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Turks & Caicos Aggressor II :

 

Log Date: Saturday, Apr 27, 2019
Entry By: Turks & Caicos Aggressor Crew









 


Turks & Caicos Aggressor II Captain’s Log

April 20 – April 27 2019

Turks & Caicos Islands

 

Our Conditions

Air temperature: 79° - 86° F

Water temperature: 80°F

Visibility: 50 - 100 feet

Thermal recommendation: 3mm full wetsuit

 

Our Crew

Captain:  Amanda Smith

Engineer: Robert Smith

Chef: Chace Gaudreau

Video Pro: Sarah Pearson

Photo Pro: James Whittle

Divemaster: Deikie Quant

 

Our Guests

Brian & Sari, Eric & Catherine, Matt & Catherine, Jim & Alena, David, George, Bill, Karen, Roxy & David, David & Maureen.

 

Sunday: Eel Garden, Amphitheater - NWPT

Monday: The Dome – NWPT, Boat Cove – West Caicos

Tuesday: Anchor, Magic Mushroom – West Caicos

Wednesday: Gullies, Brandywine – West Caicos

Thursday: Driveway – West Caicos, Sharks Hotel - NWPT

Friday: Piranha Cove – Grace Bay

 

 

Our Week

We begin the week with an early morning departure to catch the tide and to watch the sunrise during breakfast. Heading off to North West Point for the beginning of the week to start us off at Eel Garden. Watching the new divers explore the site for the first time and discover the wonders that the Garden Eels and cleaning shrimp have to offer is very exciting. Following us along the dive and then swimming away when she got too close was a pregnant Reef Shark which the guests enjoyed as they didn’t expect to see a shark so soon. A spotted moray was peeking out of his small crack to view the commotion that was moving past him and remained partially in the open so we could get some nice close up shots. Our engineer Rob, who finds delight in finding the macro life along the reef, managed to find a very small nudibranch called a Hamner’s Tritonia on a rather large sea plume. Thanks to a guest who took a picture of it all the tiny critter we were able to show it to the guests who missed it. A green turtle even decided to join us for a short time.

 

For the afternoon and night dive we were are Amphitheatre and the discovery of black light diving. More turtles showed up to have a small graze and swim on. Ending the dive we found some jaw fish with eggs near the boat. A large Cubera Snapper was mingling amongst the smaller fish looking to steal some food. Nearing the boat we found two large squid resting on the sea floor as if guarding their territories.

 

Moving to The Dome in the morning before the first dive commences. Moving through to the chimney north of the boat we were given a great chance to get some great guest shots with some of the wall. With a trove of life hidden in the chimney it makes for an exciting ascent. Looking for our ‘Ear” and make to find our way back towards The Dome. Finding a free swimming Spotted Eel was a great way to start off the intriguing   site. The grunts hiding inside the collapsed Dome allow for some great backgrounds for photos.  The coral trees were still standing string and were giving some protection to two small Caribbean Reef Squid amongst the higher rows of coral.

 

Setting sail for Boat Cove at lunch was a little bit choppy during the crossing between the islands. Once sheltered behind West Caicos it was calmer but there was still some wind blowing over the island. The Barracuda were out in force on this site for some reason. During each part of the dives there were always at least 2 or 3 Barracuda on the reef or swimming past us. A turtle was visiting the far north part of the reef and was even seen at the surface above the divers getting a breath of fresh air. When the divers returned from the fourth dive the weather seemed to be turning and a squall came through with some rain. During dinner the thunder and lightning that was seen on the horizon moved closer and caused us to cancel the night dive for safety reasons.

 

Thankfully the wind and rain died down during the night and allowed us to move to the southern dive site on the island, Anchor. Not far along the top of the wall in a larger rock formation a guest found an adult Spotted Drum circling inside the small cave that it had found. Looking somewhat like a waterfall cascading down the sheer wall was a large school of Blue Tangs with some Creole Wrasse and Blue Chromis intermingled with the tangs flowing around the top of the wall. Halfway down the wall a Golden Tail Moray was peeking through his hole in the wall only popping his head out every now and again. The Goat fish were enjoying the sandy patches under the boat and grazing through the sand followed by rays and a few Hogfish.

