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Turks & Caicos Aggressor II
Captain’s Log: 05-12th of January 2019
Air temperature – 81°F - 88°F
Water temperature – 78 -80°F
Visibility – 80ft – 100ft
Thermal protection recommendation: 3mm shorty or full suit
Dawn, John, Theodor, Chris, Clemens, Ralph, Roger, Patrick, Oliver, Coral, Fisher, Patti, John, Janet, Mark
Amanda Smith – Captain
Rob Smith – Engineer
Sarah Pearson– Video Pro
Ellen Myers – Instructor
Braulio Alcaraz Wolfe- Steward
Chace Gaudreau - Chef
Our Dive Sites
Sunday – Stairway, Amphitheatre, NWPT
Monday – The Dome, NWPT & Spanish Anchor, West Caicos
Tuesday – Driveway, Boat Cove, West Caicos
Wednesday – Gullies & Brandywine, West Caicos
Thursday – Sharks Hotel, Amphitheatre, & Eel Garden, NWPT
Friday – The Dome, NWPT
Guests were welcomed by the crew and the warm afternoon sun on Saturday aboard the Turks and Caicos Aggressor II. After getting their dive gear sorted and settling into their home for the week, our Swiss and American passengers enjoyed rum cocktails, wine, and charcuterie while getting to know one another. Most guests were new to the Aggressor fleet, however, one passenger joined us for her 19th Aggressor trip! Incredible. Chef Chace cooked us a brilliant dinner before we settled in for the night at the Turtle Cove Marina.
Just as the sun was peering above the horizon on Sunday, the crew was busy throwing lines and preparing for the departure from the harbor. A few keen passengers watched from the sundeck with a cup of locally roasted coffee as we moved the vessel through the channels beneath a gorgeous sunrise. We were pleased that the weather allowed us to dive a site called Pinnacles in nearby Grace Bay for our early morning checkout dive. After a pancake breakfast and a briefing, the guests were jumping into the quintessential Caribbean water with visibility as far as the eye can see. There were many reef sharks, including a very large pregnant female who was very curious about this group of divers. It was a great spectacle witnessing divers play chicken with a reef shark amongst the large sponges and sea fans. We couldn’t have asked for a better couple of checkout dives at Pinnacles with perfect conditions and a nice break from all the wind we had last week! Whilst enjoying some chocolate muffins, we made our way to Northwest Point for our next three dives at the crowd favorite site: The Dome. The underwater structure, known as the Dome, made for some fabulous photos of divers swimming through the remains of a reality TV Show that is now inhabited by schools of yellow tail snapper, goat fish, and a lazy Tiger Grouper. The night dive here brought even more excitement as video pro Sarah spotted two octopus, fighting crabs and lobsters, and a friendly turtle. One guest described it as the best dive of the day! Other guests went with Rob for a fluorescence dive, and came back raving about the experience: “unlike anything I’ve ever seen before,” exclaimed one emerging diver sporting the goofy black light glasses. Overall, A gorgeous first day above and under the water.
A few guests were enjoying their coffee on the sundeck with a bright pink and orange sunrise in the background as the crew prepared for the first dive of the day along Northwest Point. Amphitheatre, a site with beautiful topography and wildlife, graced us with a spotted moray eel, a Peterson anemone shrimp, and multiple stingrays among the usual sharks and lobsters thorough out our morning dives. In the afternoon we cruised down to Eel Garden where the garden eels were out to play, along with a gaudy clown crab and even a slender file fish among the many sea fans. A few more people tried the Florescence night dive at Eel garden where they saw loads of decorator crabs and nudibranchs come alive under the glow of the black light. We finished off the day with local snapper, freshly made coconut macaroons, and a wine toast while the boat made its way over to West Caicos in preparation for another day of diving adventures.
At 7am on Tuesday, the guests were jumping in to the blue again, but this time along West Caicos at a site called Driveway. After two dives here, one excited diver was excited to check hawksbill turtle off of his ‘To See’ list. Video Pro, Sarah, had a good time chasing divers along the wall here where we spotted moray eels, lobsters, crabs, Jaw fish, and juvenile butterfly fish. Best of all, we got some footage of a lobster and moray fighting over territory. Travelling along West Caicos, our next stop: Spanish Anchor. After three dives here, ALMOST everyone saw the sponge encrusted anchor, nevertheless our photo pro, Rob, got a shot of everyone next to the anchor for proof. Divers swam through the stunning swim throughs with the flamingo tongue covered sea fans and large barrel sponges along the wall. In the sand, our Instructor, Ellen, spotted a flounder and an iridescent cow fish. The stars of the night dive here were hunting blackjacks, a tawny nurse shark, and a few circling reef sharks just under the boat.
During the night we made our way two hours south to French Cay, an area we haven’t been able to reach for little over two weeks due to weather! Wednesday morning the guests woke up seemingly in the middle of the ocean at a dive site called Double D. Here we had a nice long interaction with a turtle trying to scratch his back on the reef crest, as well as many squirrel fish, queen angel fish, and schooling jacks intermixed with huge barracudas. After an American style Hamburger lunch buffet, we headed to the G-Spot near French Cay for our afternoon and night dives. One guest spotted the elusive frog fish here! We also had an octopus spotting and of course a fair share of reef sharks. The night dive here, typically known for the many tawny nurse sharks that can be seen here hunting, was better than ever with an eagle ray cruising by just under the boat. There was a frenzy of nurse sharks feeding, and a couple more octopus spotted amongst the rocks. To top it off, we enjoyed some local lobster tails expertly prepared by our Chef for dinner.
We had a particularly smooth crossing back to West Caicos in the night, to prepare for Thursday mornings dive at Gullies. It seems the eagle ray action followed us back to West Caicos, because we had another sighting just under the boat at Gullies. The rest of the dive was spent checking out the wire coral shrimp and banded sea crabs in the jagged crevices along the wall. Silver sides were spotted in the Gully just below some very large elephant ear sponges. We shifted along the uninhabited coast line to Boat Cove for the last 3 dives of the day. The coral garden of purple tube sponges and barrel sponges were a perfect backdrop for the queen triggerfish, angelfish, and rainbow runners we saw swimming along the reef crest. At night, we spotted the large anemone and an octopus sliding along the reef dramatically changing color to fit in with the encrusting sponges.
On our last day we found ourselves back at French Cay at Rock and Roll, however despite the name, the waters were quite calm and one guest described the dives here as “very peaceful.” Schools of spadefish, jacks, and spotlight parrotfish frolicked in the azure waters here. A spotted moray was caught swimming in between two coral heads, and squirrel fish were in abundance among the staghorn corals. Overall it was a surprisingly serene morning, taking in the warm air and turquoise hues of French Cay before making the journey back to the marina. The afternoon was spent enjoying a southern style lunch and beers on the sundeck as all the dive gear dried in the warm sun. We reminisced the week and celebrated our one and only Iron diver this week at the wine and cheese party Friday afternoon. It was a week of picture perfect weather with like-minded people at sea in the Caribbean; doesn’t get much better than that.