We’ve been having a pretty epic summer, between seeing great friends both above and below water, getting a few trips down south to the untouched places like Space Mountain, Long Bow and Do It Again; our old standbys like Krispy Kreme, Sponge Gardens, and Bull Run; and even the Gingerbread Grounds! Sometimes summer squalls kept us close to home, but we were only rewarded with amazing animal encounters in our Bahamas backyard. Check out this video (https://youtu.be/sXYTQuwdz8s) of a curious Female Loggerhead Sea Turtle shot by Kat just a week ago, doesn’t get much better than that, does it?
While we’ve noticed fewer nudibranchs and octopus lately, the vertebrate diversity is as stunning as ever. Crew and passengers alike are finding species they’ve never seen before on an almost weekly basis. These those critters were found just a week apart: one a juvenile version of a deep sea Short Big Eye (found by Lyndsey), normally only seen below 300 feet as an adult, but hangs out in the shallows as a young’un. The other an as-yet-unidentified hamlet hybrid, we’re thinking Barred and Shy, what do you think?
Juliet’s Upcoming Facelift
As many of you already know, Juliet is going dry for her every-other-year maintenance period this October. We can’t wait to show you the new stainless steel rails, chainplates, and to (hopefully!) be rid of the rust streaks on the nice green hull from the old toe-rail for at least a little while! We’re sure you’re worried about her looking not her best lately, but soon enough she’ll be painted and shiny and looking fabulous again. Thanks to everyone for your patience and tolerance with her looks during this pre-haul-out time!
That means Juliet is back in town – and so are all the creatures. The image above was captured by Divemaster Liz. Captain Nate saw a strange ripple on the surface of the water, and crew and passengers saw a shadow below. Folks jumped in on snorkel gear to catch a glimpse of this very rare sight in Bimini – a “small” whaleshark (size estimates were around 12-14 feet)!
Nudibranch and sea slug are still around, including congregations of sea hares and headshield slugs. One black featureless creature had us stumped, but was identified as the Migaya Felis?headshield slug, seen mating in the sand at Grouper on the Head along with the?Swallow Tail Headshield slug. If you get bored of the sharks down around Bull Run, GOTH, and 777, stick your head in the sand, you won’t be disappointed!
We’re also excited to report sighting 3 sets of turtle tracks on the beach of Cay Cay near Kitten Cove! Stay tuned for hatchling watch in about 50-60 days. Kat identified them as Loggerhead tracks based on the alternating “apostrophe” track through binoculars, but do they lead to and from nests or were they “False crawls”? Keep reading for more on Sea Turtles of the Bahamas.
Creatures Feature: Sea Turtles
Sea Turtles are some of our favorite creatures to spot, and spring time is a great time to get some close encounters, especially with Loggerhead turtles looking to find a mate. May is breeding season for this, and other species of turtles around the Bahamas, but these hard-shelled giants tend to get a little up close and personal to tell if that big thing off in the distance is a potential mate or a scuba diver – so be prepared to swim out of their way!
In the fall of 2014, the Bahamas officially prohibited “the harvesting, possession, purchase, and sale of sea turtles, their parts, and their eggs,” and the difference can already be seen only 3 and a half years later. The population of Green Turtles in the area is booming, and anecdotally, Loggerhead nests in the Bahamas are on the rise as well.
Did you know? Not all Turtle tracks on the beach lead to nests. Occassionally turtles will crawl up the beach but abandon nesting attempts because of nearby disturbances, ground cover issues and obstructions, or predators interrupting their nesting attempt. The crawl marks seen on the beach at Cat Cay could be 3 separate nests from 3 separate female Loggerhead turtles, or a series of crawls by a single female that may not have resulted in a nest at all. Maybe we’ll find out in 50-60 days – night dive / hatchling watch at Moxon Rocks the end of June anyone?
Dive Site of the Month: Turtle Rocks
Many of our crew – and passengers – have been diving in the Bimini area for over 20 years, and recognize that while some dive sites are without argument better than others, there are many that are highly underrated and deserve a little more time and attention. Turtle Rocks – AKA Big Greenie and South Turtle – falls under this category, and in recent years has certainly been putting on a show! Conservation efforts and their successes in the Bahamas are evident here, as divemasters used to joke that you never see turtles at Turtle rocks, and that the name came?from drunk Bahamians thinking the rocks looked like turtles from afar. No longer, though! Juvenile Green turtles are now seen here regularly, and attentive divers can be treated to all kinds of creatures large and small at this unassuming dive site.
