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Turks & Caicos Aggressor II
3 June-10 June, 2017
Air temperature: 80° - 84° F
Water temperature: 80 - 82° F
Visibility: 75-100 Feet
Thermal recommendation: 3mm or 5mm full wetsuit
Captain: AMANDA SMITH
2nd Captain: CHRISTY WEAVER
Engineer: ROB SMITH
Video Pro: JESSICA POLK
Chef: CHRISTY BROWN
Instructor: MICHAEL WEINBAUM
GUESTS from Rhea’s Diving Services, Tennessee
Rick and Holly, Barbara and Michael, Steve and Bruce, Stuart and Audrey, Brandon, Doug and Mike, Tom and Stephen, Dennis, Patrick
Sunday: Pinnacles, Grace Bay, Eel Garden, NWPT
Monday: Magic Mushroom, West Caicos, Boat Cove, West caicos.
Tuesday: Gullies, West Caicos, Spanish Anchor, West caicos
Wednesday: Rock’N’ Roll, French cay, G spot, French Cay
Thursday: Elephant Ear Canyon, West Caicos, The Dome, NWPT
Friday: Cathedral, Grace Bay
Life has been salty and sun kissed aboard the Turks and Caicos Aggressor, and it is looking like another week of smiles and idyllic diving ahead. The crew was eager to greet all our guests, many of whom have been diving with the Aggressor fleet since the late 1980’s!!! So it was and easy and breezy afternoon of getting people settled in, starting conversations and turning a travel day into a Corona commercial. We started the night with a terrific dinner from our Chef Christy, the normally boisterous salon was hushed with the clank of silverware and the sipping of fine wine. All were happy indeed. Collectively we devoured dinner then skulked away ready to be rocked to sleep in the cradle of the deep.
The crew kicked the engines over bright and early, we cast of our tethers to land and pointed our bow to sea. Slowly the drumming of diesel, frying bacon and slow rolling of the vast salty sea roused all hands to breakfast. It is always an amazing site to watch people attempt to hide their excitement before the first dive. Adults eat food like a child, messy and smiling while gulping coffee. Non to worry as we moor up at Pinnacle in Grace Bay, a site known for great topography and a myriad of reef life. The first dive is flawless, 83 degrees, clear waters, and a nice easy shakedown dive. The gemlike reef sparkles and treats us like old friends, eagle rays are seen, pictures taken and memories forged in smiles. We off gas for an hour or so, fiddle with cameras, hydrate and then quick is the word as we double dip this site for a slow paced hunt for the camouflaged and cryptic critters. 60 minutes pass blowing bubbles and everybody returns to the air content relaxed and unbelievably hungry!!!! So we pull away from the mooring and steam over to Eel Garden on North West Point. During the passage we heartily chomp down on some proper grub, jerk ribs, slaw, cornbread and all the trimmings. People are happy! Lunch over, boat moored fast, bell rung, divers motivate and in we splash, and within minute we are staring at TWO Frog Fish inches away from each other at 67 feet, cameras are clicking, masks leaking with smiles, high fives slapped underwater and yeah, it was just plain cool. We surface, talk about frog fish, look at everyone’s photos of frog fish and spend the rest of the afternoon and night making world class photo lessons and application of down at depth. A learning experience for all of us lucky enough to be there. We finish the day with full bellies, freshly showed and ready to get after it again tomorrow.
Tuesday shines her flashlight bright and early, the crew is scampering around getting things perfect and the guests are filtering up the stairs drawn by the fragrant and motivating aromas of coffee and eggs. We eat, laugh, eat a bit more and the bell is rung, we have moved to Gullies on West Caicos for our morning dives, Gullies is a spectacular wall with a few narrow cuts and dog legs that make the structure perfect for fish aggregation. School of blue chromis and creole wrasse rain down over us as we stare at the many reef sharks cruising by. This dive just turns out to be special, something about the lighting and the coffee, everybody just finds themselves there, in the moment, living their life as a true and cognizant participant and as we surface there is a palpable wow moment, followed immediately by more coffee and some snacks. The next dive is Identical and by 1pm we are steaming over to Spanish Anchor to end our days dive. After yet another great lunch we get rolling and plunge into this beautiful section of wall. Every guest is keen to see the 250+ year old encrusted Anchor, as well soak in all the flora and fauna at depth. Rob positions himself at the Anchor to take his frame worthy photographs and people cheese it up hard. Good times, great diving, life as usual on this vessel. Dinner again and a night dive, our motto Eat, Sleep, Dive is the real deal and so far we have a few Iron Diver candidates, but not quite yet….68 minutes at 75 feet with sharks, rays, blackjacks, groupers and other critters of the night and like a dream it’s over, and it a 3 minute safety stop before returning to the real world. Hot Showers, Warm Towels and of course Hot Chocolate with Rum Cream for stamina, and we kiss this day goodbye, ready for sleep and stoked for tomorrow as we head over to French Cay.
