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Bahamas Aggressor Captain’s Log
March 23rd-30th 2019
Photo Pro: Ellen
Video Pro: Rob
Dive guide: Caleb
Temperature: 75 -72 F
Suggested Wet Suit Thickness: 3 - 5 mm
Dive Sites: Hole in the Wall, Split Coral Head, Jakes Hole, CutnRun, Cobia Cage, Up Jumped the Devil, Dog Rocks, Black Tip Wall, 3 Peaks, Danger Reef, Shroud Wall, Washing Machine, Whale Shark Wall, Austin Smith, JewFish Wall, Crab Wall, Barracuda Shoals, Lobster No Lobster
Guests: Brent, Ann, Camille, Dan, Joe, Veronika, Said, Jacklyn, Orlaugh, Alan, Barbara, Knut
We began our week at Elizabeth Bay where 12 guests joined us in the beautiful Bahamas. After we welcomed the new divers aboard, we briefed them about the week ahead and they got to know one another over a delicious island style dinner by our very own Chef Dorian. Very shortly after dinner we set off on the long journey to Eleuthera. After midnight, while most of the guests were sleeping, we moored at Hole in the Wall for our early morning dive on Sunday.
Sunday morning started bright and early with a pancake breakfast. After some last-minute gear preparations, we jumped in for our 8 am checkout dive at Hole in the Wall. Although the weather was a bit windy and cloudy, the visibility underwater was over 80 feet. Divers enjoyed swimming through the giant hole out, looking out to the deep blue off the cascading wall. We spotted a few lobsters and angel fish, but the swim through stole the show. Next, we prepared for a shark dive at split coral head. Our first dive here was mostly spent in the sand watching the sharks swarm around the divers and the bait triangle. Then we headed out to the wall where we saw a lobster living in a conch shell! On the second dive we explored around the coral head, where we took some cool pictures of divers swimming through the split. We shallowed up a bit for our afternoon and night dives at Jakes Hole. Here, the coral is healthy and colorful only 20 feet below the surface. There is a hole that we cannot swim into, however there is an abundance of life just around the edges and if you swim over it you can feel the warm fresh water from the island pushing through it. On the night dive here, we spotted a shy octopus, a few nudibranchs, and a porcupine pufferfish. So far we are off to a good start out here in Eleuthera.
We continued to explore Eleuthera at a dive site called Cut and Run for our first dive of the day. Here we spotted neck crabs, turtles, a few southern stingrays, the infamous lionfish, and the elusive coral shrimp. Next, we moved to Cobia Cage. The outdated fish trap is over 30 feet high and looks like an alien spaceship underwater. Although no longer in use, all kinds of critters such as the yellow line arrow crab have reclaimed the man-made structure as their own. After a lovely Mexican style lunch, we moved to Up Jumped the Devil. After spotting the old algae covered sun lounger at depth, saw some rays gliding over the tops of the many ridges. Two lucky guests were lucky enough to be graced by a circling HAMMERHEAD on the way back to the boat! Thankfully they had videos and photos to prove the rare sighting; you just never know what might swim out of the blue! We had our last two dives of the day at Dog Rocks, a staff favorite. Amidst the many swim throughs, we
We made our way to the Exumas Marine Park where we did two dives at Black-tip Wall. We saw a green turtle cruising by in the early morning light, a few sharks, a Huge Barracuda under the boat, a couple of Nassau Groupers, and a lobster hiding in the wall. After a enjoying some amazing boat made turkey burgers in paradise, our boat came across a pod of pilot whales!! We put the boat in neutral and they played just below our bow. The pod of 12 pilot whales stayed with us for over 20 minutes letting us get a good luck at them as they breathed on the surface. Two of our guides led our lucky guests on a quick swim with the whales. They were a bit shy, but with infinite visibility most of the guests got a good luck at them before they ducked down to the depths of deep blue. Still reeling from this incredibly rare experience, we still had 3 more dives to go! Next stop: 3 peaks. This is a stunning reef in the afternoon light with colorful parrotfish, painted lobsters, and sharks. We even saw a juvenile reef shark. Our last dives of the day were at Danger Reef. We couldn’t have asked for better conditions today, and this site was no exception. As we swam around the 15 ft coral heads we spotted blennies hiding in the reef, a few channel crabs, and a school of huge amber jacks.
We started the morning at our final dive site in the marine park, Shroud Wall. Here we saw a sharp nose pufferfish, a massive Bahamian Grouper, and a shy Queen Triggerfish. Shortly after our first dive we briefed guests for the next unique drift dive that is the Washing Machine. The currents were more of a gentle cycle today, but we did see a turtle before we were spat out on the famous basket star reef. Another diver spotted a red-tipped sea goddess as we drifted past. Still in the Exumas, we moved to Whale Shark Wall where we saw a grouper and trumpet fish hunting together, and a banded coral shrimp cleaning an eel. Our final dives of the day were on the Austin Smith wreck. The fading afternoon light was a good setting for this reef shark dive. Sharks buzzed around the divers; one in particular came in very close. Unfortunately, he had a big chunk of flesh taken out just in front of his dorsal fin either from a propeller or predator.
Our run of perfect weather came to an end as the winds picked up, but the underwater conditions at our first dive site, JewFish Wall, were completely unaffected. We saw queen angel fish, queen triggerfish and flamingo tongues galore. Our next two dive at Crab Wall did not disappoint; we came across a three-legged Hawksbill turtle, a few lizard fish, and a juvenile drum. Another crew favorite, Barracuda Shoals, was up next on the schedule. On the afternoon dive we saw the resident Barracuda under the boat, a lemon ray gliding in the sand, and a Southern stingray burying itself on the ocean floor, and the photographic fingerprint cyphoma on a sea fan. Our guide Caleb found 3 cow fish on the night dive amongst the many channel crabs and lobsters.
We jumped in at first light Friday morning for our last dive of the trip due to approaching weather conditions. At Lobster, No Lobster we did not see the rumored lobster march that Cousteau named the site for, however, we saw banded sea crabs, Pederson shrimp, and a juvenile file fish. After a big breakfast, the guests warmed up on the sundeck as we made our way back to Nassau. Back on land, we enjoyed one last meal from the beloved Chef Dorian and then some set off for some retail therapy or some tropical cocktails. At the traditional wine and cheese party we reminisced the week and awarded two iron diver awards! We covered a lot of ground this week and saw so much wildlife. We want to thank this fabulous group of guests for a fun week aboard the Bahamas Aggressor!