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*Roatan Aggressor Captains Log, August 31st-Sept 7th 2019
*Air Temp. 82-85 F
*Water Temp. 83-86 F
* Visibility 60ft-130 ft
* Wetsuit req. 3-5 mm full, shortie or skin
Sunday - (Roatan Southside) - Valley Of The Kings & Pirate Point
Monday - (Cayos Cochinos & Roatan South) - Seamounts & Marys Place
Tuesday - (Roatan South & North) - Cara A Cara, Taviannas Wall & Mandys Eel Garden
Wednesday -(Utila) - Teds Point, Stingray Point, Duppy Water &
Thursday- (Roatan Northside) - El Aguila, “The Eagle”, Sooky Channel & Half Moon Bay
Friday - (Roatan Southside) - Valley Of The Kings & Mr Buds
Saturday August 31st
This week the Roatan Aggressor crew welcome aboard 18 guests, many old faces who we have met on this and other Aggressor Fleet vessels from the birth of this vessel and the birth of the company, what an honour to welcome so many Aggressor Addicts! In addition we have a mother and son from New Zealand, a couple from Spain & Austria, Americans, Canadians and a father and son & friend from Dominican Republic, what a wonderful mix of people who from the start all got on very well together, this week was going to be a great week.
Once the dive gear is set up, check in is complete & the welcome meeting concluded we head to the sundeck, with reggae music playing our Saturday BBQ commences. Our Dive Master Willie mans the grill whilst Chef Milton & Sous Chef Miss Jannell add the final touches to all the delicious sides, the hydroponic salads which are all grown on the island by a local company, grown without soil & delivered to the boat fresh today. There are tasty baked potatoes, crunchy corn on the cob which compliment the juicy ribs & succulent chicken. For desert there is a delicious Rum & Pineapple cake with fluffy whipped cream. After a long days travel its a good opportunity for an early night.
Sunday Sept 1st
Departing French Harbour the ocean is flat and calm, we travel a short distance to our first dive site at Valley of the Kings where both Willie and Jessie splash in to find multitudes of
Arrow-Blennies, Short-fin and Caribbean Pipefish, White Spotted Filefish, Yellow Damselfish, on the 2nd dive both the Captain and dive master have an awesome time with a huge Green Moray Eel who is all over the reef, there are Ballon Fish, Indigo Hamlets, the Blue Tang Gang are out in full force, there is an awesome Scorpion Fish which Delia finds, Slender Filefish, Mating Parrot Fish & Spotted Juvenile Drums. During lunch we head over to Pirate Point to moor up, there is time for a chill then a splash at 2pm, into the crystal clear water to find, Giant Anemones housing Spotted Anemone Shrimp, Squat Anemone Shrimp, the gorgeous Sun Anemone which Sue is so fascinated with houses the Sun Anemone Shrimp along with a couple of Anemone Crabs. On the night dive we see several Reef Octopus, 1 Sue and I find is tiny, a huge Scrawled purple Filefish, Hairy & Channel Clinging Crabs, several Red Knight Shrimp, Peppermint Shrimps, Spiny and Spotted Lobster, Cryptic and Southern Teardrop Crabs, with Arrow Squid in the water column under the boat on our safety stop, a fabulous night dive with Miss Jannell serving up hot chocolate with a splash of rum along with a warm towel.
Monday Sept 2nd
Its a slightly earlier start as we head south to Cayos Cochinos and the wonderful underwater mountains known to us as the seamounts. The sun begins to rise at 5.33am and many guests raise them selves from their sleepy bunks to watch this most beautiful sunrise, drinking coffee on the sundeck on a calm ocean is a beautiful way to wake up, some are there to capture this spectacular sunrise upon the ocean, not a cloud in the sky to hamper the vision as the sky is lit up with a burnt orange. The seamounts which are underwater mountains & an Oasis for all sorts of critters attract all the underwater environment that are just passing or making their pitstops to this amazing area. These luscious pristine coral heads are abundant with life, swarms of reef & pelagic fish in a swirl of colour surround us. There are Horse Eye Jacks, Atlantic Spade fish with some of the largest shoal of such species you get to see here on the Bay Islands. There are Wahoos, Ceros, Nurse Sharks, Southern Stingray, shoals all over Sponge City. King Mackerel parade the area as huge Green & Hawksbill Turtles are seen as frequently below as above on the surface during our surface interval, crustaceans are everywhere, visibility is great & without much effort we have 2 more dives. Seeing a couple more Nurse Sharks, one small and one much bigger along with a couple of Southern Stingrays. We head back to Roatan and over to the beautiful Marys Place, everyone is excited, we have this amazing dive site to ourselves and into the water we splash, Delia & Rob keen photographers are enthused with the Green Mantis, Havana & Dark Mantis Shrimps, we see Scaly-tail Mantis, Spanish Hogfish, Sand Dollars, Smooth and Spotted Trunkfish, some juvenile, there are juvenile and adult Spotted Drums, bulbous Neck & Decorator Crabs, another Short-nose Pipefish. The night dive is equally as awesome, Willie splashing in to point out amongst the usual suspects the array of Nudibranchs that can be found here such as the Longhorn, Criss Cross & White Spotted, awesome night dive.
