Exumapalooza 2014 kicked off Saturday evening, July 12 when Captain Ron McCaslin and crew welcomed 10 and ½ Coral Reef Pirates aboard the Aqua Cat for six days diving, food and fun. During the evening cocktail party, Captain Ron outlined the week’s itinerary, which would offer wall dives, drift dives, a shark feeding and adventures ashore.
The week’s diving adventures began early Sunday morning with a shallow checkout dive at Barracuda Shoals, which quickly provided string rays, turtles, hundreds of small reef fish and sharks. From there we punched two deep dives at Pillar Wall and then took a ride through the Washing Machine. Following a great dinner by Chef Kirk Bell, we finished the day off back at Pillar Wall for a night dive.
Tuesday gave us five dive opportunities at Junk Yard Wall, Jake’s Hole, and Split Coral Head. Captain Ron and the crew pulled off a great shark feeding at Split Coral Head with 12 Black Tip sharks, hundreds of snappers and one big grouper showing up to entertain us. The grouper quickly tired of battling everyone for frozen baitfish, made a free lunch of a snapper, and swam away with the yellow tail sticking from his mouth.
Wednesday saw us deep in the Exumas for stops at Jake’s Drop Off, Thunderball Grotto, Conch Cut, Jeep Reef, Amberjack Reef and the famous Swimming Pigs. Since our last trip to Big Major Cay, Chocolate Chip’s litter has learned to swim and chase apples.
Thursday and Friday provided wall dives, drift dives and swim through dives. Black Tip Wall and Hammerhead Gulch were the highlight dives of these two days. On Saturday, we visited The Lost Blue Hole and Periwinkle Reef. The last dive at Periwinkle gave us a chance to feed the Sergeant Majors and dive with Speedo, the newest Coral Reef Pirate.
Our six days aboard the Aqua Cat gave us 25 fantastic dive sites, the Swimming Pigs, Daredevil Pirates jumping into Thunderball Grotto, excursions ashore and a great time with old and new friends. Stop by Coral Reef to hear our tales, check out photos of the trip, and meet Speedo.
By Walt Morris