A ledge system that runs for about a half a mile, Turtle Rocks is a shallow site that might appear to just be a rubble pile and a few tiny coral heads to some. But bring a flashlight and curiosity, there’s much more to be found. Turtle Rocks is one of the few sites you can regularly find both juvenile and adult?High Hats, a close uncommon cousin of the popular Spotted Drum (pictured above), as well as dozens of species of Cardinalfish, blennies, and eels beyond the usual green and spotted morays;?Chain Morays?and Golden Tail Morays are regularly seen in the shallows near the rocks. Attentive divers can also be treated to Spotted Eagle Ray squadron drive-bys, the occasional Reef Shark, or the small and curious?Atlantic Sharpnose Shark that may come over from Triangle Rocks (where South Bimini’s Sharklab does regular research) to investigate.
Take your time, breathe deep, and don’t forget the small stuff!
As many of you know, this hurricane season has been pretty brutal on the islands and Southeastern US. We’ve had a lot of messages asking us how we fared and what the winter will hold. In short, our status report is All is Well, and Staying the Course. Details below.
Hurricane Irma affected Miami and southern Florida pretty immensely, but we were very lucky that we were sheltered in a great area in Biscayne Bay – you can actually watch a time-lapse video of the boat through the hurricane here. Since we have 2 generators on board, we were well supplied with power throughout, and no damage to report. The rest of Miami got power back within the week after the storm’s passing, and the Florida Keys is reopening to tourists this weekend. All great news for the local area.
The Virgin Islands is another story. Reports coming out of St. Croix are all good – some damage to areas of the island, but their airport reopens today to normal activity and they are restoring power to additional parts of the island daily. We don’t expect any change in our plan to return there this Winter, and we are looking forward to reconnecting with our island friends! Puerto Rico is struggling, however, and while we are still tentatively planning on our December 9 trip to Mona we are watching the news reports from the island closely. The airport has had power restored as of this writing, but flights are not back to normal and the rest of the island is still without power. Many are still stranded inland and have much damage to their properties, the roads, and no easy access to power, water, or food. Some of you have asked for ways you can offer help, PBS has a great collection of legitimate venues you can donate money or supplies to here.
The diving report from the Bahamas is good, and getting better every day. Fingers crossed that we are past the hump of hurricane season and can look forward to more settled weather from here on out.
https://julietsailinganddiving.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/juliet-defaultimage.jpg520600Juliet Sailing and Divinghttps://julietsailinganddiving.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/juliet-logo-dark.pngJuliet Sailing and Diving2017-09-28 16:57:122021-02-14 22:19:02Hurricane Status
January has been fantastic here in St. Croix. Our first week was filled withcritters, beautiful weather, gorgeous dives, and fantastic people. A few new faces and a lot of Juliet regulars came together and made for a near-perfect week. Dives at the pier, endless seahorses, turtles, critters galore. One diver found a gorgeous orange seahorse on King’s Reef. On our night dive on the Swirling Reef of Death we were treated to not one but three tiny baby octopus – somewhere nearby a clutch of eggs must have hatched!
Conditions in Butler Bay and Cane Bay were outstanding, with visibility approaching 100 feet. We took advantage of the good weather and dove our hearts out until Wednesday when we were forced to hang out on the West Side of the island due to strong winds.
The following week, a large and very uncommon ground swell kicked up, making conditions a little uncomfortable and reducing visibility in some areas. Luckily, the next group of passengers were super laid back and dedicated to ridding the world of lionfish so we spent a good amount of time hunting on drift dives on the sheltered west side – and also hunting for a calm place to sleep at night. Local Cruzans told us (thankfully!) that this crazy ground swell was a one-in-eight year event so while we’re happy to be a part of weather history, we were more excited when it was all over. We had a great time and got some pretty cool photos to prove it! You can see videos on our YouTube Channel.
Hello from St. Croix! This Gem of an Island certainly hasn’t disappointed in the first 3 weeks we’ve been here. The Frederiksted Pier is of course a huge hit, and we’ve discovered some fun new sites south of the pier, and explored the wrecks and walls to the north. The sea life has been impressive to the point of just showing off! Seahorses, spotted snake eels, batfish, dolphins, and even multiple reports of amorous octopuses?(video pending I’m told…). Passengers and crew spent the first few minutes of 2017 underwater enjoying a fabulous midnight night dive, and we’re all excited for what else 2017 has in store for us.
If you’ve looked into coming down to St. Croix but haven’t quite figured out how to get there, here’s a trick. Look at airfare into St. Thomas (STT) or San Juan (SJU) first, then based on your arrival times, check with Seaborne Airlines?or Cape Air?to connect to St. Croix (STX). Both airlines have 3-5 flights per day out of both locations to St. Croix for under $200 giving you more options if you can’t find a major airline that flies into St. Croix (only American/US Air, and JetBlue fly into St. Croix). And don’t forget, you can board any time after noon on Friday!?We don’t leave the pier until early Saturday morning so even late flights will get you to Juliet in time. And we promise you won’t miss out on anything – except lunch!