Tuesday Sept 3rd
Its time to take our chance at Cara A Cara, which translation means Face To Face, its the mating season but Willie takes us to the shelf of the wall where we spot 3 pretty large male and female Caribbean Reef Sharks, they are curious about us giving us lots of attention, passing us by frequently allowing us to take some awesome shots and video, making our way back to the area for our pick up we see huge Black, Nassau, Tiger and Goliath Groupers who keep us busy on our safety stop. Atlantic Spade Fish swarm around us, its such a beautiful sight. During morning snack we travel over around West Point and to the fabulous Taviannas Wall. The sandy area contains all the Corkscrew Anemone where Pistol Shrimp hide behind all the Pedersen Cleaning Shrimp, several Green & Hawksbill Turtles are seen on both dives, 2 Eagle Rays are flying down the wall heading west allowing us to move along slowly with them before its time for us to make our turn back up the wall, heading into the shallows Delia, Rob and I get lucky with a foraging Eagle Ray, no better a sight to film or take pictures of. Jessie splashing for a night dive and again no disappointment there, all the usual suspects, we have such wonderful night dives, rarely do the boys fail to find what the guests crave, Octopus!!!!
A good time was had by all complimented by the serving of hot chocolate and rum by our one and only Miss Jannell.
Wednesday September 4th
An early start but well worth it, what an experience, a crossing to Utila with a pre breakfast live drop drift dive at Teds Point, Willie leads the way, kicking off with Lined Flounder, Peacock & Eyed Flounder, adults and juveniles, there are Large Eyed Toadfish, Flamingo Tongues, Blue Bell and several other types of Tunicates, twin juvenile Jackknifes, a beautiful Orange Long-snout Seahorse, Yellow Stingray, Southern Sting Ray, Sail-fin Blennies, Filament Blennies on coral branches, Roughead, Spiny & Secretary Blennies in coral heads, Blennies in shells, Bulldozer Shrimp to name but a few, to top it off there are Eagle Rays on our safety stop. Its breakfast and then our 2nd live drop and drift dive at Stingray Point, better than the last how can that be possible, well it is, a Flying Gunnard, Upside Down Jellyfish, a fabulous Pipe-horse Willie has only seen for the 2nd time! Mating Lizardfish which was quite interesting, Bearded Fire-worms, a White Spotted Toadfish, a walking piece of seaweed which we know to be is a Decorator Crabs, awesome dive, excited guests and crew exit the water, hungry for lunch, burgers in paradise on the sundeck and it sure looks like paradise, we are viewing the sand cays of Utila, small islands and connected jetties over pure white sand cays with the sun blazing down, the area is stunning. Heading over to the north-side around all the sand cays we are ready for our 3rd live drop and drift of the day at Duppy Waters, again a dive with many similar critters but always a little bit more unusual, with the beautiful Scrolled Filefish, several Hawksbill Turtles & Gaudy Clown Crabs. Its time for the afternoon snack before our last and final drift dive and live drop of the day at the Pinnacle, an awesome dive site to end our day in Utila with, despite all the usual critters Jessie finds the most beautiful red Lined Seahorse who is getting bigger, the first time he spotted him he was so tiny, we got excellent video and pictures of this little fellow. We celebrate Howies 900 dive, what a milestone. With everyone back onboard, the ladders are raised and its off we head back to Roatan with dinner on the way there is excited chatter of all our findings today along with the video and pictures we have collectively managed to capture. Once back in Roatan with desert of Mango Mango Cheesecake it times we all have an early night.
