We took Equinox out of the marina for a couple of days for a little live-aboard dive fun. We left SouthSide Marina with the high tide Friday afternoon, and decided to head west to stay on one of the moorings off West Caicos Island. The reef wall there is steep, forming a nearly vertical drop off that descends to some 6000' feet below. The reef runs the length of West Caicos' west side, some six miles long, and approximately 100-150 yards from shore at spots. There are several dive sites, some with moorings, some not.
|Dive site map from the Turks & Caicos Aggressor II website|
Unfortunately, our choice of West Caicos didn’t take into account that the winds had shifted during our voyage to the north-northwest so the west side was no longer completely in the lee. The reefs to the north near Providenciales tempered the northerly swells a little, but as it was too late in the day to make it to the southeastern end anchorage by nightfall, we opted to stay on the mooring we’d chosen. We made a great late afternoon dive, which was a bit spooky since the reef sharks seemed more than a bit interested in us...circling ever closer throughout the dive until we decided it was getting too close to their dinner time for comfort! We opted for no night dive, and endured a bit of a rocky night in the swells.
Early Saturday, we went around to French Cay where we met up with the fleet of local dive day-boats. All the moorings were taken, but our timing was good as there was a boat finishing up with their dives just as we arrived, so we were able to take the mooring they vacated. We made a couple of dives at different moorings, moving as new ones opened up. And, as more and more boats headed back in to their docks, we reveled in the solitude of being the only boat left on the moorings, watching the sunset!
The dive sites here are fabulous. Every dive I am more excited than the last; we have seen sharks on every dive, turtles, coral in sublime profusion on the vertical walls, and so much fish life it makes one dizzy. Our last dive here, we were hanging on the edge of the wall, just checking out the fish in the current, when a couple of eagle rays came swooping by, just a few feet from us. I was reluctant to exhale, for fear that my bubbles would send them fleeing...I could tell Ron was feeling the same way. We were quiet enough that they approached quite closely -- one actually came face to face with Ron as it came over the top of the reef, and then, the duo sailed away. COOL!
Sunday morning, we found we had been joined on the reef moorings by the Turks and Caicos Aggressor II and Turks and Caicos Explorer II, both live-aboard dive boats out of Provo. We’ve been on each of them in the past, during pre-Equinox days, so it was pretty cool to be living aboard and diving on our own boat alongside them. We’re actually "living the dream" we envisioned so many years ago! Ron and I kept pinching ourselves: here we were, enjoying pristine diving off the stern of Equinox (not just the tender!), secure on a well-kept mooring, relaxing post-dive on the aft cockpit and reveling in the sunset on the water. It doesn't get any better than this!!
|The Turks & Caicos Aggressor II to the mooring to the west|