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TCA Captains Log
January 12-18, 2019
Air temperature – 81°F - 88°F
Water temperature – 78 -80°F
Visibility – 80ft – 100ft
Thermal protection recommendation: 3mm shorty or full suit
Captain: Amanda Smith
Engineer: Rob Smith
Chef: Chace Gaudreau
Dive Instructor: Ellen Myers
Dive Master: Sarah Pearson
Stew: Jessica De La Durantaye
Sheila and Dan, Erin and Robert, Peter and Celia, Leslie, Shirley, Edit and Stephan, Kelly and Craig, John, Aleesa, Brandee and Lance
Sunday: Boat Cove, Spanish Anchor- West Caicos
Monday: Double D, G Spot, French Cay
Tuesday: Gullies, Brandy Wine, -West Caicos
Wednesday: Dome, Eel garden, Ampiteatre NWPT
Thursday: Pinnacles- Grace Bay
Saturday 12th Jan
On a sunny Saturday afternoon we invited 16 guests aboard the Turks and Caicos Aggressor. Dive gear was beginning to be set up as old dive friends reunited, rum punch was sipped and cheese and crackers were snacked upon. Once we were all settled in, the safety briefing took place where Captain Amanda also discussed the diving aspirations and plan for the week with the group. The excited guests then dined on Chef Chace’s delicious Shrimp Thai Curry as the guests caught up with one another, all pleased that good weather was forecast for the week ahead. It was not long before most of them had disappeared down stairs to their beds, weary from travel and resting early to prepare for a busy week of diving ahead if them.
Sunday 13th Jan
The first morning as the sun rose we began to see the outline of West Caicos. Were were moored up to a beautiful site called Boat Cove. The conditions for a the first dive of the week were phenomenal. The visibility was great and the sun was beginning to bring out the colours of the lush coral reef below. Boat Cove is known for its garden of coral and huge range of sponges. It begins to slope down slowly to the edge of the wall with many scattered coral heads to explore. The first dive was an eventful one. A turtle encounter on the first dive!! Wow, that is pretty special. This friendly Hawkesbill, swam along with the divers for a longer than usual encounter. The guests got some great footage as well as of some nosey Reef Sharks, Queen Triggerfish and Angel Fish. The visibility remained fantastic during the second dive as the sun rays shone down though the water. We moved before lunch to a spot called The Spanish Anchor, towards the south end of West Caicos. This site is full of nooks and crannies but is well known for its open swim though with a huge anchor entrusted into the coral reef. Some do not see it, it can look that camouflaged. The anchor is not attached to any chain, which is a trait of the Spanish. A great photo opportunity for the guests. They also spotted some Peacock Flounder concealing itself in the sand as it discreetly floated its way across some small rocks changing its patterns accordingly .This site is full of sand chutes where we spotted some Yellow Headed Jaw Fish Poking out of their holes and several Southern Stingrays. Some guests experienced black light diving for the first time during the night dive. They were able to spot creatures that they were not able to usually with regular white light. Stone Fish and Decorator Crabs. Each of them came back truly amazed. During a delicious meal we crossed over to French Cay and settled there for the night.
Monday 14th Jan
The weather was perfect for these sites that are so open and exposed to the elements. We started off in a site called Double D. There was very little current as the guests swam through the top of the wall, taking photos of elephant ear sponges and deep water sea fans. The mooring is atop two large coral mounds that sit just above the edge of the wall. On this dive we had two or three very interested Reef Sharks weaving closely in between guests. Shirley saw a Spotted Drum Fish who was fluttering in and out of a rock over hang whilst we were all distracted by the big Sharks. A Porcupine Puffer Fish and a Spotted Moray Eel was spotted at the edge of the wall as well as a school of hungry looking Barracuda. After two dives here, hot breakfast and a scrummy morning snack, we moved not far away to a spot for the rest of the day called G Spot. The Site has a sheer drop off from the edge of the wall and is filled with Deep Water Gorgonians. Divers spotted a Hawksbill Turtle, Decorator Crabs. A beautiful pair of French Angel fish, Slender File Fish, Neck Crabs, and Channel Crabs. And this was all before the infamous night dive. As the sun was beginning to set everyone dawned their gear and got their flashlights ready. This night dive has a reputation for being exhilarating. The flash lights really excite the sea life. The Jacks and the Sharks are out hunting and don’t seem to be bothered about coming up so close to you that they could bump into you. You can just sit at the top of the wall and watch it all take place on front of you eyes. Reef Sharks and Nurse Sharks young and old were catapulting around looking for smaller fish to feast on. But you could also head out towards the edge of the wall. A great endlong encounter with an Octopus was caught on film and enthralling to watch change shape and colours so dramatically as it crossed a small coral head. Lobsters, Slipper Lobsters, Groupers, a cute little Burr Fish, Banded Coral Shrimp, where ever you want there was something for you to see. Guests sat down to dinner that night all swapping stories about the Sharks and feeling very satisfied with their French Cay night dive experience. We traveled through dinner again back to West Caicos
