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Turks & Caicos Aggressor II
18 November – 25 November 2015
Air temperature: 85° - 89° F
Water temperature: 81° - 82° F
Visibility: 50 – 80 feet
Captain: Amanda Smith
2nd Captain: Christy Weaver
Photo Pro: Rob Smith
Video Pro: JJ DiMatteo
Chef: Brynne Rardin
2nd Chef: Sarah Pearson
Jeff, Maureen, Frank, Bettina, Bev, Jane, Max, Sacheen, Shashank, Edie, John
Sunday – Eel Garden, The Dome - NWPT
Monday – Driveway, Boat Cove – West Caicos
Tuesday – Gullies, Magic Mushroom – West Caicos
Wednesday – Brandywine – West Caicos, G-Spot – French Cay
Thursday – Spanish Anchor – West Caicos, Amphitheatre - NWPT
Friday – Sharks Hotel - NWPT
We greet our Guests with refreshments and a warm island welcome, after getting to know each other and ensuring everyone is settled, we go through our welcome briefing and serve up dinner. Everyone is extremely happy and now filled with anticipation of the culinary delights as well as the diving adventures that is about to come. At first light on Sunday morning the engines roar and we our off on our grand adventure. As the sun is rising with beautiful wisps of clouds in the sky the Turks and Caicos Aggressor II slides gracefully through red and green bobbing buoys as we slowly make our way around to our first dive site at North West Point. We arrive at Eel Garden to begin our check out dives. Everyone is excited to splash for the first time and experience the magic that is The Turks and Caicos. Our first dives are full of incredible animals. We find the resident condylactis anemone who is flanked with his guards all around him the brightly colored perdersons cleaning shrimp, some even give our divers a manicure. As the creole wrasse fall over the edge they completely engulf our divers, swirling and twirling all around us. In the afternoon we move to one of the most famous dive sites in the Turks and Caicos, The Dome. The Dome is always a favorite mostly because it is two dive sites in one. We start our dives by heading out to the Chimney a vertical swim through where our divers spin like ballerinas as they gracefully make it from 100ft to the top of the wall through the beautifully encrusted walls of the chimney. Once everyone is through we head to The Dome, along the way the wildlife is all around us! Huge barracudas glide around the wall staring at us, angelfish and butterflyfish glide in pairs up and down the reefs enchanting us with their beauty. The dome always has a plethora of macro life and the secretary blennies, Christmas tree worms and feather dusters were abundant. We enjoy a night dive as all the nocturnal critters come out to play, we even spot two octopus looking around for a snack. We head to bed satisfied and dream about what the trip still has to come.
We enjoy a nice sunrise cruise as we head to West Caicos. We arrive at a dive called Driveway named for its large sandy shoot about the size of a driveway. We get geared up and we are in! As we are making our trek to the wall we are joined by a pod of 10 plus dolphins. Some of the larger dolphins swim down to see what all our divers our about and everyone is in awe of what is actually happening. The dolphins swim so close to us that it is impossible to get a picture, and just as quickly as they were there they are now gone. Water fills some divers masks as they are smiling so big from the incredible encounter they just had. We enjoy an awesome Mexican Monday inspired meal we move to our afternoon dive site Boat Cove. As we make our way to the mooring pin we are delighted to find a rare treat a flying gurnard, a weird fish that creeps along the bottom but when it swims it opens its pectoral fins and flys its bright blue color wings through the water. It was a sight to be seen. The sharks were also circling and the barracuda were shaking their heads at us. The night dive brought out a huge female sting ray making her ray pits in the sand as she tried to stir up some delicious invertebrates to chow down on. We all enjoy some hot chocolate with a little bit of Caicos Cream in it and head off for a restful nights sleep.
