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Bahamas Aggressor Captain’s Log
March 30th-April 6th
Video Pro: Brynne
Photo Pro: Caleb
Temperature: 75 -72 F
Suggested Wet Suit Thickness: 3 - 5 mm
Dive Sites: Blue Hole, Dog Rocks, Whale Shark Wall, Cracked Coral Head, 3 Peaks, Danger Reef, Shark Reef, Shroud Wall, Austin Smith, Crab Wall, Black Tip Wall, Washing Machine, Basket Reef, Barracuda Shoals, Periwinkle, Smugglers Plane
Guests: Jocelyn, Judith, Sayaka, Kevin, Amy, Rich, Sean, Sunny, Richard, Daniel, Carolien
Eleven excited divers boarded the boat at the Elizabeth Bay Marina in Nassau on Saturday afternoon. Japan, Canada, USA, and the Netherlands were all represented on the Bahamas Aggressor this week. We spent a lovely evening getting to know one another and enjoying Chef Dorian’s baby back ribs and jerk chicken before turning in for the night.
Before first light, the crew prepared the vessel to set off for our first dive site of the trip: The Blue Hole. Although the visibility was less than ideal, we had a close encounter with a couple of tawny nurse sharks, a few reef sharks swimming out of the shadows, and a baby lionfish hiding under a sea fan. An adult African Pompano swam past as we searched the coral heads and found many Pederson shrimps, a sun anemone shrimp, spotted cleaner shrimp, and banded sea crabs. After two am dives at the Blue Hole, we made the long journey to the Exumas to Dog Rocks. Picture perfect conditions, infinite visibility and the bluest water you’ve ever seen was only the beginning. We encountered the friendliest green turtle, who even gave our photo pro, Brynne, a kiss on the regulator! On the second dive, we saw a free swimming golden spotted eel, a scrawled file fish, and a porcupine pufferfish. The night dive was full of little critters such as neck crabs, banded sea crabs, lobsters, arrow crab, and a trunkfish.
The day started with a stunning sunrise at the bow as the staff moved the boat to our next destination. After a pancake breakfast we jumped in for the first dive at Whale Shark Wall. Along the top of the wall there was a plethora of fish including fairy basslete, angel fish, oceanic triggerfish, and schools of horse-eye jack and yellow snapper just under the boat. Midmorning we moved to Cracked Coral Head, where the patient divers spotted a few jawfish, and a scorpionfish camouflaged in the coral. We moved to the Exuma Marine Park during Mexican Monday lunch; fresh guacamole galore! After lunch we hoped in at 3 peaks, where the sharks swam over the sand and blennies moved in and out of the coral heads. Next, we moved to one of our favorites, Danger Reef, for the afternoon and night dives. The water was so tempting our chef and instructor jumped in for a swim and just under the boat a Hammerhead circled around the coral heads with a loggerhead turtle just above it! A few guests jumped in and got a glimpse before they swam off into the blue. The afternoon and night dive did not disappoint either; we had a visit from a hawksbill turtle, and we spotted a slipper lobster, drum, and slender file fish. An epic day in the Caribbean!
We started the day with an eggs benedict breakfast while watching a picture-perfect sunrise over the Exumas islands. Shark reef was a hit in the early morning light; we found a triple fin blenny, spiny head blenny, and Pederson shrimp. On the second dive, we found an enormous Loggerhead sleeping in a coral crevice that we accidently woke up as we slowly approached. He came up to each of the nearby divers before swimming off into the blue. Afterwards we found a jewel fish and a porcupine puffer swimming over the reef. On our next dive site, Shroud Wall, we saw another Loggerhead, as well as a couple of channel crabs. Next, we went to our famous shark dive at the Austin Smith. The visibility at the shipwreck made for some great pictures and videos of the reef sharks that swarmed the wreck. Binx, our very own shark wrangling grouper, also made an appearance guarding the bait triangle and looking for a backrub from our divers. On the night dive, we spotted lobsters scouring the wreck and blennies inhabiting coral heads that claimed the man-made structure long ago.
We jumped in for our 8 am dive at Crab Wall, where we saw yet another turtle and a few notorious lionfish. Another day of perfect weather; I don’t think we’ve ever had this many gorgeous days in one week this year! Next, we moved down to Black Tip Wall, and what are the chances, we saw a loggerhead turtle hiding under the coral heads. We also spotted a variety of blennies, a few southern rays, and a huge king crab. For the late afternoon we prepared the divers for our one of a kind dive, The Washing Machine. We plunged off the side of the gates one after another into the chaotic currents of this eddy; I would say this week it was set on the delicate cycle, but we all still got a good spin. As we drifted past Basket Star reef, we saw a baby reef shark, a green turtle, and a lizard fish. Because of a slack tide just in time for our night dive, we did Basket Star for our night dive as well. With no current, we were able to find a slipper lobster, a few stingrays, and a variety of crabs.
Because of the beauty of this reef and the timing of the tides, we decided to dive Basket Reef in the morning light. Some of the healthiest coral on the reef, was absolutely stunning with the sun rays coming through and we even spotted a red-tipped sea goddess. Barracuda Shoals, our next destination, is another quite shallow dive with beautiful coral heads as far as the eye can see. We saw Jawfish in the sand, rays cruising over the reef, and blennies hiding in the coral heads. On the second dive, we spotted the resident Barracuda and even a few reef sharks racing around the reef. Our afternoon and night dive on the Smugglers Plane yielded all sorts of cool critters such as banded sea crabs, arrow crabs, sea anemones, hairy crabs, and loads of stingrays sleeping on the wreck.
As the guests enjoyed a delicious pancake and ham breakfast, we made our way back to Nassau for a 9 am dive at Periwinkle. Although our streak of perfect weather came to an end, we enjoyed a beautiful last dive underwater in our “aquarium.” Brynne, our video pro, fed the swarms of sergeant fish stale cheerios, before we went off and explored the coral reef where we saw cow fish, Pederson Shrimp, and loads of yellowtail snapper. We enjoyed one last meal together when we arrived back at the Elizabeth Bay Marina before our guests dispersed to explore the surrounding area. Everyone met up on the top deck for our traditional wine and cheese party. Although all the divers did most of the dives offered this week, only two did every single one. We celebrated the two iron divers and the others who reached diving milestones this week before going out for a nice dinner on the island. Saying goodbye Saturday morning was bittersweet; we had such an excellent week we didn’t want it to end, but we are excited to see what is in store for next week!