In the winter the weather in Florida and the Bahamas can get a little sketchy – anyone who’s ever done a Gulf Stream Crossing in January can attest to that! And didn’t it snow it Ft. Myers a few years back!? That is why Juliet heads south for the winter, to find more consistent and pleasant climates to dive and explore in. Our winter destinations have included the Turks and Caicos, Virgin Islands, Western Puerto Rico and Mona Island. Every year just after Thanksgiving we head south, and we invite passengers to come along with us!
Each Repositioning trip covers about 500 miles over 11 days and is always an adventure. These trips are not for everyone, however. Unlike our week-long trips out of Miami, we can’t guarantee we’ll always have an island to hide behind to get some shelter – we’ve got places to be, things to see, amazing dives to do! And we often like to go exploring, trying different destinations and islands that we’ve never been to – that sometimes not many other people have been to either – so there are dives we do that could be spectacular, or could be a dud. It might be rough and it might be an adventure into the unknown, but it will be unforgettable.
Our first Repositioning trip of the season leaves Miami to head down to the Turks and Caicos by way of the Bahamas. Juliet will first stop in Bimini for a day or two of diving around our normal stomping grounds – to the likes of Bull Run for the sharks; the Hesperus for the turtles; and Nodules, Tuna Alley, or Victory for a wall fix. After that we’ll head east towards the Berry Islands and down towards Nassau for a stop at Atlantis and to dive the famous wrecks scattered around New Providence. We’ll hit the Blue Hole on our way to the Exumas where there are beautiful shallow reefs on the bank side – dive-able only at slack tide because of the currents – and dramatic walls on the east side. Over to Eleuthra for Jake’s Blue Hole, a gorgeous shallow reef dive with a surprise crack in the earth spilling nutrient-rich water onto the reef daily. Then down to Conception Island where the walls are so untouched and beautiful and the island is part of the Bahamas National Parks, a rookery for seabirds and a nesting site for Green Turtles. We’ll dive around a few more islands on the way south before we head to Hogsty Reef, one of the only coral atolls in the western hemisphere. Littered with giant wrecks around the perimeter, this atoll is dove by practically no one because its in the middle of nowhere. The entire atoll is one huge wall dive around the outside, and dozens of little wreck dives on the inside. And talk about lobstering! We never go hungry at Hogsty.
From there its over to the Turks and Caicos where the repositioning trip ends, but not before whale watching around West Caicos and French Cay. The humpback whales migrate down here this time of year (Due to extensive permitting required, there is unfortunately no diving in Turks and Caicos on repositioning trips).
If our final destination is the Virgin Islands, we’ll head out on the next leg which will take us through the Humpback Whale breeding grounds at the Silver and Mouchoir Banks. This is a sight not to be missed. Though we cannot get in the water with them in these protected areas, watching the from the boat is simply spectacular. Every winter, these majestic creatures come down from New England and Canada – where they’ve gorged themselves on food all summer – to breed and calve on the shallow banks just off of the Dominican Republic. The males are competing for mates so you’ll be treated to fantastic displays of acrobatics by these over 30-ton animals as they show off for the girls. During this transiting time there will likely be no diving so bring a book or two and your relaxed attitude!
Then off the Puerto Rico and for a stop at Mona Island, Monito, and Desecheo, another rarely-dove spot in the Caribbean because of their remote locations. More beautiful walls and pristine reefs await! There are some crazy currents around these islands that attract some pretty interesting species of shark – you never know what you might see!
Finally we’ll reach the Virgin Islands – the British Virgin Islands of Salt Island, home of the famous Wreck of the RMS Rhone, Virgin Gorda and the Baths, the Chicuzen wreck – and the US Virgin Islands, where we’ll find more historic wrecks from the West Indian Trading Company (WIT Shoal, WIT Concrete) and some gorgeous shallow reefs with hundreds of species of different fish, more types of hamlets that you’ll see anywhere else, and close encounters with Spotted Eagle Rays! A few evenings at the famed bars of the islands, Foxys and Willie T’s, and the trip will come to a memorable end in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.
Returning from St. Thomas to Miami is a little different, done over a 2-week straight-through cruise all the way back to Miami. This trip will dive St. Thomas, Puerto Rico (including Mona Island) but does include 2-3 days of travel only as we pass by the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Turks and Caicos (short-term permitting requirements make diving here a no-go for trips just passing through). Not to worry, there’s still plenty to do and see on board between Puerto Rico and the Bahamas – we’ll pass through the Silver and Mouchoir Banks where the Humpback whales calve and breed in the spring so keep your eyes peeled while you’re relaxing on deck. We’ll pick up diving again at the southern end of the Bahamas and dive up the chain from Hogsty to Bimini every day.
These trips are truly unforgettable, but not for the faint of heart! Contact us for details or to book your cabin on the next repositioning trip!
Repositioning Trip Availability 2016-17
February 20-March 4, 2016 – St. Thomas to Miami – 3 spaces available, 2 ensuite and one standard
Nov 26 – Dec 6, 2016 – Miami to Turks and Caicos
March 25 – April 7, 2017 – St. Croix to Miami