Thursday September 5th
A pre breakfast dive at the wreck, The Eagle” it is the nearest shipwreck to land & Anthonys Key Resort. The El Aguila rests in a huge sand patch down at 110 feet. The ship was sunk intact in 1997, but even with the deck at 80 feet below the surface it was not safe enough to withstand hurricane Mitch in October of 1998. The storm left the ship broken in half with the cargo bay split lengthwise and separated from the wheelhouse in the stern and the bow. Mooring up we are attached to the wheelhouse of El Aguila, divers descend to the stern of the ship providing a wonderful overall view of the ship strewn about the sand patch as it fades in the distance toward the bow they make there way down the side to the wheelhouse to the keep exploring over and around the rear portion of the ship before heading over to the very pretty reef where there are Tiger, Nassau, Black & Goliath Groupers along with Dog & Cubera Snappers surrounded by silvery fish. During sweet snack time we move to Spooky Channel which is very spooky but equally awesome with so much to see on the wall. We have lunch as we move to Half Moon Bay Wall for the remainder of the day, what dont we see, yes its like that so much to see from Sharp Tail Eels, Spotted Morays, Chain Moray, several Green and Hawksbill Turtles in varying sizes, Yellow Headed Jaw-fish with eggs and plenty more Mantis Shrimp.
Its our extra special Thursday night affair with a wedge salad and blue cheese/merlot dressing, delicious homemade simple rolls fresh from the oven as has been the case all week. Delicious steak and shrimp, our surf and turf with the most amazing red wine gravy and fluffy mash potato followed by white chocolate Creme Brûlée, a meal that shows our appreciation & gratitude to all of our guests and crew for a wonderful week of diving. Dinner is followed by the movie of the week which is purchased as an awesome memory of the week. The Cruise Director gives a brief run down on the following days to come and a satisfied group of guests retire to their cabins for a good nights rest.
Its the end of the week but not the end with 2 more dives, one at Valley Of The Kings, unfortunately Laura lost her camera on the first dive, we have alerted dive boats in the area and Willie did a scout around for it but alas nothing as yet, we still hold out hope, more often than not what the sea takes the sea gives back. Returning to the boat whilst eating the delicious Triple Chocolate Brownies guests are paying their bills whilst purchasing more from the boutique they cant get enough of our colourful designer rash-guards. Its now time for the 2nd splash which completes the week for our guest who are very happy to have been shown all that we have had to offer. Exiting the water we celebrate Adamo Jr. 100th dive by making a cake with him and into the water he goes to bake! Heading into dock the gear is rinsed & dried with island style baked chicken served for lunch. Once at the dock Carol & Keith our Kiwis are pick up for some Zip Lining high up in the canopies of the forests of Roatan where you can see both sides of the island, its a wonderful experience, access and all level choices, a chance to blow the cobwebs and see a little more of the land of the island, these guys are so accommodating that they include a trip over to see the Monkey and Slough area which Carol enjoyed thoroughly. It is 6pm and time for our Pirate Themed Cocktail Party, we have 3 Iron Divers this week, Rob, Delia & Helen, with 26 dives under their belts this is no mean feet! Howie & Amado Jr. are celebrating their 900th and 100th dive, Irv, we what can I say, he has been a friend to Aggressor Fleet for many years as has Sue, unlike Sue, Irv has blown the bugle all week at meal times to earn his free t shirts which the crew have all signed, then he parades around in his Captains Whites with his 4 stripes, one can only imagine where he may have got that from, haha! Its time to head over to Romeos Restaurant for some 5 star dining experience, excellent food and wonderful company before a short couple of steps back to the boat for a good nights sleep. It has been a fabulous week. The Bay Islands have some of the most unique and wonderfully diverse macro life in the Caribbean waters. Each week we bid farewell to our guests knowing we will see them again very soon, keen photographers & videographers love our macro life. Please view our very full critter board with drawings & sketches from our guests & journey map of this weeks trip.
We had a couple of early flights this morning saying good bye to Keith and Carol with sleepy eyes and coffees in hand we say a quiet goodbye before the remainder of guests rise to enjoy their continental breakfast as their luggage is boarded onto the bus departing directly to the airport, all except Laura who heads over to Pineapple Villas to laze around the pool and spa for a couple more hours before heading to the airport. We bid farewell to our departing guests wishing them all safe travels & look forward to seeing them all again in the very near future,
Until the next time, the crew of the Roatan Aggressor………..