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Turks & Caicos Aggressor II
30 December 2017 – 6 January 2018
Air Temperature: 80 – 85 F
Water Temperature: 79°F
Visibility: 10 - 80 feet
Captain: Amanda Smith
Engineer: Rob Smith
Video Pro: Aaron Brouse
Chef: Brynne Rardin
Chef: Sarah Pearson
Instructor: Kadri Kullerkupp
GUESTS: Mike, Carlos, Dayana, Betty, Kurt, Wayne, Todd, Joy, Jeremy, Liz, Damian, Susana, Howie and Brug
Sunday – Pinnacles, Grace Bay; Shark’s Hotel & Amphitheatre, NWPT
Monday – Eel Garden, NWPT & Magic Mushroom, West Caicos
Tuesday – Gullies & Brandywine, West Caicos
Wednesday – Boat Cove & Spanish Anchor, West Caicos; G-Spot, French Cay
Thursday – G-Spot & Rock N Roll, French Cay
Friday – Rock N Roll & G-Spot, French Cay
Fourteen guests arrived promptly at 3pm ready for their week of diving to begin. After setting up their dive lockers, enjoying some rum punch and cheese and crackers we all settled in for the informative briefing given by Captain Amanda. We all introduce ourselves and get to know one another over dinner served by our Chefs Brynne and Sarah. Tonight we enjoy a restful sleep at the dock at Turtle Cove Marina.
As the sun breaks quietly over the horizon we untie the lines and head out to Grace Bay for our first dive of the trip at Pinnacles. Our Engineer Rob gives a briefing to all of our divers on how the dives will work along with the best safety tips for diving. And then in we go! At Pinnacles we encounter channel clinging crabs, lobster, and neck crabs.
Next we head around to northwest point for our next dives at Shark’s Hotel. Here we are excited when we see a tiger grouper at a cleaning station as well as a Nassau grouper. We slowly make our way south along the wall where some divers also find Pederson cleaner shrimp. As the lunch bell sounds divers make their way into the salon for lunch where Chef Sarah has prepared a delicious sweet corn and potato soup that warms us all up! As guests enjoy the lunch buffet we move again to Amphitheatre. Divers dive along the wall where they find the amphitheatre structure. Here they encounter banded lobster, channel clinging crabs, Caribbean Spiny lobster, a peacock flounder, and yellow head jawfish. After an exciting night dive, divers are greeted by crew with hot chocolate and Caicos Rum Cream.
We are awakened by the smell of sausage as our Chefs create breakfast upstairs in the Galley. After a delicious breakfast we find ourselves at Eel Garden, where the garden eels frequent the sand and juvenile peacock flounder skim the bottom as they navigate through the eels. A good sized scorpionfish sits amazingly still as if we cannot see it. At the Crack we enjoy the most photographed anemone in Providenciales; today it was sporting a neck crab.
Magic Mushroom was our site for the afternoon after a great lunch and a smooth crossing to West Caicos. Along the wall divers find a flounder, stingrays, and reef sharks. We then head back east towards the mooring where we check in on the Lobsters at Lobster tower and find that there is a good occupation on this occasion, having been completely vacated last week. The black light provides a different light for the night dive and a new passion for one of our guests, as coralimorphs and nudibranchs fluoresced making themselves apparent.
Tuesday brings us to Gullies which is a favourite for most divers because of the beautiful vertical swim through. On the way to the swim through we find a school of horse eye jacks. The divers are mesmerized as the swim up through the gully, and above are greeted by blue runners and a Caribbean Reef Shark. On the next dive we are even more fortunate to sport a slender file fish, as well as a single toothed simnia, and a Hamners tritonia – all in the beautiful gorgonian that stands guard at the top of the swim through. Along with other fun critters we are excited by all the stingrays enjoying a nice lunch. Today chef Brynne has prepared a Creamy tomato soup that warms us all right up, followed by a post lunch nap.
Next we move to Brandywine where all the divers are taken aback by the extraordinary pink colour of the Anemone that lives on the wall; blue under ambient light and cerise with additional light. Here the visibility is incredible and makes for a fantastic dive.
After a good night sleep we arrive at Boat Cove for our first two dives of the day. Here the divers have an amazing encounter where they watch a green moray eel getting cleaned. It stretched out and fully enjoyed the cleaning that the shark nosed gobies delivered. After lunch we move to Spanish Anchor where the building waves created poor visibility, but one diver still manages to spot a small frog fish! With that we make our way out to French Cay where we spend our next two dives. This is a favourite for our night divers who enjoy the plethora of reef and nurse sharks here that feed at night. An octopus made an appearance for guest Mike who encouraged other divers to come enjoy this amazing creature’s performance.
Thursday morning we stay at G-Spot where we are greeted in the morning by the resident Cubera Snapper, as well as loads of lobsters and even one octopus! The nurse sharks were crammed in to coral heads all over the reef, tired from their exhaustive hunt for food during the night. A good morning all around.
A short move in the afternoon to Rock N Roll where we enjoyed more of the nurse sharks snoozing and the reef sharks cruising. The night dive was spectacular. We had our nurse sharks following us, with the reef sharks buzzing in and out and the Cubera snapper who would plant itself in front of us at every opportunity. At four feet in length, that is a good deal of fish in front or under us! An octopus sat still on top of the reef until it moved and attracted the attention of the sharks and snapper. At that point it flung itself into the water column and moved away, finally inking the snapper and returning quickly to the reef and a hole where it hid. A green moray joined the fray at one point, swimming out and about amongst all the other creatures. In a coral head a viper moray peered out, its snaggly jaw all teeth. It was a great last night dive and caused a little envy for those that decided not to join the three divers.
Rock N Roll for a dawn dive the following morning saw all the fish waking up and a final dive at G-Spot before we moved back to the south of Providenciales and Caicos Marina & Shipyard.
We end Friday with our wine and cheese party on the sundeck. We talk about the trip and the amazing animal life we have seen this week, along with future trips we are excited for and celebrate that guest Mike celebrated Christmas, New Year, his birthday and his 1000th dive with us.
Whale charters are approaching and we are constantly vigilant for the chance of seeing a passing humpback as it migrates to the breeding grounds. Check back with us next week to see if we are fortunate enough to see one or more and all the other encounters we have.