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Turks & Caicos Aggressor II Captain’s Log
April 20 – April 27 2019
Turks & Caicos Islands
Air temperature: 79° - 86° F
Water temperature: 80°F
Visibility: 50 - 100 feet
Thermal recommendation: 3mm full wetsuit
Captain: Amanda Smith
Engineer: Robert Smith
Chef: Chace Gaudreau
Video Pro: Sarah Pearson
Photo Pro: James Whittle
Divemaster: Deikie Quant
Dennis, Emily & Casey, MJ & Hans, Gene & Mari Jo, Wade & Peggy, Amy, Stacy, Warren, David, Gabrielle & Jeff, Casey, Mark & Dawn
Sunday: Eel Garden, Amphitheater- NWPT
Monday: Anchor – West Caicos, G-Spot – French Cay
Tuesday: Rock n Roll- French Cay, Brandywine – West Caicos
Wednesday: Driveway, Boat Cove - West Caicos
Thursday: Gullies – West Caicos, The Dome - NWPT
Friday: Sharks Hotel -NWPT
Setting sail on the sunset tide allowed for some beautiful light filtering through the salon windows to illuminate the 1st dinner to kick off the adventure. The ride was short and comfortable around to the North West Point of the island for our first dive in the morning.
The day kicks off with a sunrise over the island while breakfast is served. We started off on Eel Garden in some crystal clear water with the cleaning stations all still open for business. Some Nassau Groupers were getting cleaned at various points along the reef and in the shallower bits over the wall. There was even one Barracuda enjoying the clean but swam off as soon as a guest tried to get a picture for the occasion. At the top of a small fissure in the wall there were 2 Spinney Lobsters fighting, as when we arrived at the scene the smaller lobster quickly thrust its tail underneath itself and jetted away to another crevice to hide in. the usual guys in grey suits or the resident Reef Sharks were enjoying the view of new peoples to swim with. One of the guides managed to find a minute nudibranch on a frond of soft coral. After our morning sweet snack we hopped back in the water and found a juvenile Trumpetfish using a Sea Rod as protection as it was only around 3 inches long. Moving along the top of the wall we found a Yellowhead Jawfish popping his head up from the hole with puffy cheeks and eggs in its mouth, he was being very protective and didn’t spit them out for some aeration while we were watching. We still got a good look at his black lines under his chin that gives away that he is hiding eggs.
Moving onto Amphitheatre for the rest of the day gave us the opportunity to see a Sun Anemone Shrimp in between some rocks on an anemone under the boat. Swimming along the wall found a Hawksbill Turtle cruising in the opposite direction swimming through the group before taking a bite to eat on some black sponge before taking off again. The night dive started on a good foot with the fluorescence diving spotting a juvenile Reef Scorpionfish and a Trypania (Nudibrach) as well as a Mantis Shrimp feeding on blood worms attracted to the lights. The normal night dive also had a great time as they found a Slipper Lobster and the first juvenile Spotted Drum to been seen for the week.
Moving over to West Caicos after the dive and mooring off at The Anchor to spend the night and dive the next morning. Swimming through the small valley that forms the swim through with the anchor embedded in the wall allowed for a fun picture opportunities as each guest swam by. Heading off along the wall we found some Whip Coral Shrimp scuttling along the coral almost disappearing as we tried to show it to guests. A few sharks appeared along the dive to come check us out before moving off on their own mission.
Moving the schedule up due to some good weather conditions we decided to head out to French Cay during lunch to ensure we got the mooring we wanted. This led us to a deserted French Cay without another boat in sight and G-Spot all to ourselves. With an abundance of Yellowhead Jawfish near the mooring pin to view and look for males with eggs to lose track of time and the soft corals leading to the edge of the wall allowing for many hidey holes for smaller life to hide. In one such hole near the top of the wall we found a Golden Tail Moray poking its head out and watching everyone swim past. There was still a Nurse Shark with its head tucked under a ledge snoozing which allowed us to get some great shots of it and allowed some guests to get close.
The night dive on G-Spot was a highlight that all who dove enjoyed. With the Nurse Sharks feeding and the Reef Sharks getting involved when there was a chance for some free food. The Basket Stars were out in force along the top of the wall using the slight current to feed, most of the ones we saw were already scrunched up into balls having collected all the food they can and moving it towards its mouth. On the way back towards the boat we came across 2 large squid using some soft corals for protection and to hold position as all the commotion was going on around them.
The morning to us to Rock n Roll the site next to G-Spot to glide along the less sheer sloping walls of rocky valleys and soft corals. Plenty of lobsters and shrimp population the cracks and crevices along the wall. A Soapfish seemed to be looking for some food as it was circling the same coral head rubbing against it occasionally and then quickly shooting forward under a rock only to continue the circling. Leading us towards the large barrel sponges of Brandywine we were able to find an adult Spotted Drum next to a juvenile Spotted Drum under the same coral and rock head. One of the guests spotted an Eagle Ray swimming off into the distance for a few seconds as we turned the dive to head back to the boat. The possessive Damsel that lives on the encrusted Jeep engine was there to greet us and make sure we didn’t get too close to his home.
Just along the West Caicos wall we stopped at Gullies to meet up with Sully the resident Reef Shark for some swim throughs and great picture opportunities. Finding some Moray Eels and a huge school of Jacks beneath the boat made for and enjoyable overall dive before moving to the entertainment of The Dome. Dropping in along the wall to the chimney funnel that allows us to gain some fun pictures and allows the guests to view the inside of the semi enclosed funnel and the treasures it hides. Many cleaning shrimp and a few smaller cleaner wrasse were eagerly awaiting the next customer as they watched us go up the chimney. Moving back along the wall we find our turning point of natural rock that allows us to head towards The Dome as it lies just beyond the sight of the wall. With the Grunts and Schoolmasters waiting for our arrival inside the collapsed segments that made up The Dome. The night dive there is always fun as the white lighters set off first followed shortly after by the black light divers guided to the wall and back. The white lights made their way directly to The Dome to find a free swimming Moray Eel going to hide in the crevices offered by the Dome. Inside the dome we found the Hawksbill Turtle sleeping under the main center base. Venturing just north of the mooring point past the coral trees being grown there lies a sand bank teaming with a collective of life. Namely Banded Coral Shrimp in rock crevices and an overwhelming number of Flamingo Tongues on most of the Sea Rods and Sea Plumes. A grouper was feeding along the edge of the bank which was interesting to see. To end the dive we see a squid just before the boat hovering before a small rock before inking and gliding off quickly. Directly beneath the boat was a Barracuda hunting the Snapper and Jacks feeding on what is attracted to our light.
Our final morning brings us to Sharks Hotel for the earlier morning dives to ensure we can make it into the marina with the tide. It was enjoyed by the few iron divers and a handful of early risers to the near dawn dive. Two Green Morays were found in the same crevice along the wall not far from the boat. The friendly Nassau Grouper that seems to hangout under the boat was there still as the guests had fun with him as he interacted with everyone by swimming up to them and getting close for some good pictures. Heading back to the marina to enjoy the final meal from the chef and soaking up the sunset at the wine and cheese party were a fun end to the week. Looking forward to the weeks ahead.