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Turks & Caicos Aggressor II
4 - 11 July 2015
Water Temperature: 80° - 83°F
Visibility: 80’ - 100’
Captain AMANDA SMITH
2ND Captain MARK POVEY
Photo Pro ROB SMITH
Instructor KELLY CURRINGTON
Chef AILSA KELLY
Stewardess KAHAIL SMITH
GUESTS: Bob & Mo, Eric & Lynda, John & Mare, Bill & Carol, Viktor, Greg, Endre & Cary, Paul & Kara, Gary, Scott, Dean & Marnie
LOCATION: Turks & Caicos, Northwest Point, West Caicos
Sunday – Eel Garden & Amphitheatre - Northwest Point, Providenciales
Monday – Boat Cove & Magic Mushroom - West Caicos
Tuesday – Spanish Anchor & Brandywine - West Caicos
Wednesday – Gullies & Driveway - West Caicos
Thursday – Elephant Ear Canyon - West Caicos & The Dome - Northwest Point
Friday - Sharks Hotel - Northwest Point
The tropical sun sits high in the clear blue sky and the Turks and Caicos Aggressor II gleams in the reflection of the sea as guests approach the vessel. With smiles on their faces and a skip in their step (this could be caused from the beverages had at Tiki Hut!); they board for a week of fantastic diving and adventure. A tour of the yacht shows them where all the key spots are. They get their gear unpacked and settle into their cabins while Chef Ailsa is busy in the kitchen preparing the first of many scrumptious meals. Once the safety briefings are complete and dinner is consumed, the guests get to know each other over conversations of previous dive trips and experiences…tall tales are told.
Our first destination of the week will be at the Northwest Point of Providenciales. We get moored up for the night and guests head off to their beds for a good night’s sleep. As the aroma of freshly brewed coffee waifs its way around the boat guests start appearing from the stairwell like little ghost fish. The start their day with a nice hot breakfast and then get ready for the fun to begin! Eel Garden holds so many treasures that it’s hard to pick just a few to focus on. After a thorough briefing of the site, divers kit up and head to the dive platform full of excitement, and maybe a little anxiety. One by one they cascade into the turquoise water and descend to a gorgeous reef. The water is filled with creole wrasse and blue chromic dancing in the slight surge. The giant condylactis anemone is a little bit shy but peeks out enough to see it. A pretty little banded clinging crab scuttles around inside while some squat anemone shrimp wiggle their tails in the air. Decorator crabs hung out on the gorgonians snatching their meal as it drifts by. Divers float over the sandy bottom on the way back and are thrilled to find a porcupine puffer getting a good cleaning and a big green moray peering out to see what’s going on. The sight under the boat for the ascent is always a pretty view with the horse-eye jacks swirling around in a synchronized dance. Fantastic finale`!
We decide that a show at Amphitheater would be a great way to finish out the first day; and boy were we right. As the divers stood ready on the dive platform, we could see two girls in gray suits below waiting to welcome us to the performance. In They went and the show began with a large school of jacks escorting them to the wall. As we descending down into the arena a curtain of black coral draped the ceiling; let the show begin! As darkness set upon the stage Sculpted and Spanish Slipper Lobsters seem to dance everywhere and Tiger Tail sea cucumbers climbed high to spawn. Then ended with new life being created.
Boat Cove would be our next stop; it is a favorite of the crew and guest alike. Every space of the site was filled with some fantastic creature. Sharks, green morays, turtles, and scorpionfish to name a few. A beautiful barrel sponge provided the perfect spot for a manicure by some very anxious shark nose gobies and a GIANT Gaudy Clown Crab (by giant I mean 1 1/2 - 2 inches!! HUGE!) stood his ground on an encrusting sponge while horse-eye jacks braved the dangers rubbing themselves against our guys and gals in the gray suits for a quick scrub. We opted for some magic next in the form of Magic Mushroom. A waterfall of creole wrasse and blue chromis flowed over the top of the reef and down the wall. We meandered along with them and they led us to a beautiful ginormous stingray settled on the sand. She was a pretty girl with flowy wings and mesmerizing eyes; which apparently was VERY irresistible to a male suite who hovered constantly trying to win her affection. The sea floor was busy with life as jawfish and sand tile fish busied themselves with building dens and flying gurnards scuttled along patting the sand. I don’t think I mentioned dolphins; we had dolphin fly-bys! We heard about some sort of sunken treasure so we headed south to Spanish Anchor to see what we could find. The treasure chest was open and the reef was covered in wealth. Adult spotted drum, nesting oceanic trigger fish, and flamingo tongues galore; but the grand glory was a MASSIVE green moray wrapped under a coral head. He/she was a perfect creature with velvety skin and pretty blue eyes. Oh; and there was an old spanish anchor in the shute which has been there for decades. After a nice treasure hunt it was a good time for a cocktail so we slid down to Brandywine to check out all the barrel sponges and yellowhead jawfish. One of the highlights of this site is the absolutely stunning condylactis anemone which seen by the naked eye is a brilliant shade of blue; but when photographed under light it transforms to a bright pink! LOVELY!! As we ascended from the dive I think tears were shed…or it may have been the cryptic teardrop crab crawling over a coral head. Gullies was our next choice; and a good one it was as it is always phenomenal. All the usual suspects were there and the reef was beaming. This day was no different in that aspect; well, with one exception….MORE DOLPHINS!! It was about time for an afternoon drive so we cruised on over to Driveway and took a little spin around. There were so many yellowhead jawfish the floor looked a disco dance floor. Not one hawksbill; not two hawksbill, but THREE hawksbill turtles gave us show. One was so large it was difficult to differentiate between him and the coral head. The nigh dive here was spectacular. Octopi, nurse sharks, burrfish, scrawled filefish, and spawning star coral…which is a beautiful sight as it means the reef is alive and growing.
For our last full day of diving we chose to start it at the crews’ favorite site. Elephant Ear Canyon is a magical place where there is so much macro your eyes don’t know where to look first; but it also has a stunning wall. Our resident sea horse was hanging out in his regular spot posing for photo opps and conch races were going on everywhere. A cute little juvenile gray angel fish guarded his sponge with the bravery of a warrior and two teeny tiny juvenile spotted drums flitted about trying to not become a snack for Divers were thrilled when a spotted eagle ray did a fly by along the wall and short stint up in the sand. All we saw were smiles as the guests ascended the ladders.
No charter would be complete without a visit to The Dome so we made out way back to Northwest Point for the rest of the day. All the yellowtail snappers, blue stripped and french grunts were Hanging out inside the structure as male sergeant majors guarded their eggs as they flashed their blue uniforms and charged the divers. (Its a good thing they aren’t any bigger!) A beautiful goldentail moray peered out of his hole watching all the excitement overhead and two octopi entertained the divers with flashes of color and texture changes and fluid movement over the reef. As the sun slowly rose over the sea; the vessel made the short move to the final dive site of the week; Sharks Hotel hosted the last dive; with one guest noting that the site may need to be renamed “Grouper Hotel” as he had numerous nassau groupers escorting him the entire dive while sharks kept a close eye from a distance.
During the week guests were treated to black-light diving each night to explore the fluorescence of the underwater world! It was so wonderful that one guest couldn’t help but name the dives effervescent diving!
A great week was had by all and memories and new friendships were made!
From the Ocean to You…