Log Date: Saturday, May 07, 2016
Entry By: Turks & Caicos Aggressor Crew
Turks & Caicos Aggressor II
07 – 14 May 2016
Water Temp: 80
Visibility: 50 – 140+ Ft
Guests: Ed & Therese, Sofia & Melvin, Christine, Lindsey, Amiris & Nina, Connie, Kathy, Mark, Kevin, Brenda & Rich, John, JR, Reg & Brenda
Captain – Amanda
Engineer – Rob
Chef – Alissa
Video Pro – Matt
Instructor – Troy
Instructor - Grant
Sunday – Eel Garden & Amphitheater – Northwest Point
Monday – The Dome – Northwest Point & Magic Mushroom – West Caicos
Tuesday – Elephant Ear Canyon & Gullies – West Caicos
Wednesday – Spanish Anchor – West Caicos & G- Spot – French Cay
Thursday – Rock N Roll – French Cay & Boat Cove – West Caicos
Friday – Stairway – Northwest Point
The whole crew is ready and waiting for the guests as they approach the boat Saturday afternoon. As people board, we show them to the tanks and let them all assemble their gear. Once that is completed, we escort them down to their home away from home for the next week. As people are settling into their rooms and unpacking, snacks and drinks are set out for everyone. As people are socializing and getting to know one another, amazing scents are coming out of the kitchen. After the safety briefing, Alissa tells us about dinner and everyone feasts on her amazing food. Once people were done with dessert, they all disappeared downstairs for the night.
Early Sunday morning, the engines roar to life and we throw off lines from the dock. Amanda makes her way out of Turtle Cove marina and were off on another great week of diving. First stop is Northwest point, there are a number of great sites along here and we pick Eel Garden as the first. This is a great place to get the dust off your gear and get comfortable in the water again. Nice big sandy area under the boat with peacock flounder and garden eels. Once you make it to the wall, it is a stunning drop off with loads of cracks and crevices for crustaceans and other critters to hide in. A couple dives here then we move over to The Amphitheater. Here there is more rock and rubble on top of the wall but the drop is amazing. The key feature here is a large cavern in the wall. At about 80 ft, it looks like someone took a giant ice cream scoop and carved out the wall. There are always jacks and snappers schooling in there with sharks patrolling the outer edges. The day dives there are amazing but the night dive is really were it is at. People saw everything from turtles to morays and even an octopus!! But the best part of the night dive is once you come back up and get a warm towel with hot chocolate and rum cream!!
Monday we moved over to the Dome, this is a left over structure from an old game show back in the 80s. Think Mad Max Thunder dome but underwater. Past hurricanes have modified it but there is still a nice swim through with packs of Schoolmasters and several large grouper hanging out in the dome. Out on the wall, there is an amazing vertical swim through, called the chimney that goes from 100 to 50 ft. In the chimney, there tends to be one Lion fish and a couple eels tucked away. Along the top of the wall, a couple people found the resident scorpion fish. He is almost always on the same rock but hard to find because he looks just like that rock! He is used to people being around so will let you take as many pictures as you want. During lunch, we moved over to West Caicos and pulled up to Magic Mushroom. This site got its name from a mushroom shaped rock at the shoreline that appears and disappears with the tides, magic! This site has nice rocky outcroppings along the top with beautiful coral formations on them. Near the mooring pin is a large rock with a split called lobster tower, and it was packed with lobsters this time. Once you make it over the wall, the shear drop off is stunning. As you swim along the wall, keep checking out in the blue for the large sharks or the elusive eagle ray. Again, a stunning night dive, especially if you do the UV Black light night dive. The corals glow green and red while some fish stand out but mainly it is the nudibranchs that take the show here. You will be able to find hundreds while on white light you may see 2.
Tuesday starts with us moving up to Elephant Ear Canyon. This is one of the crews favorite sites. The sandy bottom below the boat is covered in head shield slugs, flapping dingbats, pipe fish, and garden eels. If you can peel yourself away from that, the wall is absolutely stunning. A nice big sandy chute puts you out on the wall at about 80ft and then it just drops away from you. If you swim south, the wall makes several cuts in and out with neat cracks to explore and critters to find. After that we made our way over to Gullies, again another crew favorite. This site is named for the gullies that run down the wall. The main one is a beautiful swim through with coral overhangs. Divers were treated to the 4 resident reef sharks that live at that site. Sully, the momma, was very pregnant, looks like we may have a couple more sharks soon. The wall here is amazing with amazing coral growth and formations. There are a couple fingers that jut out from the wall and descend down to way deeper than we can go. All along these fingers is where the neat critters hang out. People found lobsters, crabs, eels, and some Lion fish . One Lion fish had a bite taken out of its tail, so maybe the other predators are starting to figure out how to hunt those guys.
Wednesday morning starts with us moving to the south side of the island to Spanish Anchor. In the main swim through, there is a very old anchor, believed to be from a Spanish pirate ship, wedged into the wall. This is a great spot for photos and everyone got their picture taken with it. From there, you can either swim along the wall or head in shallower to check out all the coral heads. Up near the mooring pin, the soft coral and sea fans are everywhere swaying in the current. Here people saw more sea turtles and were able to swim with them for a while. After two dives, we left West Caicos for French Cay. As we pulled up, we found the mooring for G-Spot and got ready for an afternoon and night of large critters! During the day dives, people saw a couple reef sharks and one sleeping nurse shark. But the real show starts after the sun goes down. As soon as we jumped in, 3 nurse sharks swim over and stay in your light for the rest of the dive. They have learned to use our lights to hunt with. Where ever you point, the sharks and jacks will swarm to and chaos erupts as they try to catch all the fish. People also found another octopus and a couple turtles to swim with that night.
Thursday, we moved over to Rock N Roll bright and early. Legend says that this was the Princes favorite dive site. The wall here is more sloping but that allows for much more plate coral growth at depth. The wall is always pretty but most people wanted to hang out with the Jaw fish in the sandy areas and look for the males with eggs. Once we finished looking for the little Jaw fish and everyone got back on the boat, we moved back to West Caicos for one more site there. As we pulled up to Boat Cove, we knew it would be an amazing dive. The visibility looked amazing. As people jumped in, a couple sharks greeted them and showed them the way to the wall. One remora even wanted to cuddle and wouldnt leave one of the divers alone. Out on the wall, after people swam down the sand chute and picked a direction for the dive, the massive schools of Blue Chromis that flow over the reef stunned them. It looks like a waterfall when they all swim over the edge. A couple large channel clinging crabs were spotted and someone even saw a broad band eel. After the night dive, the boat headed back over to Northwest point to get ready for the last morning of diving.
Friday morning, the dive bell was rung before the sun was up for an early morning transition dive. This is a really neat time to dive because you get to watch all the reef creatures wake up, the fish are the best part. As it gets lighter and lighter, you see all the fish pop up and the schools start to form. After the crazy iron divers got back from that dive, Alissa cooked up hot breakfast for everyone and we sat down to watch Matts movie. Then everyone jumped in for one last dive before the trek home. After the last dive, the boat headed back to Turtle Cove as people rinsed and dried their gear. That night, we had an amazing wine and cheese party to end the trip with. As always, we hate to see people go but we know we will meet again in the future.