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Turks & Caicos Aggressor II
3 - 10 January 2015
Water Temperature: 78° - 80°F
Visibility: 80 feet
Captain AMANDA SMITH
2nd Captain LOWEL OROURKE
Engineer ROB SMITH
Instructor KELLY CURRINGTON
Chef AILSA KELLY
Stewardess DYNAH TRISTAN OROURKE
GUESTS: Mitch & Brenda, Barbara, Julianne, Pawel, Wojciech, Krzysztof, Curt & Marcie, Heather & Bill, Kim & Rusty, Gail, Elnora, Monte, and Mark
Sunday – Eel Garden & The Dome - Northwest Point, Providenciales
Monday – Driveway & Magic Mushroom - West Caicos
Tuesday – Brandywine & Spanish Anchor - West Caicos
Wednesday – Gullies & Boat Cove - West Caicos
Thursday – Rock-N-Roll & G-Spot - French Cay
Friday – Half Mile - French Cay
With New Years Eve in the rear view mirror, a new batch of guests boarded the yacht ready for some amazing diving in the stunning azure waters that envelope our islands.
After some initial safety briefings and introductions, everyone settled in for a delicious short rib dinner prepared by Chef Ailsa; whilst chatting about what beautiful creatures and encounters await them.
As the orange ball of fire began to rise over Turtle Cove Marina the crew was busy getting everything ready to head out through the narrow channel. We set our sights on the Northwest Point of Providenciales and settle at Eel Garden. Without hesitation the divers slipped off the platform into the crystal clear water for the first dive of the week. Blue Chromis looked like confetti over the reef; gently cascading over the wall. For the macro fans tiny Gaudy Clown Crabs were tucked in the holes of encrusting sponges. An octopus set calmly on the ledge of its lair giving divers plenty of opportunity to take photos and video; as he was quite the looker. After a warm morning snack it was time to experience The Dome. Its a fascinating structure left over from a French Canadian game show. It houses a plethora of creatures and always holds a few surprises. Tiny Secretary Blennies stick out of their holes catching a meal as it floats by. Stingrays and Peacock Flounders flutter over the sand and spotted morays keep a watchful eye from beneath the coral heads. At night The Dome is a completely different dive than during the sunlight afternoon. A school of Porcupine Puffers (5 or 6) tried to camouflage themselves against the sand under the structure and hermit crabs walked the ridges picking at the algae. The lights of the divers combing the surface resemble spaceships moving in to take over the planet. As they climbed back on the yacht; the cool night wind was calmed by the best hot chocolate around; followed by a scrumptious dinner. As they dined on fine food, we headed over to West Caicos in preparation for the next days adventures.
With a beautiful sunrise over the island and some hot coffee to jump start their motors, guests slid into the drivers seat for an early morning cruise at Driveway. A few guys and girls in gray suits patrolled the wall ensuring everyone was obeying the laws of the reef. Crabs were tucked in their homes and Yellowhead Jawfish floated above the sand like tiny prairie dogs standing guard. Once again bellies were full and hair was almost dry and it was time to enter the abyss again a little further north at Magic Mushroom. All the usual population was hanging out on the reef to welcome them. Stingrays and guys and girls in the gray circled the sand and a lobsters guarded Lobster Tower. The highlight was watching a male Yellowhead Jawfish with eggs aerate them! An octopus dazzled at night with its color changes and ballet over the reef. Guests drifted off to sleep with dreams of what tomorrow would bring…
West Caicos still had more to offer at Brandy Wine. The sun was shining through the blue with flickering streams and the underwater world was waking up. A handsome Hawksbill Turtle rested on a sponge and then slid under the ledge of a coral-head for a snooze. It was early and the reef was just starting to come alive. The afternoon found us at Spanish Anchor for the remainder of the day. Guys and girls in the gray patrol their domain and keep a close eye on the divers. The Anchor is a beautiful sight to see as the sun shone down through the shoot. Turtles and Flounder decorate the sea floor and cleaner fish look like confetti exploding over the reef. Maneuvering the swim through at night was rewarded with a huge Channel Clinging Crab hanging on the side as we came out into the blackness of the abyss. Basket Stars reached out into the dark like colorful spider webs. Wine and wisdom filled the salon as our guests dined on a meal fit for a king. One by one they disappeared down the stairs for a good nights sleep hoping for dreams of Octopus and Eagle Rays…if you dream it they will come!
