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Turks & Caicos Aggressor II Captain’s Log
05 May - 2018
Turks & Caicos Islands
Air temperature: 75° - 78° F
Water temperature: 80°F
Visibility: 100+ feet
Thermal recommendation: 3mm/5mm full wetsuit
Captain: Amanda Smith
Engineer: Rob Smith
Chef: Brynne Rardin
Chef: Sarah Pearson
Photo Pro: Conor Ferrin
Louis & Sharon, Carol & Brent, Kynda & Sean, Steve, Dennis, Irv, Carsten, Eric & Erica, Jeff & Julie, Patrick & Laurel, Richard, and Etienne
Our Dive Sites
Sunday: Eel Garden & Amphitheatre - NWPT
Monday: Driveway & Boat Cove - West Caicos
Tuesday: Spanish Anchor & Brandywine – West Caicos
Wednesday: The Dome – NWPT Gullies – West Caicos
Thursday: Elephant Ear, Magic Mushroom – West Caicos
Friday: Two Step – NWPT
Guests boarded at Turtle Cove Marina at 2:30pm excited for their week ahead aboard the TCI Aggressor II. Ten of our guests unloaded their dive gear into lockers as they mingled excitedly as the boat departed the dock. Shortly afterwards, we dropped Anchor in Gracebay, where we would excitedly await the arrival of our remaining eight guests. Once all guests were on board, Captain Amanda gave a thorough safety briefing and everyone was filled with the delicious food prepared by Chefs Brynne and Sarah. All guests went to bed happy and dreaming of the dives they would experience in the week to come.
As the moon shown bright over Gracebay, the engines came to life, and we made our way to Northwest point for our first day of diving at Eel Garden. This site is an attraction due to its light sandy bottom that is covered in Garden Eels. Divers enjoyed these first two dives, and were delighted to encounter the reef sharks, a spotted eel, and neck crabs. After a satisfying meal of rich tomato soup and a creamy beef stroganoff, we moved Amphitheatre, an enthralling dive site which, as the name suggests is shaped like an Amphitheatre. Here, our divers happened upon Black Coral, Yellow Headed Jawfish with eggs and a beautiful blue peacock flounder. After a delicious meal of Maple Soy Salmon and Peanut Satay Noodles, our night divers braved the dark waters for their first night dive of the week. On this dive, divers were excited by the variety of lobsters and crabs they saw, and the vibrant life that takes place at night here at North West Point.
All who slumbered were awaken by the breakfast bell and the smell of frying bacon. After a hearty breakfast all divers were back at it again this morning at Driveway. Here divers encountered Southern Stingrays, reef sharks, and a condylactus anemone. The divers were exuberant about the many sharks on this dive and how close and comfortable they felt with the divers. Satisfied with this dive site, we moved on across the water from Norhwest point to West Caicos to one of our favorite dive sites Boat Cove. Here, divers were greeted by Sully, the resident female reef shark and her posse. Also here divers were delighted to see another peacock flounder and banded coral shrimp. The night dive brought an abundance of night life including octopus, orange ball coralimorphs, spotted spiny lobster, nurse shark, and stingrays. Those who enjoyed the dive were greeted by hot showers, hot towels, and a hot cup of Hot Chocolate with a splash of Caicos Cream to top it all off for another perfect day in Turks and Caicos.
As the sun broke over the island the engines roared to life once more and we moved from Boat Cove to Spanish Anchor an exciting site that is home to a swim through with an anchor encrusted in Coral from an old Spanish Ship. A wonderful place to take photographs and enjoy the natural coral life, here divers witnessed two scorpion fish, one on top, and one hiding away below a coral head, a balloon fish, reef sharks, Hamner’s tritonia (nudibranchs) on gorgonian sea plume, and much more. But the Scorpion fish was the word of the night as everyone excitedly discussed how amazing it was to see both of them and to see one of them swim around.