Moored up to a site called Gullies which is known for its swim through in a Gully that takes you down where you pop out at the edge of the wall in which Black Coral and Barrel Sponges adorn both sides, another great photo opportunity. A Large Green Moray seen lurking under a rock A Hawksbill Turtle was nosing around looking for some sponges to munch on. Some lucky guests spotted an Eagle Ray. A rather fast but exciting encounter. As guest returned back towards to the bar the expired the shallow areas around 40 ft and is packed with Macro subjects. Flamingo Tongues, Rough File Clams and Christmas Tree Worms. There was also a lot of schooling fish to see. Goat fish were feeding in the sand underneath the boat, as well as a school of Jacks and Grunts Interrupted when a Reef Shark or a Southern Sting Ray Swam by. After two dives here we moved over to our final site of the day, Brandy Wine. A site covered with closely packed coral heads and large barrel sponges resembling big brandy barrels. During our day dives here we spotted a Nurse Shark cruising through the shallows. A great encounter with a Turtle that did not seem to mind having it photo taken, a Nassau Grouper hiding in the Barrel Sponges and Pederson Cleaning Shrimp. During the night dive the guests spotted Channel Crabs, Spotted Moray Eels out for a prowl. Another exciting encounter with Octopus, very hungry hunting Jacks and Lobster. Guests were welcomed on board with a hot chocolate, marvelous with Irish Cream as they warmed up and got ready for a delicious beef tenderloin cooked to perfection cooked by master chef Chace. The Engines were barely heard over the dinner chit chat as we travelled to out destination for the following day, North West Point.
Wednesday 16th Jan
We begun the day with The Dome. This is a very interesting site with a lot t see and do. To set off, the guests were very happy with yet another calm morning with good visibility. Sting Rays were passing regularly along the sand chutes as we dropped underneath the boat. As we headed west out towards the wall we passed large Coral formations abundant with tropical sea life, Spotted File Fish, Trunkfish Cowfish, pairs of Four Eyed Butterfly Fish. We meet for a great photo opportunity near a swim through named the Chimney. A slightly more narrow swim through begins at the wall form 90ft and shoots up to the top of the wall. We were greeted by some Reef Sharks at the top. Then we headed over back from the wall in the shallows to the main feature of the dive site which the mooring line is attached to - a large manmade structure in the shape of a dome. It was built for an old reality TV series which has been slightly dismantled over the course of a few hurricanes but still has a great swim though and is now the home for an abundance of sea life. Groupers, Southern Sting Rays, Spotted Moray, Schooling Yellow Tailed Snapper all at the heart of their bizarre space ship like structure. Tiny Rough Head Blennies are a good spot and have made their home along the beams. Fingerprint Cyphomas made for some great macro photography. On our way back, trumpet fish and scrawled file fish fed on the encrusted sponges. After our morning snack of blueberry muffins we traveled the short distance to Eel Garden for one dive. Eel Garden we spotted a Green Moray out swimming and a gorgeous few Spade Fish which are such a beautiful sight to see. Large patches of sand before the wall make up this site. Garden Eels are popping up out of the sand which are always very entertaining. Peacock Flounder, Yellow Headed Jaw Fish, Reef Sharks and Southern Sting Rays.
The final two dives of the day were spent at another North West Point not too far way called Amphitheatre. This is a spectacular site. Down the wall the formation folds in and creates an amphitheater of sorts combined with another shelf half way done the wall. The area of the wall is filled with Black Coral and Black Coral Shrimp which is beautiful to swim by and take a look up closely. Large Purple Gorgonians, home to Decorator Crabs . An extremely large Grouper is seen mooching about as well as another Hawksbill Turtle swimming by to say hello. The final night dive people saw another Octopus hunting, beautiful black Basket Star feeding off blood worms, A Large Lobster taking a purposeful walk across the top the wall. A Slipper Lobster, Spotted Moray Eel, Reef Sharks and Southern Sting Rays. A very exciting last night dive and guests were eagerly swapping stories and sipping on hot chocolate on the back deck before dinner and an early bed.
Our final site for the week is a gorgeous site called Pinnacles. Set right in Grace Bay, the weather does not always allow for it but today it was possible there was a slight swell but that did not deter our eager guests who were making the most of every dive they could. Long sand chutes and unusual reef and coral formations leading up to the edge of the wall make this dive very pretty. Guests were lucky enough to spot another Turtle on their last dive. A nice way to end a fantastic week. A short trip back to Turtle Cove Marina made for a comfortable ride through the cut and out off the swell. Guests were invited to drink wine, eat cheese on the sundeck to celebrate the week gone by with the crew as they watch the sun set on truly special week diving. Plans were made for future trips with their new and old friends