We start our Tuesday on a dive site called Gullies. So many fish were up to entertain us as we jumped in. Sully our huge resident female Caribbean reef shark was with us immediately, as we made our way through the Gully, a swim through covered in encrusting corals. As we swim along the wall we enjoy our dive but the real show starts when we get back underneath the boat. Sully and her gang of the male suitors are circling us and if that was not enough then a whole school of Atlantic spade fish come through to pose for our divers as they snap picture after picture. In the afternoon we move to Magic Mushroom which gets its name from a mushroom shaped rock that disappears and reappears as the tide rises and falls. As the divers enter the water everyone is in awe of the perfect beauty of the dive site. We see jacks schooling under the boat, a juvenile spotted drum and as a finale we head up to the mooring to check out lobster tower. Lobster tower, is a huge a coral head with a crack down the middle and inside the crack is usual lots of crustacean. There certainly were lots in their today divers reported upwards of eight lobsters and even some channel clinging crabs. We settle into dinner and then the night dive. It was a perfect way to end a perfect day. Everyone heads off to bed in anticipation for the early morning dive that is come tomorrow morning.
We awake to the smell of sizzling bacon and coffee brewing. Everyone is wide eyed and bushy tailed for our first dive at Brandywine. We eagerly jump in the water and head to wall in search of the great giant anemone which when you first see it looks to be a dull blue when it is illuminated it is actually a neon pink. We do not see it on the first dive however we do see a red snapping shrimp feistily guarding his cork screw anemone. On the second dive we see what we are looking for and everyone gets a good look the pinkish blue anemone. Brynne cooks us up a fine feast of a lunch and we get underway to our next destination, French Cay. The weather is more than we could ask for and we have a peaceful flat calm crossing on our way out. The boat ties up to G-Spot, a dive site that gets it name from its unique shape in the wall, resembling the letter G. Everyone is most excited for the late afternoon dive and night dive because that is when our friends the sharks come to play. Reports of more than 10 nurse sharks play and hunt in our lights while we are down there, as parrot fish and squirrel fish hastily try to hide from the eminent nurse shark attack. Reef Sharks and are four to five foot resident Cubera Snapper are also lurking around in the darkness using our lights to help them find a little bit of dinner. Everyone is satisfied with the sharkiness the night dive brings and it is all we can talk about during dinner as we cruise back to West Caicos. We all turn in for a restful nights sleep dreaming about what tomorrow might bring.
In the morning we are ready for the swim through situation! We are at Spanish Anchor a dive site that boasts a beautiful swim through. Everyone eagerly jumps in and heads right for it. As the divers gracefully make their way through the shoot at the end there is a fully encrusted anchor. Most of the divers see the anchor but eludes a few, but not to worry they will get a chance to see it on the second dive of the day. The wall never disappoints here and we get the chance to see a couple of sharks cruising by. We all check out the giant gorgonian and find several slender file fish that we share with our fellow dive buddies. At lunch we start making our way back to North West Point. As we cruise divers, eat, nap and talk about the amazing diving that we have done this week. We arrive and we are ready to dive! Amphitheatre is our destination dive spot and we eagerly splash in the water. As we descend and find our way off of the wall we find the rare and elusive purple crown sea goddess. Everyone is in awe of the Amphitheatre swim through as the jacks play in our bubbles above and the lion fish dance in front of us. The night dive reveals that Amphitheatre is actually a crustacean kingdom, with Caribbean lobsters, red banded lobster, spotted lobster, channel clinging crabs and decorator crabs. We enjoy a nice Thanksgiving dinner and watch the picture slide show of the week, and discover that we have quite a few talented photographer on board. As everyone is in awe of the fine artwork that was just presented we drink some wine and talk about how great the day was.
On Friday we start our day with an early morning dive at sharks hotel. As we are heading along the wall we run into a lot of the usual suspects. Lots of decorator crabs try to hide from us in large gorgonian but we spot them and enjoy watching them wave their arms around like little ninjas. We turn around and start heading back along the wall and all of the sudden we are in a school of spade fish. Spade fish are normally fairly skittish but not so much today, it was like they were just posing for our divers and enjoying us just as much as we were enjoying them. The end of our diving were was perfect with hundreds of jacks schooling around the boat letting us swim through them and a large Caribbean reef shark was slowly making his figure of eights in and around the dive site. We get back to the marina and everyone is sad that the diving is over but a little excited to get their feet back on terra firma. We reminisce at the wine and cheese party about the week and we talk about our future trips with all the new dive buddies that we have just made. It was a great way to end the week!