The good news is I returned home on time after a outstanding dive trip!
The bad news is about $1800 bucks of scuba equipment didn't.
Somehow US Air lost my only checked bag between Philly and Cleveland.
We'll see how it all turns out.
Hope everyone made it home safe!
Thanks for starting the T&C trip report thread. Here is the rest of the story... (Fingrabber & WW)...
T&C...Peeping Tom's (c/o Starfish Sandy) and Crazy Comedy & Crew (Madagascar, Starfishes, Chocolate, Astrology, fine wine, nitrox classes, video, pictures and more!)
And so the trip began....for some of us it was very early the night before...and red eye applied to more than the flight. As divers moved east the flight merrygo round began. California brought us Cindy aka Waterphoto (her first SD trip), Nancy aka H20 Bug & Scott aka Gentdiver and now 'SharkBait' ; Colorado corraled Carla aka Rkymtwy, Steve aka Masked Diver (his first SD trip) & Eric aka enreber (his first SD trip), Ohio brought the Big O aka Dave; Iowa brought us Jeff aka Seahorsewrangler, and Indiana brought us Mandi aka Landlocked. Texas tallied up Kim aka Fingrabber and our fearless trip leader, Kamala aka the Wench, Karl aka Scubafanatic, Karen aka NurseShark (her first SD trip) & Barry aka WestTXBlaze (his first SD trip); the NE brought us Dan aka Capt Saaz & Sandy aka Starfish Sandy from NY and Michael aka Sea Ranger from Toronto and finally Florida adding Jill aka Nextariel, Ari aka Vettenorlando, & Larry aka Orcaman.
Bleary eyed we started what has been a MUCH ANTICIPATED TRIP!!! After a 20 minute hike thru the Miami airport to find the restrooms, Kim, Carla and I started hooking up with Jill and others in route to Providenciales. Don't forget to ask Carla, Karl and Karen how freaky the seating assignments were...you'll never believe it!
Saturday April 29, 2006:
Soon we were off to Provo and the trip had officially begun. But the story is best told by the participants so here it is in their own words.
Kim: Well, we flew out of Dallas on a 6am flight with a connection in Miami and then to Provo. We first met up with Carla, Karen and Karl for our early flight and the funny thing is Kamala, myself and Carla were in 14ABC and Karen and Karl were in 13CD; none of us checked with the others about where we would be sitting at! At least one passenger told us we should play the lottery that night and I think we would have had we not been on the plane already. Then in Miami, we met up with Jill. Cindy was there as well, but we didn't know which passenger she was so, we didn't officially meet her until after customs in Provo. We also ran across Larry and Barry in the customs line as they flew in on Spirit Airlines and arrived about the same time we did. Once we picked up our luggage, our taxi took us to a local eatery where we met up with Dan, Sandy, Scott and Nancy; our numbers were growing! Then the taxi picked us up and took us the rendevous point for the boat. They had already taken our luggage to the boat and the only thing missing was us! A short dingy ride later, and we were on board; Ari, Steve, Eric, Mike, and Dave were already on board, waiting for us. Our group was completed by Mandi and Jeff, who arrived on the late flight. After moving into our cabins and setting up our dive gear, we had dinner and listened to the briefing for the boat and diving operations. Our full dive briefing didn't occur until the next morning, just before our first dive of the trip. - finGrabber
WW: We had a mixer to help people get to know one another as we had quite a few new people on the trip. While our veterans did a great job in welcoming our new friends...a chance to have some fun and get to learn something about everyone was just too good to pass up. Our very own fingrabber created a most unusual and entertaining game. As many of you know...Mandrake Jr has been looking for his father who was taken captive last June while we were in Bonaire. We were told that he was being held in a prison in Grenada but alas our prison and complete bar searches yielded many clues but no rescue. We did find from the local native monkey population that Mandrake Sr had been moved to some undisclosed Carribbean Island and we would simply have to visit each one...checking in all the usual places...bars, prisons and yes closets...until we found him. In the meantime, Jr went hunting on his own and opted for more untraditional places...such as Karen's shirt...the mouth of a bluesailfin...and a host of other strange but fun places he might be hidden. Since we had a private eye on our trip...it was decided that we should combine our talents and resources of all our members to see how we could best find him and break him free. So each member was to list on a sheet of paper the two talents or assets that they could offer to help us find or break Mandrake Sr out of captivity. And so the contest began...after each of us tallied our skills we then read those skills off so that each member could guess who was who on the trip. It was a blast indeed and we had 2 winners..Scott and Cindy. Scott got 7 out of 20 correct and was the "Repeat SD Trip Winner" and Cindy got 6 our of 20 correct and was the "First Time SD Trip Winner". The winners had their choice of either an SD bag or SD dvd. We had a blast trying to figure out who was who and the creativity our members exhibited was truly amazing! I am sure it will only be a very short time until we find our beloved Mandrake's father...stay tuned for more in the saga! - kamala
Sunday April 30, 2006:
Our first day of diving...
