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Bahamas Aggressor Captain’s Log
March 16th-23rd 2019
Video Pro: Rob
Photo Pro: Ellen
Temperature: 77 F
Suggested Wet Suit Thickness: 3 - 5 mm
Blue Hole, Dog Rocks, Up Jumped the Devil, Jewfish Wall, Crab Mountain, Black Tip Wall, 3 Peaks, Danger Reef, Shroud Wall, Austin Smith, Whale Shark Wall, Crab Wall, Madison Avenue
Guests: Jin, Jim, Herrick, Eileen, Matt, Ricardo, Emma, Yulin
Eight guests from all over the world came to join us in the Bahamas late Saturday afternoon. After settling in, getting to know one another, and sorting out dive gear for the week, we enjoyed a lovely dinner by our very own French chef, Dorian. Shortly after, we departed the Nassau Marina for an hour ride to the Blue Hole. Prepared for an early dive in the morning, we were rocked to sleep by the calm Bahamian waters.
Early Sunday Morning, we enjoyed some fresh banana pancakes before our first dive of the day at the famous Blue Hole. After making sure everyone was properly weighted and comfortable in their equipment, we went to explore the site. We spotted three African Pompanos swimming around the outskirts of the Hole, a couple of Caribbean reef sharks cruised out of the depths, and a whopping five Peterson Shrimp were found on one coral head. Southern Rays cruised along the sandy outskirts to the seagrass under the boat. On the second dive we saw a large male reef shark, but unfortunately, he had a hook and line hanging from his mouth. During both dives, we found angel fish, sergeant fish, butterfly fish, and even a queen trigger fish. After our second dive, we made the three-hour journey to Exuma Sound for more diving! We were blessed with glass off conditions, clear skies, and great visibility at our next dive site: Dog Rocks. The afternoon and night dive here brought schooling oceanic triggerfish, lobsters, crabs, eels, and even a green turtle made an appearance. Amongst the coral and algae, we also found lettuce leaf slugs, nudibranchs, and some colorful blennies. We couldn’t have asked for better weather or dive conditions for the first day of the charter.
The sun is rising a bit later with the time change, thus Monday started with a breathtaking sunrise at breakfast. An hour later we entered the Exuma Marine Park, where we jumped in at Black Tip Wall for our fist dive of the day. Reef sharks cruised above us , while we spotted a red-tipped sea goddess down below. A lizard fish sat perched on a coral head staring up at us with beady eyes. On the second dive here, we found a friendly filefish, a couple of channel crabs, an enormous lobster, blennies, and flamingo tongues. We moved north through the park to 3 peaks, for a dive after a wonderful Mexican style lunch. With sunny weather and the calmest of seas, we watched the diverse population of colorful reef fish go about their day in the aquarium like conditions. Next, we moved to Danger Reef where we had a surprise shark dive. For reasons unknown, we found a coral head with five reef sharks circling at high speeds. We sat in the sand and watched the sharks buzz by. Swimming through the narrow coral heads with three sharks pushing past was the highlight of the day. The sharks weren’t around for the night dive here, but we did see some neck crabs and a scrawled file fish amongst the usual night critters.
After a delicious eggs benedict breakfast, we hoped back in at Danger Reef to see it in the morning light. There were still a few sharks around, but the groupers stole the show this time. Nassau and Bahamian Groupers hanging just under the boat were not shy around the divers. Shark reef was our next destination, and the jewelfish was on full display like a diamond in the reef here. Big groupers amongst a school of yellowtail snapper in the morning light just under the boat made for some fun photos and video with this group of divers. After lunch we cruised to the northernmost point of the Marine Park to dive at Shroud Wall. We were graced with a very old, very big Loggerhead Turtle on top of the wall. Glass off surface conditions, sunny skies, and infinite visibility made the topography of this wall really stand out. We left the Marine Park for our famous shark dive at the Austin Smith wreck. Our very own Dive guide, Rob, took the bait triangle with fresh lionfish in it down to the wreck as the reef sharks swarmed. Divers swam around the wreck with sharks in all directions. Binx, the resident grouper who thinks he is a shark, swam up to divers for a quick back scratch. It was an exciting spectacle and the highlight of the afternoon. Unfortunately, we had to cancel the night dive in order to take shelter from a large front coming from Nassau. However, the guests enjoyed wine paired with the plethora of movies we have on board.
On Wednesday, we awoke to perfect weather yet again, there was even a few nurse sharks hanging out just under the boat in the shallows! We set off for an early dive at Whale Shark Wall. Although we didn’t see a Whale Shark, we did see lots of little Gobies along the top of the wall and even some juvenile Damselfish circling the wire corals. The second dive here, we saw a lizardfish, diamond blenny, a few yellow headed Jawfish, and a green turtle. Next, we moved to Crab Wall. A curious hawksbill turtle came to say hello with an entourage of reef sharks. Blennies, and more blennies. We love photographing the blennies! Atlantic spade fish, and a school of Amber Jacks also stopped in. Madison Avenue, our next site, is a stunning shallow reef. The late afternoon light really made this dive a show stopper. Countless colorful reef fish: sergeant majors, parrot fish, trigger fish, butterfly and angel fish. On the night dive here, our photo pro Caleb, found a juvenile drum fish, channel crabs, and brittle stars.
On Thursday, we started the day at Up Jumped the Devil; a topographically stunning site. 100 feet off the wall there is an algae and sponge encrusted sun lounger. Swim throughs in the deep crevices open up to the bluest water and schools of oceanic triggerfish. We moved to Jewfish wall for the next two dives. A hawksbill turtle came to play, and the elusive hogfish made an appearance as well. We also saw a scrawled file fish, slender file fish, and porcupine puffer fish. We finished off another perfect day of weather at Crab Mountain. There were perching lizard fish, queen trigger fish, and schools of yellow tail snapper. After a stunning sunset dinner, a green turtle made an appearance during the night dive amongst loads of crabs and lobsters.
The engines started early Friday morning to head back towards Nassau for our final dive of the trip. Around 9 am we anchored at Periwinkle; a shallow dive full of life. Guests kneeled in the sand as our instructor Ellen fed the swarms of sergeant majors and yellow tail snappers with cheerios. The divers were overwhelmed with fish just inches from their mask. The fish continued to follow us around as we explored the nearby coral heads where we found two cow fish, and hundreds of Christmas tree worms among the large brain coral and barrel sponges. Our photo pro even found a sea slug on a blade of sea grass under the boat. Everyone came up with a satisfied smile, ready to warm up in the hot tub as we set off for the marina. Although the diving is finished, the guests continued to enjoy their private yacht with all its amenities. At 5 pm, we reunited on the sundeck for the traditional wine and cheese party. We reminisced the week over Dorian’s delicious conch dip, and recognized three Iron Divers, as well as 5 newly certified nitrox divers. We can’t thank the guests enough for making this week one for the books!