Juliet crew and passengers arrived safe and sound with many new experiences under their belts in the Turks and Caicos last week. They departed Miami 10 days before to begin with a seemingly routine trip to the Bahamas, but this time, they just kept going…
[image size=”one-third” title=”Brain coral dive” alt=”coral reef dive bahamas” align=”left” fancy=”false” shadow=”true”]http://www.julietsailinganddiving.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/coral-dive.jpg[/image] After hitting up the usual spots in Bimini – the loggerhead turtles of the Hesperus and the jam-packed Strip – they headed to Nassau to dive some more famous wrecks, like the Bond wrecks which were featured in “Thunderball” and “Never Say Never Again.” The weather was perfect and they were sad to leave, but knew that even more incredible diving was just ahead.
From there Juliet continued south, and after a brief stop at the Nassau Blue Hole and cut through Highborne Channel to dive the walls on the east side of the Exumas. A quick jaunt across to Eleuthra for a dive at Jake’s Blue Hole with its intricate and unexplored cave system in the middle of a lush and beautiful coral garden!
A day of diving at Conception Island followed, which never disappoints. This uninhabited island is a Bahamian National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, and is only dove by a few boats a year. The dramatic walls are healthy and untouched. From there the diving would only get better as they very very slowly made their way to Hogsty Reef.
[image size=”one-half” caption=”Hogsty reef bahamas” title=”hogsty reef bahamas diving” align=”right” fancy=”false” shadow=”true”]http://www.julietsailinganddiving.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/hogsty-bahamas.jpg[/image] Hogsty Reef is a Caribbean anomaly. Its one of only three true atolls that can be found in the western hemisphere. An atoll is a lagoon island, or a ring-shaped reef in this case, that rises from 6,000 feet to break the surface of the ocean – in the middle of nowhere! It’s thought that atolls are formed from extinct volcanoes which created a seamount and then subsided over time to leave only the atoll in its place. To find remnants of a volcano in the very unvolcanic Bahamas is to say the least strange. Hogsty is home to many wrecks as you might imagine, two plainly visible on the surface and one in about 25′ of water.
The diving at Hogsty was the highlight of the trip. Covered with beautiful corals and sponges, the walls surrounding the atoll made a perfect backdrop for wide-angle photography and our underwater camera gurus on board were thoroughly impressed. The crew and passengers of Juliet were floored by the diving here, and chose to stay for two night dives. Two of the divers – who were celebrating their honeymoon on board – were lucky enough to have a close encounter with a Hammerhead shark! Not your typical honeymoon!
[image size=”one-third” title=”Hawksbill” alt=”diving turtle turks and caicos” align=”left” fancy=”false” shadow=”true”]http://www.julietsailinganddiving.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/turks-caicos-turtle.jpg[/image]Reluctantly departing from Hogsty, Juliet headed to its final destination at the Turks and Caicos Islands. Everyone loved diving the Driveway, and were so jazzed about the walls elected to do a pre-breakfast dawn dive to watch the underwater world wake up.
After ten days at sea, over 25 dives, eight islands, three countries, 500 miles, and an incredible adventure, the passenger parted ways at Providenciales and the crew has taken Juliet over to Puerto Rico for another rare and amazing experience – diving Mona Island! Stay tuned for more vicarious diving…!
Fair Winds and Calm Seas,