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CAPTAIN: Eric Ceruto Corzo
CRUISE DIRECTOR: Yemney Amador Legón
ENGINEER: Victor Emerson Emerson
DECK SAILOR: Nowel Chinea
DIVE MASTERS: Michael Echemendia
SKIFF DRIVER: Gualberto
Visibility: 85- 100 FT
Water Temp: 84- 85 F
DIVE SITES INCLUDING NIGHT DIVE
SUNDAY: Anclitas, La Cana, Boca de Anclitas, Boca de Anclitas (night dive)
MONDAY: Pipín, Los Mogotes, Cueva del Pulpo, La Trampa
TUESDAY: Cabezo de la Raya, Boca de Pidra, Mariflores, Luisas Reef
WEDNESDAY: Five Seas, Cabezo de la Cubera, Peruano, El Galeon
THURSDAY: Farallón, Intermedio, Pius Reef, Pius Reef (night dive)
FRIDAY: Finca de Pepe, La Puntica
ACTIVITIES OF THE WEEK
SUNDAY: After Lunchtime, O.F.Y. Presentation with Victor
MONDAY: Slideshows among dives.
Mangrove Tour way to Boca de Piedras Beach.
We went to see Crocs but they werent there.
At night we played a movie, Secret Agent.
TUESDAY: Snorkeling with the croc
Visit to Boca de Piedras Beach to see Iguanas and Jutias.
After lunch O.F.Y Conference
WEDNESDAY: Mangrove Tour on the way to the second dive
After lunchtime, O.F.Y Presentation
Visit to the Tortugas Floating Hotel after the Presentation
THURSDAY: O.F.Y Presentation after lunchtime
Movie at night, Pirates of the Caribbean II.
STORIES OF THE WEEK
SATURDAY: The group arrived from Havana at 2:30 pm, very surprised for the beauty and commodity of the boat, and also for its cleaning, once they knew their cabins, lunch was ready in our restaurant as the boat started sailing way to Jardines de la Reina. General Briefing right after the lunch and then, the Representative of the Ocean For Youth gave them a brief explanation about the importance of the Biodiversity Record and why we have it here. They prepared their dive gear and got some rest. At 7:30 pm the boat arrived at Caballones Beach and dinner also was at that time. They went to bed early.
SUNDAY: First dive of the week was a check dive, only 7 divers in the whole boat, skill divers all of them, but we need to know each time how good are our divers, thats why our dive master checked their buoyancy, their skills; not only into the water but on the tender, and their personal gear, such as dive computers, equipment, fins, etc.
Anclitas was the site dive we chose for the first dive because of its unique characteristics, because it is near the shore, has no currents and is protected from wind. There we could see big pillar corals, grunts, parrotfishes, hogfishes, great barracudas, several species of groupers, drums, spiny lobsters, schools of cubera snappers, hermit crabs, porcupine fishes, trumpet fishes and squirrelfishes.
First Night dive of the week in Boca de Anclitas, they loved it, they saw a really small crab, with a size of a little finger nail, and a beautiful adult nurse shark taking a nap on the Bottom. HOT TOWEL and HOT CHOCOLATE with rum at their return to the mother ship.
MONDAY: Cloudy and windy morning today but good for diving, first dive in Caballones beach and after that mangrove tour around the channels and inner lagoons, it was very exciting and they got the chance to enjoyed the ecosystem. We did the tour way to Boca de Piedra Chanel before the second dive. In Boca de Piedra Chanel the site dives are closer to the mother ship, so diver can spend less time on tender and more in Jardines Aggressor II taking snacks and beverages, and also it is protected of the open sea, reason that make it the best place for being when bad weather. Two wonderful morning dives and in the afternoon we went to snorkel with crocs, but this time they were not there.
Water temperature is hotter than usual this days, between 84-85 FT, and visibility still being good, 85 - 100 FT.
TUESDAY: The weather was good, and just before the second dive all of them were visiting croc again, but was till second dive finished when we tried once more and this time that big beauty was there. Michael, our dive master, explained all the risks of snorkeling with it, and he is well known for his words clarity and realism. Safety comes first each time, and is really important knowing the facts before going into the water with El Niño. It is very friendly wild animal, it posed for pictures and let people get close, but we can never forget that it acts by instincts and we have to respect its space. Follow the indications of our guide is always mandatory. Our divemaster always go into the water with divers and this time was not the exception, even when only one of our guest did snorkel with El Niño. By the way, they were impressed about how the croc came so close to the tender when we started to call it by its name.