Slight chop and splash hit us as we steam bright and early to French Cay. The Littler spit of land is vastly unprotected and even with gin clear waters we are doing a little dance as we walk, so the best remedy is to inhale breakfast and hurl body and mind into the soothing azure depths. French Cay never disappoints, Dives 1+2 are on Rock N’ Roll, aptly named with surface conditions, but for us below it’s stunning. We are immediately met with two Massive Cubera snappers just cruising along with us, many people find juvenile spotted drum, a few masked hamlets are located and as always here in the Caicos…sharks!!! What a great way to live life 45-70 minutes at depth in paradise doing what we love to start our days. Truly living the dream. We surface, snack it up, some folks hit the hot tub to duck away from the wind, the crew is buzzing around making all aspect of the charter run flawlessly and then, the bell is rung, and it’s back into the break for double dip round 2. Our morning on Rock N’ Roll was awesome, great photos taken, friends doing what they love together and new friendships being forged. We haul up ladders happy and wet, the crew moves the boat and Chef Christy feeds us all.
Our vessel makes its way over to G-Spot and famous and fun dive site hear on French Cay. Yup the elusive often talked about G-Spot, and so it began, all diver in quickly and sure enough it’s off the hook!! The light current has fish aggregating on the corner of the wall, deep water gorgonians flutter lightly in the 84 degree current and all divers are transported to happy places as we just swim and trance out to all the life, large and small, common and cryptic it’s just a great dive. We head up to the boat and as we do so have a white stripped shark sucker playing games with us at our safety stop, this lonely 2 foot buddy must have really wanted a friend, because he sure gave it his all to stick to each of us. Surface we must and it’s time to dry off eat dinner and hit up this site again for a famous night dive. We eat with vigor and our strength is sustained by Chef, and then, yup DING DING, it’s in we go. NURSE SHARKS GALORE!!!!!!!! Leave it at that, no words to describe what a fantastic dive this was, world class and beyond, everybody was over the moon, just one of those dives you must live to understand. 72 minute of oh my moments and up we rise, stoke factor unbelievably high ready to crash after a really really good day.
As our guest sleep the crew loses the boat and makes passage over to Elephant Ear Canyon on West Caicos. We make the trip in about 2 hours and by the time we pick up the mooring, all guests are snoring away dreaming of whale sharks. So how do we rouse our guests from nocturnal smiles??? With butterscotch pancakes, bacon and organic coffee, that’s how. Up we rise, eat we do, and finally kitted up and strapped tight we jump in to explore the site, nice and low and slow. Elephant ear canyon makes for a great critter searching site, turtle grass and open sand hide pipe fish, juvenile peacock flounder and numerous Flapping Dingbats, yes that’s right lots and lots of Dingbats. The dive is overt and all are happy, ecstatic actually, so it is a warm up, a snack up, and hydration break then it’s time to double up and splash this site again. Capt. Amanda leads this dive and shows everybody the plethora of life found in the sand and grass. Many people had an eye opening moment here, basically our local equivalent to a muck dive, but all were impressed and many surprised. Life has graced us with a great morning and as we eat lunch and start steaming to the Dome, the entirety of the boat is profoundly content and relaxed. We tie up on the Dome over on North West Point for our last three dives of the day and with post lunch carb coma we get in our gear and get off the boat in style. The Dome is itself the remnants of a gameshow that flopped but its encrusted metal has made it a niche nook for a multitude of animals and on these dives we see them all. From sailfin blenny to octopus, schooling tomatoes to reef shark we enjoy this site for its unique qualities but are really eager to jump in at night. So we as a whole breeze through dinner, rinse up and grab lights both white and black for the florescent divers. It is easy to enjoy a dive with as much life packed into it. Critters everywhere, dog sized lobster, massive free roaming channel crab, good size black jack literally swimming into you. Similar to G-Spot, this site is a much do as a night dive. After 60 minute wax away in the froth and burp of compressed gas, we surface mainly for the run cream hot chocolate and as well some sleep. As tomorrow is the last day.
We have steamed our lovely home back around to Grace Bay and tied up on Cathedral, a lovely final site to spend our last morning. We are in the water at 6am!!!!! Yup some 7 intrepid and hearty diver rose for the challenge and after an hour dive reported it to be fantastic and expunged how neat it was to watch the reef come alive. Dive two is full sun, post breakfast low slow and playful. Everybody is sad but giddy and ready to splash, dash and crack the neck on a cold brew. And that’s how it played out, we did the dive, saw what was to be seen and as our heads broke the surface 98% of them had a beer in hand before they rinsed off in the shower. Brutal living right? Two perfect dives and a glacial cold cerveza drunk al fresco half nude on a dive platform?? Yup paradise, friendship and good times. And as we steam back into the marina we all have a minute of introspection, memories, ideas, cathartic events and some sly mischievous smiles as well. So it is 4 hours until the cocktail party tonight, the guest are off shopping, eating and perhaps, having a cocktail or two, we will all regroup for some good times tonight, many new friends made and innumerable good times had. Turks and caicos Aggressor we just catalyze good times.