Kim: we dove Double D today and saw coral, sea fans, lots of various fish; the currents were wicked so I only did 2 dives today; there were a few brave souls who did a 3rd dive – Dave, Mike, Larry, Dan and Steve; our last 2 dives were cancelled due to the unusual conditions.
Kim: So far, Carla rules and will be great as my assistant when we rule the world! (of course this had NOTHING to do with the worlds greatest chocolate she brought from home courtesy of her sister. Which lead to one of the most memorable chocolate quotes... “ Chocolate is a great substitute for sex...but too much chocolate and you won't get any of the other!” I think there were a few more of these but they got lost in the rich, dark, smoothness of the moment...oops...chocolate thats right...we were talking about chocolate! - finGrabber
Dave: First day liveaboard dive tip: DO NOT follow the old Orcaman Larry into the current!
Although the dive went fine, my legs will never be right again! - Big O
Michael: Rule 1 – Do not jump into a 2 knot current without a weight belt. A long tow back for myself and my dive buddy (Eric) as we were swept to a new land far far away However many thanks from others who thought better of this dive. - Sea Ranger
Larry: No one forced anyone to do any dive! The Orcaman led and the believers followed, the non-belivers however, stayed on the boat and missed the best dive of the day! The Orcaman is still diving and walking normally. - The Old Orcaman
Monday May 1, 2006:
A post by WestTexasBlaze:
This is all I have to say...
(aka read between the lines..and don't ask about riding crops, dive buddies or which knee to start with) - Barry
Michael: The seas are calm...the wind is warm and the laughter is intoxicating. - Sea Ranger
Tuesday May 2, 2006:
Carla: “You've got to MOVE IT...MOVE IT...You've got to MOVE IT...MOVE IT...” - rkymtwy (Can you tell we watched Madagascar on dvd last night?
Kim: West Sand Spit is rarely dove because the conditions there are ususally not welcoming to a diver; literally, at low tide, West Sand Spit is just a sand island; at high tide, it disappears into the ocean though it is visible because the waves crash over it; the diving was excellent and I'm glad our crew took us there! - finGrabber
WW: So the gang has settled into the easy life of diving, eating, diving, snacking, diving more and a bit of sleep thrown is only so we can start again. While not diving and eating...we've been reading our horoscopes and laughing hysterically at the accurateness of the pairings, personalities and LOVE SIGNS!
The diving has been exceptional for the Caribbean...especially on Monday when we were able to dive West Sand Spit a rarely dove site that is in open water but extremely pristine. The diving was so enjoyable we only managed to move the boat a few hundred yards to explore other sides of the reef. Numerous sting rays, manta, and spotted eagle rays. When the waters were not filled with rays, turtles, eels, schools of fish, and tons of queen triggerfish. She clearly ruled the crystal, turquoise blue waters of the Caicos side of the islands. - Kamala
Wednesday May 3, 2006
Big O: Desert Diver Stan, You should have known not to let Kamala borrow this laptop. I told you in Fiji how much I liked it. I plan on stealing it before the end of the trip. - Dave
Scubalover: The waters are calm today. More like glassy. Bright sun and calm seas make for a very beautiful day. Started the day by visiting a reef shark at the G. What a way to start the day! He liked to get up close and personal. Which was just fine with my camera. I am amazed at the fan coral here and the amount of delicate coral that are thriving. Let's hope that more creatures are as curious as that reef shark. - Eric
Kim: The G Spot was my personal favorite diving of the trip! The dive site is very colorful and pristine plus we saw all this: sharks, walls, awesome sponges, roughtail rays, moray eels, triggerfish, turtles, eagle rays, reef sharks, nurse sharks, very colorful coral heads; it seemed like every time you looked in a new direction, some new, wonderful animal was just waiting for you! - finGrabber
Unknown quote of the day: Who would have thought Kamala was a closet drinker? Cans of Beer were found in both her drysuit pockets today 60 fsw! HMMM.....