In the afternoon we went to the Beach to seeing the Jutias and Iguanas, dive master and skipper know well how to feed jutias and iguanas and showed the others how to do it, was fun, our photographers liked it. Dives were beautiful, many Silky and Caribbean Reef Sharks, was incredible see them swimming around us, crystal clear water, dog snapper and cuberas swam in circles from the bottom to the top as if they were dancing for us, was a beautiful view. Tarpons, crabs, a turtle, reef shrimps, among many other species they saw in the dives.
…and smiling faces are the common denominator during the day. They danced Macarena with the crew several times a day and the snacks of our chef Ramon are the best. Was a successful day.
WEDNESDAY: First two dives were excellent, sharks are part of the group. The groupers were waiting for us as if we were the best part of the day and were very friendly as usual. All customers were really pleased about the dive experience lived. They told us how interesting they found all dives. Site dives like Five Sea and Cabezo de la Cubera are two examples of the reason why Jardines de la Reina is so famous for his Flora and Fauna, this underwater world is very alive and it is a big show when you are into the water in a complete different space, and you felt like if you belong there. Surrounded by such a beautiful landscapes, caves, reef walls, drop offs, huge sponges, the diversity of coral gardens, with so alive colors, it is a delightful view for the human eye, and if besides all that, you add the beautiful school of tarpons, from the most smallest creatures like tiniest crab till the biggest shark you realized there is no better place to be.
All of our divers were authentically happy. They treat us with respect and as friends always, its really easy to work for them, you felt their gratitude in the air.
The boat moved to Caballones Chanel when tender departure to the next site dive, we tried all the time to offered to our divers what we considered the best places for diving. There we waited till the divers comeback at lunchtime.
Special GRILL DAY, they loved to eat on sundeck, main plates were, sausages, brochettes, grill chicken and pork, at lunchtime; and at supper were barbecue beef, pork and chicken, lobster with butter and garlic, wines and traditional cuban music. They enjoyed it.
THURSDAY: First dives were in El Farallón, and Intermedio, divers found there a coral reef formation with a lot of marine life, more than 10 caribbean reef sharks, few silky sharks, followed us wherever we went. There were two Green Morays in their cave doing a synchronized movement, they moved their heads together, in the same direction, was like if they were performing a coordinated or identical movements in time to some music we couldnt hear. None of our divers were indifferent to this show, was something unique for them. Dinner was special, crew joined to the table, was something everybody enjoyed, laugh was the main dish on the table, and clients felt like in home, is always nice to share as friends. We also thanked them for being here with us.
After dinner, the second and last night dive of the week for our divers, it was a complete success, tiny creatures were incredible this night, into the water we found abundant plankton: this small and microscopic organisms drifting or floating in the sea or fresh water, consisting chiefly of diatoms, protozoans, small crustaceans, and the eggs and larval stages of larger animals, reason why this corner of the world is so alive. Many animals are adapted to feed on plankton, especially by filtering the water. At their comeback, a local storm catched us just few minutes after our arrival, not to strong or lasting, but was windy, all of them were impressed about how crew handled the situation and acted so fast and with such confidence. Cuban Rum, Hot Chocolate and Hot Towel are unstoppable, the local storm was just a new anecdote to tell.
FRIDAY: Two last dives, in Finca de Pepe and La Puntica, beautiful dives, faces a kind of sad but pleased, they really spent a nice week onboard Jardines Aggressor II. They told this was one of their best trips ever, wonderful dives, excellent food, friendly and helpful crew, good service, clean cabins, beautiful boat, they were truthfully happy.
Jeremy, one of our divers couldnt see any eagle ray during the week, not even in the last dive, it was the task I gave him for the Biodiversity Record counting, he really looked for it, he wanted to see at least one of them, but did not succeed. We laughed about it each time, eagle rays were hidden from him, Lol.
Towel creatures on beds was something they really enjoyed this week, they were challenging the cruise director daily with their request about the animals they wanted on their beds, it was a funny game, everyone resulted pleased. Turtles, crabs, rabbits, elephants, they found a different daily animal made with towels on their bed.
All customers were really pleased about the dive experience lived. They told us how interesting they found all dives. They spend a wonderful week, everybody was planing to come back in a near future and encouraging us to keep this place just as it is, pristine and healthy. Unforgettable Experience all of them lived here.