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Turks & Caicos Aggressor II Captain’s Log
8 - 15 JUNE 2019
Turks & Caicos Islands
Air temperature: 81° - 86° F
Water temperature: 81° - 82°F
Visibility: 50 - 100 feet
Thermal recommendation: 3mm full wetsuit
Captain: Amanda Smith
Engineer: Robert Smith
Chef: Chace Gaudreau
Video Pro: James Whittle
Instructor: Luis Peralta
Instructor: Alizee Zimmermann
David, Suzanne, Jim, Jennifer, Theresa, Michelle, Christine, Ron, Sandy, Diane, Nancy, Garth, Austin, Sarah, Dylan, Kenneth, Michelle & Anna
Our Dive Sites
Sunday: Eel Garden & Amphitheatre – NWPT
Monday: The Dome – NWP & Boat Cove – West Caicos
Tuesday: Spanish Anchor – West Caicos & G-Spot – French Cay
Wednesday: Driveway & Magic Mushroom – West Caicos
Thursday: Gullies – West Caicos & Shark Hotel & The Dome – NWPT
Friday: Two Step - NWPT
A full boat this week with a wonderful group all travelling together. Members of the One World Dive and Travel shop based out of Colorado, flew down to the sunny Turks & Caicos Islands for a week of fun in the sun and superb diving. Due to the tides we left the marina early and anchored out in the crystal clear waters of Grace Bay. It truly was a glassy swimming pool. As we waited for the last of our guests to arrive and get picked up by chase boat, those on board enjoyed a swim whilst freediving down (the whole 10 feet) and picking up sand dollars. Being in a marine park we put them all back but still, photos were taken and it marked the beginning of the vacation.
After a safety briefing and personal introductions, the chef delighted everyone with a delicious meal. Once our final two were onboard we pulled up anchor and made way across the pancake flat ocean towards North West Point.
As the sun rose in the East, our guests slowly appeared one by one for a cooked to order breakfast followed by our first dive. Eel garden does not disappoint and a plethora of headshield slugs of different colours and patterns dotted the sand beneath the boat. At first glance few people notice these ¼ inch beauties, but once you see them, you realize how alive the sand really is. Caribbean reef sharks cruised off the wall’s edge as southern stingrays slid across the sand looking for a taste of the dive sites namesake. In the afternoon we moved over to one of NWP’s iconic dive sites; Amphitheatre. This dive site, named for the huge scoop that’s been taken out of the wall is popular for a reason. Schools of Atlantic Spadefish were one of the highlights as well as decorator and neck crabs galore. The Spadefish even showed up on the night dive which is fairly rare! Along with these stripped beauties, a host of Channel Clinging crabs delighted our divers and kept them entertained with their interesting feeding behavior. Hot chocolate with some Caicos Cream and marshmallows and tired heads rested on comfy pillows.
On Monday morning we moved over to another iconic dive site, known as The Dome. This site is a 2 in 1 kind of place. Not far north from The Dome, down around 80 feet there is a vertical swim through known as The Chimney. Our photo pro for the week set himself up as the guide led divers along the wall to get their portraits taken. The Turks and Caicos is known for creatures big and small. Amongst the small are wire coral shrimp which perfectly match the colour of the wire they inhabit. Difficult to see, and even harder to photograph! The ‘landmark’ that lets divers know where to turn back in has a huge purple sea fan on it with several decorator crabs just hanging out waiting to be photographed. Back at The Dome a host of Secretary blennies pop in and out of the metal structure, their googly eyes causing some underwater laughter amongst the observers. Also in this area are 4 coral nurseries set up by the Turks & Caicos Reef Fund who also maintain our dive moorings here in the islands. These are Acropora (staghorn & elkhorn) nurseries and host little critters like slender file fish which are always fun to find!
As warm soup was served and burgers were made we crossed to West Caicos where we moored up at Boat Cove for the afternoon and night dives. On one of the dives a sponge was spawning which is rare and most certainly an interesting sight to see! More Atlantic Spadefish cruised the top of the wall as a few Caribbean Reef sharks gracefully did their figure 8 patterns up and down the wall. Boat Cove is a spectacular night dive. There were sharks, crabs and eels, but what made this night dive so special was a friendly octopus who spent over 10 minutes displaying and changing colour and texture for our divers. Comfortable and in control of his coral head, he posed for photographs and was un-phased by multiple flashes.
At daybreak we moved the boat to our most southern dive site along West Caicos; Spanish Anchor. This infamous dive site has a gulley running through the wall in which a 400yr+ anchor is lodged. Encrusted with coral and sponges over the centuries some divers manage to miss it, but not to worry if you did… likely hood is there will be a photo of your face next to it in the week presentation! This dive site has a beautiful array of hard corals and is a great spot for finding those odd shaped bottom dwellers like Scorpion fish and Peacock flounders.
As the guests helped themselves to chef’s slow cooked Carolina style ribs we made our way over to French Cay. This tiny spit of land on the edge of the Caicos Banks is only accessible in favourable weather conditions but is home a very unique night dive. This week, for the first time in a while, all 18 divers jumped in! This dive is famous for feeding nurse and Caribbean reef sharks and we were not disappointed. Dozens of them came and swam around, using the boat and divers’ lights to find a meal. There is no need to swim very far on this site as all the action happens right below the boat!
On Wednesday morning we moved over to Driveway, a gorgeous dive site with a huge sand-shoot that’s reminiscent of its namesake. On either side of it, the wall plummets to unfathomable depths and the coral cover is simply spectacular. Huge barrel sponges house decorator and neck crabs. Whip corals of dark and lime green grow off the wall’s edge. Don’t ignore these, they are the homes of the elusive wire coral shrimp, a tiny critter that perfectly matches the colour of its host and taunt photographers by constantly changing sides while you try to capture them.
During lunch we moved a stone’s throw away to a dive site called Magic Mushroom and well magic is right! Dolphins! Did someone say dolphins?! Not one, not two, but three bottle nose dolphins came and swam with our guests, moving one of them to tears.
On Thursday we dove the iconic dive site Gullies which was wonderful as always. A friendly turtle spent over 30 minutes posing for the cameras and non-chalantly munching away. Another school of Atlantic Spade fish, thousands of Creole Wrasse and patrolling sharks amplified the ambiance on this beautiful site.
Over lunch, we moved back to North West Point. Shark hotel is a gorgeous dive site with a friendly Nassau grouper who loves coming up to divers and rolling around. After the 2pm dive we had a special celebratory caking! This week saw 8 of our divers complete milestones including 50, 100, and 200 dives! We also have a gentleman on board who celebrated his 50th year of diving! What a feat! After thanking the gods and fellow guests, we caked them in true Aggressor fashion. An edible cake was also made by the chef to mark the occasion.
Our night dive at The Dome proved fruitful as always with slipper lobsters, cowrie shells, sponge crabs, a sleepy green turtle and a small Caribbean reef octopus. If you turn your lights off and wave your arms around neon green bioluminescence turn the water column into a starry wonder.
On Friday morning those who chose to did a dawn dive to greet the day. We then made our way back to Turtle Cove marina in time to come through the cut at high tide. Another delicious lunch and a free afternoon on island before our celebratory wine and cheese party where we once again toasted the achievements of the week gone by. Thank you to One World Dive & Travel for a wonderful week!