In case you’re not convinced yet, below is a taste of what we’ve been seeing in just the first 3 weeks.?Contact Kat for more details and specials on upcoming weeks.?Hope to see you there!
Happy New Year from all of us at Juliet Sailing and Diving.
https://julietsailinganddiving.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Live-from-St.-Croix.jpg720960Juliet Sailing and Divinghttps://julietsailinganddiving.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/juliet-logo-dark.pngJuliet Sailing and Diving2017-01-01 18:48:462021-02-14 22:19:02Live from St. Croix!
As our season in the Bahamas winds down, we’re savoring every last drop out of the beauty of these islands. We made it south to Do It Again and Long Bow in late September with a fantastic group from Alaska, and the next week everyone was treated to a fantastic dolphin encounter at Riding Rocks – the dolphins just hung around the boat for 45 minutes! No one has shared video evidence with me for that one yet, but check out this video from the week before.
https://julietsailinganddiving.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/sleeping-whale-in-turks-and-caicos-e1552071414988.jpg565985Juliet Sailing and Divinghttps://julietsailinganddiving.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/juliet-logo-dark.pngJuliet Sailing and Diving2016-10-03 20:45:242021-02-14 22:19:02A Few Visits from Dolphins
https://julietsailinganddiving.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/juliet-defaultimage.jpg520600Juliet Sailing and Divinghttps://julietsailinganddiving.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/juliet-logo-dark.pngJuliet Sailing and Diving2016-03-08 21:33:412021-02-14 22:19:02See us in Undercurrent Magazine this Month!
Rumor has it passengers were treated to sightings of Sperm Whales, hammerheads, and loads of turtles last week. I haven’t received any pictures yet?to share with you but as soon as I do I’ll let you know!
The water was flat flat flat! All week. So much so that they got down to not only Do It Again, but as far as OMG. That means, in short, it was an awesome week. 4 Dives at Long Bow, two drifts at Lost Medallion – just hitting the cream of the crop and it?sounded amazing. Not to mention a wonderful group of divers on board to appreciate all the beauty Mother Nature has to offer in those untouched areas of the Bahamas that Juliet frequents.
Happy Summer everyone – our favorite season in the Bahamas. The water is calm and warm, and out at sea the air temp is comfortable even at night. We’re looking forward to long nights of star-gazing on watches, meteor showers, beautiful dives, and visiting with friends – old and new, aquatic and terrestrial.
We’ve had some great megafauna viewings this past month with a hammerhead sighting on Tuna Alley towards the end of May, the usual frisky sharks down south of Orange Cay trying to steal our Lionfish,?and the crew and passengers were treated to 2 hours worth of dolphin watching and swimming at Orange Cay Trench this month! Here’s hoping for more of the same for the rest of the summer.
For those of you who have yet to get on board to see the new renovations for yourself, we’ve put together a video of the cabin layouts so you can better see the way the ship is laid out and what the new ensuite cabins look like. See the video walk-through here:
This summer is fully booked and we’re already looking ahead to next year, hoping to mix things up a little in 2016. We have a few unique opportunities to spend the fall and winter holidays on board with us in 2015/16, and some trips designed to get you home in time to celebrate! See our Upcoming Availability below or just shoot us an email!
Juliet is wrapping up her season in Turks and Caicos and has had an amazing month so far. We kicked off the January trips by sharing a night dive with a whale shark, and the next week the whale mammals started showing up – both above and below water. Check out the videos our crew and passengers took of these amazing events.
Night dive with a Whale shark
Selfie with a Humbpack Whale!
In a few weeks we’ll be saying goodbye to Turks and Caicos and heading back to Miami on our 11-day Repositioning trip through the Bahamas. We’re excited to visit Hogsty Reef again, and the walls we discovered off of Crooked Island last year (where we saw a pair of humpbacks on their way home too!), not to mention the gorgeous dives of Conception Island. We’ll dive the Exumas, Eleuthera, Nassau, the Berries, Bimini and Cat Cay before returning to Miami on March 10th to start our Bahamas season again.
There’s still plenty of room on our Spring trips out of Miami to the Bahamas if February has got you down – almost 100″ of snow in MA, not enough for the Iditarod in AK,?and it’s 60 in CO, what is going on? At least it’s always sunny and beautiful in the Bahamas!
https://julietsailinganddiving.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/trunks-scaled.jpg19202560Emily Peppermanhttps://julietsailinganddiving.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/juliet-logo-dark.pngEmily Pepperman2015-02-21 17:52:182020-11-04 08:16:02Turks and Caicos Season report