“Wreck Wench” - Actually I've had these mysterious cans of beer showing up in my drysuit pockets on every dive today. Seems I dove with them on the first dive of the day not knowing they were there. Then I took them back down on dive two which was Karen aka Nurseshark's 100th dive so that she could have one for the uh...road! Needless to say she didn't drink it but she kept it calling it Bud 100! After that every dive found more beers in my pockets yet no one seems to know who is putting them there! I've tried just about every trick in the book and I still can't find out who is doing it. I think it is now official a boat conspiracy! -Kamala
Thursday May 4, 2006:
Kim: Today we dove the The Gully, another favorite! Here, we did some swim thru's, dove on pristine, colorful walls, saw tons of baracuda, lots of fish, beautiful coral heads, sea fans, the endangered Grouper, Queen Angels, French Angels, rays, puffers, jacks; and that is just a partial list! I can't say enough about how beautiful the walls are in Turks...if you love wall diving, then come to Turks! Some of the walls extend to over 10,000 feet. There's nothing like swimming out over a wall and seeing nothing but deep blue below you; it is truely awe-inspiring! We moved to Magic Mushroom (Yankee Town) for our afternoon and night dives; here we saw more incredible walls, Grouper, Sharks, Puffers, a couple of Flying Gunards and more Turtles; The Flying Gunards are really a throw back to a pre-historic time – they have wings, feet and the body of a fish, this is a very interesting looking fish! - finGrabber
Unknown quote of the day: I cannot believe that WW would be a closet drinker...more like a pocket drinker! Today it was noted that WW had several condoms attached to her tank????? She is obviouly having a hell of a good time! She even says she has no memory of how they got there...........(See drinking above.......) At least someones getting at little extra on the side. This might explain the mystery of why the boat is rocking every night!
WreckWench: Yes Thursday started out without beers in my pockets but condoms attached to my tank. Condoms and wine corks...still not sure what the wine corks were to do except make the condoms float up behind my tank. I'm beginning to think that Kimmie is in on it as she claims she knows nothing but she rarely knows nothing so someone has paid her off well. Oh well...time will reveal the culprits I'm sure!
We've met some wonderful crew and we've loved diving with them this week. Casey is new and just getting started. He's already been adopted and has said he'd make a report for us! Steve and The Other Steve are like Laurel and Hardy. One's short and the other's tall. One is older and the other is younger. One is from Wisconson and the other is from Scotland. And one swims exceedingly fast with those long legs but has learned to slow down to kitten herd the SDers! Angelie was the senior dive instructor and taught Cindy and Steve nitrox during the trip and was an expert at finding cool animals for us to observe. Jenn came on board with us and did the dive DVD for Explorer Ventures, if you get the opportunity to watch it, take it; her work is phenomenal!
The benovalent rulers have been in full force playing off of one another for days....NurseShark and Fingrabber have been plotting to take over the world all week. Its been 'grand' and 'central' to the plan. Can you tell we've been watching too much Madagascar??? Move it Move it.....
We are watching the footage for the trip and it has a lot of fish mating going on...(flying gunnards, trunkfish, black durgons) and spotted eagle rays, turtles, octopus, angels, butterflies, slippery dicks, sharks, rays and more rays....sharks, junvenials, jacks, groupers, squirrel fish, damsels, gobies, fairy basslets, rock beauty, morays, cleaning stations, lizard fish, file fish, hawkbill turtles, trumpet fish, ramoras, reef sharks, nurse sharks, barracudas, basket stars, many tooth conger blue eel, boxing hermit crabs, spawning coral, thousands of parrot fish, lobsters and lobsters eating conch, decorator, softshelled, hermit, squid, spendor file fish, wire coral shrimp, pederson shrimp, schoolmasters, junvenial french angels, Atlantic Spade fish, porcupine puffer, tangs, creole wrasse, Spanish Hogfish, porgy snapper ocean triggers, sand tile fish, flying gunnards peacock flounders, and more fish than I can recall. - kamala
Unknown quote of the day: I am a little shocked that Kamala, a Dive Master, would take beer on a dive. I have always obstained from such activity. But now I seem to have the green light. The method of transfer seems to be the issue, now that Kamala opened the doors. Perhaps the Benovalent rulers will help me with the transfer method of beer underwater.... I will look for postings from the Benovalent rulers will post a method of transfer of beer to my mouth in the near future. I want to personally thank Kamala for opening the doors for us. (It is strongly believed that Karen wrote this post!)
