Log Date: Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015
Entry By: Cayman Aggressor Crew
1-11 July 2015 Ten Day Charter
Water Temp 28/29C 82/83F
Air Temp 82F+
Shorts and Rash Guard, or a shortie wetsuit
A busy day in Georgetown with three Cruise Ships in town, 19 excited divers made their way to the Cayman Aggressor IV for boarding, a cold drink and a ten day diving experience around the three Cayman Islands. Once everyone settled in, a BBQ dinner was ready and we began to get to know each other. We had a safety briefing in the evening right before most tired travelers found their beds and dreamt of the week ahead.
Kicking off the first day with a couple of dives on the wreck and wall of the Doc Paulson. A great start to the week with an Eagle Ray, a couple of Turtles while exploring the wreck and sand chutes all right under the boat. A delicious lunch thanks to Chef Alan, a siesta then time to dive on Neptune’s Wall. As usual this place was buzzing with life. A couple of overhangs covered in tube and rope sponges, a few lion fish playing hide and seek, a large hawksbill turtle resting in a crevice decided to get moving and cruise along the shallows to join a tiny hawksbill! A juvenile green moray eel was spotted and a large school of jacks did a fly by. Get ready everyone for our afternoon and night dive site is the Oro Verde. A wreck of a wreck in 50ft of water, scattered across the sand and up to the surrounding reef has created a haven for life. Eels, lobsters, yellow headed jaw fish, turtles, flounder, jacks, chubbs, octopus and snapper and the star of the show, both in the day and night dive was Fin the Nurse Shark. She surprised a few divers by getting up close and personal! Can’t wait to see the videos of that!
Today we woke up to a beautiful sunrise over a dive site called Big Tunnels. All diver’s descended to the top of the reef and on to the beginning of the tunnels circuit that this wonderful site is so well known for. After a 15 minute tour of the tunnels we ended the dive on top of the large pinnacles just under the boat. Just by the mooring pin we found an adult yellow tail damsel fish guarding it’s smear of eggs, and what a feisty little guy. After 2 wonderful dives at big tunnels we headed over to the famous Kittiwake that was sunk here in 2011. Three dives here proved to be just spectacular, with loads of silver sides, and curious turtles roaming the nearby reef for a sponge to munch on. The dusk dive provided the divers with a rare treat of massive swarms of silver sides emerging from the wreck to feed. What a wonderful day of diving !!!
Happy 4th of July everyone! Our 4th of July festivities began with a mornings diving on Round Rock and Trinity Caves, two neighboring dive sites along West Bay, Grand Cayman. Dueling turtles were spotted just after the Round Rock pinnacle, while we were watching another turtle cruise along an Eagle Ray came swooping along… what to look at first! John got low in the sand and the Eagle Ray came right up to him, yes he got it all on camera! The Caves were a delight, sandy bottom, schooling school masters and snapper, lobsters peeking out of their holes at this bubble blowing bunch of creatures. To top of a tremendous dive…. A loggerhead turtle, giant, the largest turtle our group had ever seen paid us a visit on our safety stop. WOW One more stop today after our all American 4th July Burgers in Paradise Lunch - Sting Ray City. 12ft of fun in the North Sound. A bit of a current made life interesting as hilarious antics ensued. Up close and personal with Rays of all sizes, we have a hicky contest on our hands! Pack up the deck, it’s off to Little Cayman.
After a peaceful crossing from Grand Cayman to Little Cayman we found ourselves at a site called Randy’s Gazebo for 2 morning dives. Once everyone had their breakfast they jumped in for a wonderful start to today’s diving, some took the adventure challenge of the 2 chimneys and others decided to scoot along the shear wall over to the gazebo. 2 friendly groupers followed close behind in hopes of getting a scratch under the chin, or a photo or 2. After lunch we headed over to an all-time favorite site called the meadows where we all hoped to see some of those sleek reef sharks cruising along the wall. 3 dives here, but we could have done more, what a great day for diving. Reef sharks, turtles, reef sharks chasing turtles, and a squid with a baby flounder in its mouth for the night dive. Wonderful day of diving !!