After guests enjoyed a wonderful lunch of Carrot Ginger soup and homemade pizza we moved to our next dive site Brandywine. A wonderful cascading wall that is home to many coral heads and parrot fish. On these second two dives, divers shared encounters with a sharp-tail eel, a juvenile spotted drum, reef sharks, and pink condylactus anemone. On the night dive divers enjoyed sharing space with reef sharks, a slipper lobster, a Caribbean spiny lobster, and a spotted moray eel. All the divers shared the tales of what they had encountered as well as some hot Chocolate.
As Dawn Broke the boat shifted to the next site, The Dome, a favorite amongst regular Turks and Caicos divers. A large man made structure which was originally part of a TV game show. It is now the home of a thriving sea life community and perfect for a swim thru to explore and get to know the local residents. A spotted Moray Eel appeared irritated at the schools of blue tang teasing it as they zip by. Divers also spotted a hairy clinging crab seeking protection during the day. During the second dive, Divers also explored The Reef Fund coral garden which is close to the structure and provided an extra attraction to this unconventional dive site. The divers were welcomed on board with a Creamy Cauliflower soup and a lunch buffet of BBQ Pork ribs with roasted vegetables to refuel whilst the engines purred and we headed towards the afternoon site, Gullies over in West Caicos.
Gullies is a big canyon like swim thru that divers swam with ease, careful not to kick up any sand as they went through. They cruised the wall in both directions and reef sharks were spotted circling in there text book figure eight pattern. The guests were treated to a delicious beef tenderloin after their second dive at Gullies and prepared for the night dive ahead.
A short move as the sun rose the next morning to Elephant Ear. After a tasty hot breakfast the divers were eager to get into the water and explore the new spot. Divers loved to drop off the wall in awe of the incredible beauty and all sorts of weird and wonderful critters. We are always happy to see pipefish, of which there were a few, and pipe horses, not quite so common. A pair of juvenile angel fish casually swimming about the reef.
After snacking on some tasty ginger cookies, The divers went back down for another chance to discover what Elephant ear had to offer. The different topography of this site makes for some stunning photography with bright colorful coral and a favorite for our Macro photographers of the group.
During our lunch of garlic and lemon chicken, Captain Amanda made the move to the beloved Magic Mushroom. Named due to a rock formation on the shore close to this dive site that resembles a mushroom and ‘magically’ disappears and reappears as the tide rises and falls. A favorite feature of this site is Lobster Tower, a 7 foot coral covered rock with a huge crack down the center and usually a great place to find some lobster hanging out. The divers investigated and managed to spot one lonely lobster in the lobster tower this afternoon. After the afternoon snack on board to refuel, divers went down for their next dive at magic mushroom. It was our guest Kynda’s 200th dive so we were all excited to celebrate down there with her for that milestone together with the plethora of little critters cruising about the rocky coral formations. The night dive here was exciting as we had a lot of black light divers to experience the weird and wonderful colors the reef has to offer down there at night. Then back on board to warm up with some hot chocolatey and marshmallowey goodness.
A bright and early start for the final dive day of the week. An earlier dive for the group as everyone got to enjoy the sea life waking up as the sun started to brighten the reef below. Some Stingrays were spotted gliding along the bottom on their own mission eyeing up the divers as they go. Back on board the guests all enjoyed the celebrations of three guests celebrating some special dive milestones. We had Kynda, Sean and Carsten all getting very messy as they were caked by Captain Amanda. A very entertaining way to celebrate these great achievements. After a hot breakfast of Chef Brynnes famous Eggs benedict, the eager divers went back in for their final dive. With a slight current over the reef we had a magnificent octopus sighting. It moved along the rock shifting its shape as it finally came to rest in a hole. Always a weird and wonderful sight to see and a great way to finish up a remarkable week here on the Turks and Caicos Aggressor II. The week’s tales were told on the trip back to the Turtle cove Marina and over refreshments at the wine and cheese party later on that afternoon.