 

Our afternoon and night dives were at Magic Mushroom not far north of the Anchor. At the Lobster Tower near the mooring we found a juvenile Trunkfish trying to hide a bit from the gentle current moving through. He was so much fun to watch as he pecked at some algae on the corals and kept looking for bits of food. Along the wall there were 2 Neck Crabs on the same sea plume filtering for some food and hiding in the foliage. The recently hatched eggs for the Yellowhead Jawfish were starting to show along the rubbly areas as there were a lot more small Jawfish sneaking out for food. Directly under the boat were 2 large rays swimming about and fluffing the sand up behind a few Goatfish.

 

Moving on to meet Sully at Gullies was exciting as she had her usual entourage of 2 sharks following her around the reef as she cruised. In each direction along the wall we managed to find a juvenile Spotted Drums. One along the top of the wall and the other just over the top of the wall hiding behind an encrusting coral. A guests found two Wire Coral Shrimp along the south part of the wall trying to hide from our light as we came into get a closer look at it. A wondering Turtle found its way swimming through our group looking at the corals but never taking and bites and then just swimming along leaving the group behind.

 

After lunch we moved to Brandywine as we were waiting for another boat top move off the site. As soon as we moored up we hit the water and enjoyed the gentle sloping walls and large barrel sponges displayed in the midday sun. finding the encrusted Jeep engine near the drop point as interesting as ‘Satan’ the possessive Damsel fish was around to charge at all who came near his home. The Wandering Anemone the appears greeny blue under natural light but then turns bright pink once you shine artificial light on it. The same juvenile Spotted Drum that was seen in a rocky hole along the northern wall was still in the same place as the previous week, though the adult was no longer around.  More lobsters were fighting along the top of the wall causing the smaller to retreat and fly away while the larger entered his hole. Under the boat we found a Golden Tail Moray under a small over hang.  There were some sharks active around at the night dive around the boat and along the wall.  A Slipper Lobster was scuttling down one part of the wall.

 

Our last dive along West Caicos was at Driveway. With the nice slopping driveway like slope starting the dive we entered the wall at about 80ft and began the journey to find the hidden treasures within the cracks and crevices. Finding a Mantis Shrimp on top of a small rock, once the guest tried to move around to the front of it to get a better picture it disappeared into its hole before he could line up the shot. Just a bit along the wall there was a Spotted Moray moving between some rocks before hiding under some coral and not coming back out to allow us to see it again. The usual sharks were milling about the reef and wall but weren’t coming in to close.

 

We made our way back to the North West Point of Providenciales to pick up the Sharks Hotel mooring and meet the friendly grouper that awaits us under the boat. There was a Nurse Shark gliding about under the boat and off into the distance as we swam by. One of the largest Barracudas that we have seen in a while was closer to the mooring just relaxing behind a coral head to use it for protection from the very gentle current that was moving through. Finding two small Spotted Lobsters in holes next to each other was a nice find as they were not deep holes so even with them both tucked up into the holes as far as they could go they were still in good view for the guests to see. The black light fluorescence diving was a huge hit on this dive site as they found a large Scorpion fish just by the boat at the end of the dive.

 

Our final dive of the trip was at Piranha Cove in front of Grace Bay. We had a tight schedule to get back into the marina so we did a dawn dive to watch the reef and wall come alive. Right at the entrance to Piranha Cove was a large Barracuda getting cleaned by some cleaner fish for about 5 min as we watched. Along the wall just before we turned to head up and turn the dive we found a tiny juvenile Spotted Drum playing in the outgoing tide. The moment we hit the top of the wall the fish finally woke up and we saw the reef strips come alive as the fish come up to feed on the tide carrying the nutrients out and down the wall. Under the boat there were some huge Horse Eyed Jacks that were circling around the divers as they were making their way back towards the boat. Thanks to diving in Grace Bay we were only a short trip away from the marina and headed in for the chefs last meal and some down time to make sure all the gear was ready for putting away. We enjoyed the wine and cheese party on the sundeck and watch the sunset while talking about future trips and handing out the awards to those who had earned them. Looking forward to the new week and what it has in store.