Monday 6th July. This week is flying by. A personal favourite site, Lea Lea’s Lookout. Back on Bloody Bay Wall, using the slight current to our advantage we headed out to where the current meets the reef to find a wall of fish, brown and blue chromis, tiger groupers, and of course Nassau Groupers. Drifting slowly down the wall, enjoying the soft corals, sponge and fish life to find the Great Room – a cavern to lead us back up on top. Cleaning stations everywhere on this site, and an Octopus’s Lair right under the boat! Whoop Whoop Rebecca is diving again, her ears have cleared! A quick stop in at 3 Fathom Wall, only 18ft under the boat. A great spot for Eels, stingrays, lobsters and yellow headed jaw fish! The viz closing in so we moved back to the Meadows for 1 dive. WOW wow. One very relaxed shark coming really close so see what we are up to, John and Renae were spotted Grouper loving Tim, Michelle, Andrea and Linda were all back on board in time for us to trek over to the Brac, and get a night dive in on the wreck! Four Octopus, eels, crabs, jumping clams, a great end to a busy day!
Getting in for a second dive on the 356 Captain Keith Tibbets we found a goliath grouper that was very shy, but did make a brief appearance then slipped back into his hiding spot. Several streams of bubbles coming off of the wreck indicated that some of our divers went inside to check out the engine room, and some of the compartments hidden within. Making a third dive some divers went out to the fringing reef to explore some of the untouched pristine coral life at 80 to 90 feet, and some stayed shallow to take pictures of a juvenile turtle learning how to break off some sponge for a snack. After 2 dives and a night dive on the wreck we decided to make our way back to little Cayman to finish up the days diving at a spot called Bus Stop, and what a treat it was. 2 afternoon dives and a dusk dive proved to be some of the best diving yet, a HUGE goliath grouper just behind the boat, shark, turtle, pipe horse, flounder, and a VERY friendly reef shark to end the day of diving on the dusk dive.
Everyone woke up for an early morning dive. Splashing at 6am on Nancy’s Cup of Tea. Greeted upon entry as we navigated the current by Frick, our leading character Reef Shark! Finning up and over the wall to the Tea Cup so see a Green Moray Eel hunting with a Grouper! Beautiful Black Corals and sea sponges as we drifted East along the wall. Frick found a friend so there were two Reef Sharks very curious of our activities. A history channel moment as we ‘discovered’ 400yr old anchors embedded in the reef, then a workout on the safety stop hanging in the current. Just makes breakfast all the more inviting. Getting away from the current which seems to be building we dived 3 Fathom Wall once again, this time in crystal clear viz. An Eagle Ray, Nurse Shark, Turtles, Grover the Grouper and yes more Calamari as Anita called them. Last chance to enjoy Bloody Bay Wall, the Great Wall. A shear wall covered in life, with Freddy Grandfather of the Groupers in fine form to greet all the divers. A few turtles meandering about, a nurse shark sleeping under a bommie, schools of chromis shrouding the large coral heads right behind the boat. Thanks once again Little Cayman, but it ‘s time to head back to Grand Cayman.
After our pilot whale encounter during last night’s crossing from Little Cayman to Grand Cayman, we tied up to a wonderful site called Babylon known for its seclusion and pristine walls covered in black coral and untouched sponges. All divers jumped in for 2 morning dives on this beautiful site, and already we have reports of turtle, shy hamlet, a decorator crab and a pipe fish in the sand. Congrats to Paul on logging his official 100th Dive. After lunch we moved to a site called Bonnies Arch for one dive, and what a great dive it was, many of the divers took video and photos of each other moving in and around the famous arch way. A turle guided us along for 20 mins! Several divers found a spotted eel hiding under a rock, but behaving for photos. One more site for today, Eagle Ray Rock for the afternoon dive and the much anticipated dusk dive. John found that special green moray eel that wanted to come by for a kiss and a hug, great photo too by the way. The dusk dive was a GREAT finish to a GREAT day of diving, and close encounters with the local wildlife.
Has it really been a week and a half? Last day of diving today, with two shallow dives up for grabs. World Famous in Cayman Devil’s Grotto. Home to long tunnels and swim throughs all in only 40 feet of water, large tarpon hanging in the caves, look for schools of silversides, chubs and snapper also the resident Eagle Ray who usually does a fly by. Wash down time, lunch and a trip to the dock. Anyone for a real coffee and internet access unlimited? Welcome back to tera firma. Cocktail party and a few awards to be presented, then dinner in town or for some just a pizza and a movie at ‘home’.
Thank you to everyone for a great week of diving and topside banter and entertainment. Safe travels to all, and we hope to see you back in the Cayman Islands one day to Eat Sleep and Dive with us.
Cayman Aggressor Capt. and Crew