25 minutes into the dive, an Eagle Ray about 4ft in length swam in the deeper section of the dive site. While not very close to photograph or video the details of its wings, divers could still see it from afar gaining momentum as it sped off into the distant coral heads.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the boat headed back to the marina for the majority of the afternoon. Both crew and guests worked together as a team and by 6:30pm, we were off towards a nightly anchor to head back to the dive sites the following morning.
Day 5 August 23rd, 2017
As the sun rose, the crew lifted the anchor and we set sail to the first dive site Gary Woods Wonderland. Divers got to see reef sharks, schools of chub, wrasse, and some stray porgies around the reef. They also got to see many conchs hanging around in the sand, making a number of different patterns in the directions they were traveling.
Because of the current we decided we would drift the area instead for the second dive. Midway the current died down and plenty of sharks zigzagged with the divers as we made our way north on the wall. We passed groups of spadefish, angelfish, butterflies, and silver sides. About 35 minutes into the dive, a small Hawksbill turtle swam around the group. It even got close enough to wave to the cameras coming within arms length.
During lunch we secured the dive deck and headed towards Stobart’s Ledge to try and spot some Eagle Rays. While a slight current and passing storm made the visibility about 50-70ft, divers still got a chance to see Eagle Rays on both the third and fourth dives. During the dive, some guests swam into the cavern-like cracks in the coral head, posed for photos, and got up close to a large school of spadefish passing through.
With the current picking up towards the end of the fourth dive, the crew felt it best to head over to the Sugar Wreck for a shallow night dive, keeping everyone’s safety in mind.
The divers splashed shortly before the sun set completely so we were still able to see the massive schools of margate and grunts that like to congregate around the wreck’s bulkheads. Normally 10 or so puffer fish can be spotted at the Sugar Wreck but on this night 20+ puffer fish were seen all over the place! Everywhere you looked another puffer or two was coming out of a hole, making its way back in, or traveling to a different part of the wreck. In addition to the influx of puffers, quite a few ocean triggerfish were hanging around the wreck as well. Sometimes we see a few pop up during the day so it was a nice surprise to see so many out and about during the night time hours.
One Loggerhead was in its usual spot; a corner on the midsection of starboard side with its head turned away so it could try to get some sleep. Pugsley the turtle was sleeping under one of the wreck’s ribs.
When the dive was finished, some divers gathered in the salon while others spent a little bit of time relaxing in the hot tub located on the sundeck.
Day 6 August 24th, 2017
On the final full day we headed to the dive site El Dorado. We hoped to get two dives in at the site; unfortunately the current had other plans. But we managed to get in one dive where dozens of barracuda were seen south of the mooring pin. Also the resident octopus was seen by most of the divers who happened to get in some photos before it crawled back under a coral head.
The current and wind picked up so we changed plans and headed over to Shark Paradise, chumming the water while we traveled hoping it would attract some tiger sharks.
At Shark Paradise, we stayed there for the second morning dive and first afternoon one. Dozens of reef and lemon sharks circled around the triangle while divers looked on in the sand patch to the east of the coral head. On the reef itself a green moray eel was spotted towards the end of the reef’s southern tip.
Back on the surface, the weather was a bit unpredictable and a few storms kept coming so we decided to head over to Mini Wall I hoping that the boat would be a bit steadier.
The current stayed at a minimum and the visibility was perfect! Sharks swam around the triangle and divers had a chance to explore the sand patches, gullies and swim-throughs located north of the mooring pin. The real excitement came when a few divers spotted a hammerhead shark way out into the blue. It being far away, no one was able to get a photo. But multiple divers happened to see it so an exciting find nonetheless.
Day 7 August 25th, 2017
For our final day at sea, we had the opportunity to show guests two last sites.
The first was the dive site was Red’s Ledge, a nice deep site. The pin is located around 50ft deep and the main coral head goes down to around 85ft. If you swim farther into the sand, a long line of rope that has lots of coral growing over it is located towards the west around 95ft. Divers had a chance to swim with schools of wrasse, damsel, butterfly fish and a few reef sharks.
After the dive, guests got to enjoy a nice hot breakfast prepared by Chef Marco while watching a slideshow prepared by Instructor Gabi. After two hours of travel time, we arrived at Sherwood Forest for the final dive of the trip.As a nice send-off, guests had a chance to swim with more reef sharks.
With only one more week left in Grand Bahama, it was nice to be able to see so many reef and lemon sharks. Also, getting to see Eagle Rays is exciting for both guests and crew. This week was full of surprises both great and challenging. Our guests were amazing at helping the crew out when they needed assistance and for being cooperative and patient with everything including the weather.
Iron Divers: Jason, Ernesto
Navigation Certification: Scott