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Bahamas Aggressor Captain Log
July 6th- July 13th 2019
Temperature- 80-85 F
Suggested wetsuit thickness: 0-3mm
Video Pro: Ellen
Photo Pro: Rodney
Sherwood Forest, Shark Paradise, Hogfish, El Capitan, Sugar Wreck, El Dorado Drift, Mini Wall, Metropolis, Silver Fox Ledges, Predator Alley, Diagon Alley, Metropolis, Sharktropolis Drift, Shark Paradise Drift
Our Guests: Tom, Mark, Jacob, Jay, Derrick, Val, Sze Wei, Tanya, Azhann, Thomas, Elisabeth, Lynne, Katy
We had a lively group of guests arrive Saturday afternoon with the Dive Ninjas Expedition Leader, Jay, for a week of diving aboard the Bahamas Aggressor. We welcomed them with cold drinks, and cheese platters while they listened to an informative briefing from Captain Christy. A few jet lagged guests slipped off to bed after some coconut chicken and rice with fresh vegetables. Others reminisced previous trips over a glass of house cabernet. And others hatched plans of pirating the luxury yachts moored nearby over delicious peanut butter pie… Argghhhh matey!
We set off before the sunrise for our first dive site of the day, Sherwood Forest; a nice and easy checkout dive to get everyone comfortable with their equipment. In the water just off West End, Grand Bahama we saw a juvenile green turtle, a flamingo tongue, some yellow-line arrow crabs. However, the best part of the dive was watching a sneaky remora suck on the knee of one of our guests! We returned to the dock, where we had a very informative shark presentation by Katy Ayres, a Shark Ecologist PhD student, and Jay Clue, a conservationist and founder of Dive Ninjas. After a delicious lunch from Chef Caleb, we set off for Tiger Beach. We had an afternoon and dusk dive at the famous Sugar Wreck. Although there was quite a strong current, the water was crystal clear, and we spotted two smooth pufferfish performing a mating dance, a peacock flounder skirting across the wreckage, a lobster, and our first shark sighting here at Tiger Beach: a few lemon and reef sharks. As the night divers sipped on a well-deserved cup of hot chocolate and baileys, the sun set over the ocean and a thousand stars appeared in the night sky as our first day at Tiger Beach came to a close.
We started the day off right with some Carrot Cake waffles, before jumping in for a drift dive at El Dorado. The water was the quintessential blue that we know and love here in the Bahamas, however the current was just too strong to do a static dive. So, to keep the guests diving, the crew improvised and set up a nice drift dive; possibly the first drift dive ever at Tiger Beach! We saw a reef shark, a pipe horse, some barracudas and a lot of sand as we drifted over a mile in only thirty minutes! We tried for a static shark dive at Shark Paradise, however the current prevented the guests from even reaching the mooring! However, the lemon and reef sharks cruised effortlessly by as the divers hung on to the down lines like flags in the wind. Never a dull moment out here at Tiger Beach! They certainly deserved a few pieces of homemade banana bread after that fight with mother nature. We decided on another drift for our next dive, where we drifted along the Metropolis reef, all the way to Shark Paradise. Along the way we spotted our first Tiger Shark. She cruised right past the divers as we drifted over a beautiful reef teeming with fish. The schools of horse eye jacks and barracudas swarmed the Shark Paradise reef, and lemon sharks cruised over the bright green sea grass. This time we drifted almost two miles in this strong current, unlike anything the crew has ever seen here before. The wine and beer flowed a little earlier tonight, as it would be too dangerous to night dive in a current of this magnitude. It was day of firsts aboard the Bahamas Aggressor, but nevertheless, very exciting!
We started the day at Mini Wall, however the current was still pretty strong, so instead we did a mini drift! Our engineer and dive guide, Rodney, spotted a huge loggerhead turtle right away. Throughout the dive the divers also encountered a friendly green turtle, and a young hawksbill turtle. We drifted along the wall across the sand into another reef teeming with reef fish such as: parrot, squirrel, creole wrasse, and a few Bahamian groupers. After refueling with some homemade chocolate chip cookies and hazelnut coffee, we jumped in at Metropolis for a shark dive. The current was starting to weaken, so we tried a static dive in the sand and it was a huge success. We had two tiger sharks swimming in and around the divers for the entire hour-long dive. One sassy tiger shark, also known as Kelly Kapowski, actually chewed open the box and snagged some fish! The crew quickly fixed the bait box, but it didn’t stop her from thrashing the box around a few more times. During our two dives here, more than fifty sharks circled the divers just under the boat, while a couple of grumpy looking groupers swam through the school of yellow tail snappers. The current continued to drop off and we had our afternoon and night dive at Hogfish. Amongst the beautiful coral heads, we discovered a spotted moray eel hiding in a crevice and a king crab flexing it’s claws as the sun started to set. The sharks began to prepare for their after-dark snack as the divers jumped in for a dusk dive. Overall, a beautiful day of diving!
After a delicious French toast breakfast, we jumped in at our favorite deep site: El Capitan. We saw a couple of eagle rays cruising around the towering pinnacles as the creole wrasse swarmed around the healthy barrel and finger sponges. The morning sun created harmonious silhouettes of schools of fish amongst the divers. After two serene dives here, we moved to Predator Gulch to look for some Tiger Sharks. We were very lucky, as a tiger shark cruised around the group several times making for some close interactions. Again, she hung around for over an hour sniffing out the divers and the bait pyramid. The visibility was absolutely phenomenal, thanks to all the current that we had this week; sometimes it pays to be patient with mother nature. We moved to Mini Wall for our last dive of the day, where we had some excellent conditions with the lobsters and king crabs hiding in the crevices of this clear and calm reef. Divers returned just in time to watch the sunset and enjoy our endless supply of Oreos!
Our final full day of the charter started out with a bang at Diagon Alley with 7-8 spotted eagle rays cruising over the reef. The squadron of rays continued to fly over the divers as they explored the pinnacles below. The rare black coral grows in abundance here and looks spectacular in the morning light seventy feet under a clear blue sea. We swam with the eagle rays for two dives before moving along to Metropolis where we saw another Tiger shark identified as a young female named CJ Parker. We ended the trip with a fan favorite: Sugar Wreck. Our last night dive and last chance to see Marvin, the resident Loggerhead. He made an appearance as well as a slipper lobster, a few lovely pufferfish, and juvenile jewel fish sparking under our dive lights.
We jumped into the turquoise blue one last time at Silver Fox, before heading back to the West End Marina. The visibility was better than ever; we spotted a lettuce leaf slug, a few parrotfish munching on the reef, and a slender file fish camouflaged in the feather corals. The guests sadly rinsed their gear and hung it out to dry as they prepared to pack for the following morning. We had an impromptu firework show just after our cocktail party, where we reminisced the week over rum cocktails and local beers. We had a delicious dinner together before calling it a night. We are so grateful to this unique group for such a fun week with the sharks with too many incredible encounters to count. Bring on next week right back here in Tiger Beach.