WW: I can see why these are the unknown quotes of the day. As it turns out several of our trip members were involved in the harmless prank of filling my drysuit pockets with beer cans seeing if I would notice them or not. It appears that they got me the first day but I quickly learned to check the pockets for unwanted commodities thereafter. It did not however stop the attempts to place said unwanted commodities in my dive gear. However on Karen's 100th dive which was today I did put the cans to use to help me form the 100 sign for her momentus dive! (I used my knife for the 1 and the cans of beer for the zeros. Once nurseshark and fingrabber realized that I had cans of beer with me each decided that they needed one of them and off they went! Neither returned them so I think that I am NOT the true beer culprit as I have been framed to be! - Kamala
Friday May 5, 2006:
WW: The second and last dive of the morning was Eric's 100th dive! That makes three of our divers hitting their momentus 100th dive on this trip! WOO!!! HOO!!! What a cool way to end out the trip!
Kim – We did a morning transition dive at 6am. We got to dive another pristine wall and saw the night creatures go to sleep, then see the day creatures wake up. It was really cool! Plus, Steve got pictures of a Manta Ray passing thru! According to the crew, a Manta is a very rare site in Turks, no matter the time of year. Then, after breakfast, we did our last dive of the trip. This was the dive where you see the Spanish Anchor in a pass thru. The anchor is now encrusted with growth, but it is very recognizable. We did the swim thru from bottom to top. I've heard that if you do the swim thru from top to bottom, then you can possibly miss the anchor. I swam across the top of the reef too and the anchor was visible from there as well. After this dive, we all started packing up. Most divers cleaned their gear and then spread it out over the salon deck. All the lounge chairs were filled with dive gear! It was very effective though; my gear was dry in about 2 hours. After lunch, some divers went ashore for shopping while others stayed on board to finish packing and other personal business. At about 5pm, those still on board got into a taxi, headed to dinner and to meet up with our shoppers. We had dinner at Calico Jack's where the laughter continued from our trip. A plus was Mandrake, posing thru-out the restaurant! I don't think Cindy will ever be the same without Mandrake. Rumor has it she may have some VERY GOOD LEADS as to where Mandrake's father is hidden so hopefully we'll be able to follow those soon! Poor poor little Mandrake hopelessly searching for his father in some undisclosed Carribean Island jail or bar...we are not quite sure! Then, we had another dingy ride back to boat, though this time, it was dark! It's alot of fun, getting into a dingy by the moonlight and riding it across the bay to our boat. After we returned, we moved our luggage out on the dive deck, to be loaded into the dingy one last time the next morning, to begin our trip back to civilzation.
Saturday May 6, 2006:
Kim: It was with much sadness that we all had to return to our real lives. I personally did not want to come back to Dallas! Turks and Caicos diving was very good, and the visibility this week has consistently been between 60 to 70 feet; it is different from the Mexico diving due to the visibility but also the animals we saw - manta rays, abundant reef sharks, flying gunards, eagle rays, coral, sponges, and more; we saw green moray eels and a few spotted morays as well; come to find out, the spotted morays are relatively rare in this area. The number of turtles is about par with Cozumel, though they didn't seem to be as big; The best part of a liveaboard is the chance to dive the more remote dive sites without having to return to shore every afternoon; instead, you can tan on the top deck, snack, relax and enjoy the trip!
As always, it was a great week of diving with old friends and making new ones. It was great to see Dan aka Capt Saaz, Sandy aka Starfish Sandy, Carla aka rkmtwy, Nancy aka H20Bug, Scott aka Gent Diver, Karl aka ScubaFanatic, Karen aka nurseshark, Larry aka orcaman, Barry aka wtxblaze and Jill aka nextariel again as well as meeting Steve aka masked diver, Eric aka scubalover, Cindy aka waterphoto, Ari aka vettnorlando, and Micheal aka SeaRanger; I hope to dive with eveyone again soon!
I dove most of the week with Scott and we had a blast diving together again! He really is a great dive buddy and is excellent at navigation. He always got me back to boat with plenty of air, though I admit I was checking my compass on everydive as well! I also had the opportunity to dive with Karen, Cindy, Barry, Eric, and Kamala. It was a great week and I'm sad it is over because I won't get to dive for a while and I already miss my friends
And now, right after I finish posting this, it will be time for me and Benevolent Ruler #1 to take over the world! It will be "grand" and it will be "central"! - finGrabber