The morning was beautiful with the sun rising over West Caicos as we made our way to Gullies. The stunning white sand offered a gorgeous contrast to the turquoise abyss and colorful coral lining the edge of the wall. The guys and girls in the gray are always present at this site and they stayed close to the guests today. A tiny Slender File Fish hide motionless in a purple sea plume on the edge of gulley. The topography here is enough to keep the eye happy for eternity. All good things must come to end so better things can happen. We moved down to Boat Cove to continue to gifts of West Caicos. Guests were delighted that our Broad Banded Moray was in his home at Juvi Hall. He is very elusive and makes divers work for a good photo or video; but it is completely worth it when they get it. Ornate neck crabs lined the wall to the South; with hydroids and algae covering their tiny bodies creating excellent camouflage. So much to see…a Scorpion Fish blended perfectly with the coral it quietly sat upon as divers surrounded it for a closer look. Keeping him company was a Golden Moray peeking up into the sunshine streaming down from the surface. What a beautiful dive! As the moon shone over the sea, the night shift came out and day shift settled in for the night and the beautiful undersea world came alive under a blanket of darkness.
As the guests were nestled in their bunks, we headed to French Cay for the final full day of diving. They awakened to whats said to be Elviss favorite dive site; Rock-n-Roll. The guests listened with excitement as the story was told and then they rolled off the deck to experience the melody of blue. They were immediately greeted by three girls in gray and escorted to the best spots on the reef. The huge barrel sponges rose above the floor like skyscrapers and sprawling sea fans swayed back and forth in perfect rhythm. As divers made their way along the stunning wall a Spotted Eagle Ray glided by; what a perfect morning dive. After refueling on a scrumptious breakfast whipped up by Chef Ailsa the guests went back in for more. Apparently there was an octopus out and about that no one saw until it showed up in a photo. What a fantastic surprise it was! Once they were satisfied theyd seen all there was at Rock-n-Roll we moved far away to G-Spot (about 600-800 yards) for some of the most beautiful topography around. So much its almost impossible for the eyes to take it all in. Yellowhead Jawfish bobbed in and out of their well-kept holes and the trifecta of Angelfish perused around the crossheads. The big guys and girls in gray weaved in and out amongst the divers. Standing out like a neon sign was a Golden Coney…so vibrant yellow it almost looked fake; but I can assure you it was real. Our resident BIG barracuda practice his buoyancy right under the showing off as he hovered just above the coral with perfect form. Just we they thought it was all over for the day; a beautiful 10 Eagle Ray did a fly-by for the guests before they had to surface for air. As the sun set and the moon rose over the yacht divers slipped into the dark and were lucky to be able to watch the nurse sharks pour over the reef feeding by their lights. A massive Cubera Snapper kept watch as it circled above the coral. The night ended with our special hot chocolate and Thanksgiving Dinner, followed by a spectacular slide show of photos from the week.
The final morning was spent at Half Mile; the closest dive site to French Cay. We truly tested the will of the Iron Divers by offering them a 5:30 AM dive. They responded in force and were in the water without hesitation (okay…maybe a little hesitation) and off they went to watch the reef wake up under the streams of sunlight which slowly started to filter from the surface. Turtles and eels and Yellowhead Jawfish and so many other inhabitants came out to say farewell to our guests. So we set off across the Caicos Banks headed for shore after an absolutely fantastic week of Eating, Sleeping, and Diving!!
From the Ocean to you; protect it and keep it healthy!