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Cayman Aggressor V :

 

Log Date: Saturday, Jan 16, 2016
Entry By: Cayman Aggressor Crew







 


Cayman Aggressor IV
Charter Date: 16-23 January 2015

Water temp 81F, 28C     Air Temp 80s

Vis 80ft-100ft, and then some!       Shortie 3mm Wetsuit

Greetings once again from the Cayman Islands. Another busy Saturday in Cayman, a few of our guests were already on island, great planning on their part! Whilst the remainder flew in throughout the day, 12 of the 15 guests this week are from the USA, with two from Chilly Canada, and Olivia, from a land far away... Australia. “Quick, hide the vegemite!” Welcome back to repeat Cayman guests and frequent Aggressor Flyers, as well as the newbies to liveaboard life!  As soon as all divers were aboard we got off the dock, headed up to West Bay, dinner on the way, a safety briefing and a welcome aboard drink. The guests settled in for the night, set up lots of new toys – cameras... ready to play tomorrow!

Sunday. An early start as the weather was building, we headed north to kick off the week at Tarpon Alley. Lots of channels and canyons leading out to a tremendous wall. Large silver Tarpon hanging in the channels, stingrays feeding the sand and a large Hawksbill Turtle cruising and snacking along the reef. A successful first dive, cool sightings, and everyone’s equipment behaved! Now that we are warmed up we moved into the North Sound and dropped anchor. World Famous Stingray City! 12ft of water, 15 divers armed with cameras of all sizes, all had close encounters with these beautiful animals swirling and gliding all around us. A hearty yet healthy deli style lunch before dropping back in on the North Wall, this time Hammerhead Hill. WOW! Spectacular Dive on this knarly, dramatic wall. Depth of 60ft at top of the wall dropping off to 6000ft. Keeping one eye on the blue for any larger characters, meanwhile divers were mesmerized by the fish life and activity on the reef. Millions of Creole Wrasse and Parrotfish Pandemonium! Last stop of the day was Babylon, still on the North Side. The highlight of this site is a pinnacle just off the wall, where you can corkscrew your way up from 110ft – 40ft. Very healthy soft and hard corals, rivers of blue chromis and wrasse running wild all over the reef, a green moray, a couple of lobsters, lots of flamingo tongues! Barb got a great photo of four in one shot! That’s it for day one! Phew, time to relax.

Monday. After a smooth journey from Babylon to the south east side of Grand Cayman on Sunday night, we awoke to calm seas at the dive site, Tunnel of Love. This famous and extremely popular site is always a big hit. Dropping down on to the very steep and abundantly decorated wall top, we headed for the tunnel from which the site gets its name. The visibility was in excess of 90ft and with the sunlight breaking thru it became a photographers dream. We spotted several lionfish, yet another free swimming green moral eel, a couple of turtles and a grey reef shark patrolling in the blue. Chef Kingsley served up a wonderful Mexican lunch while we made the short journey to Kelly’s Caverns. We spent the afternoon and night dive at Kelly’s, cruising the labyrinth of over hangs, swim thrus and small tunnels. The cascading light that fall down into the caverns is truly atmospheric and kept our eager group very entertained. We again saw several lionfish and very busy yellow stingray and a turtle that was not at all shy. All but 2 of the group braved the 80 degree water for the night dive and were not only rewarded with several lobster, more lionfish and a good size channel crab but hot towels, hot chocolate and a relaxing soak in the hot tub to boot !! And so ended another fantastic day of diving aboard the Cayman Aggressor IV.

Tuesday. Pedro’s Castle, Spectacular! A fabulous shallow site packed with caves and tunnels just like a maze. The wall was just a short swim away with 3 incredible sea mounts for us to explore. In the shallows a forest of Elk Horn corals set above a playground of canyons, archways and overhangs. With Pedro’s in the morning and Bullwinkle in the afternoon. Named after the Elk Horn and Stag Horn Corals most abundant in this area, we were treated to beautiful healthy massive Elk Horns, a haven for juvenile angelfish, damsels, hamlets, coneys etc. Another highlight of Bullwinkle, the Canyons full of slow moving Tarpon, fun swim throughs, a yellow ray, lobsters, a couple of Sail fin Blennies, Lettuce Leaf Slugs and Yellow Headed Jaw fish. I think everyone fell in love with this special place; LuAnn was just beaming upon exiting the water! On a side note there has been some strange activity on the dive deck, three divers seem intent on conserving their air, so dedicated to the cause that they think they can dive without their first stage even attached!

Wednesday. Very windy today! We find ourselves ready for the first bubbles of the day on Round Rock/Trinity Caves. With a guided tour all divers had a fun time negotiating the maze of Trinity Caves, exploring all around the Round Rock set on the edge of the wall. A turtle came in for some photo time as did an Eagle Ray, feeding in the sand and coming super close to Linda and Ezzie. Only time for one dive here as we are off to the Kittiwake. Sunk almost exactly 5 years ago! The Kittiwake is a ‘disney’ wreck, easy navigation in 60ft of water, portholes, doorways and openings all over the place. Artifacts left in place so you can imagine the working ship life of this Submarine Support Vessel. Schooling Horse-Eye Jacks and two Eagle Rays doing fly bys, one coming around for a double take! Moving along to the Oro Verde, a wee gem on the West Side. A wreck of a wreck, and home to Green Morays, Spotted Eels, Lobsters, Giant Channel Crabs, Yellow headed Jaw Fish, Puffer fish and Dave got a photo of a Mantis Shrimp! Nice job! All divers had an absolute blast; a few divers also tried their hand at Extreme Underwater Mountain Biking! Laughing so much that their tanks were running on fumes by the time they surfaced. The night dive surprised us with an Octopus, Large Lobsters dueling in the sand and more Eels. Again Hot chocolates, hot towels and hot showers welcomed the divers back on board.

Thursday. Big Tunnels was our first location, here we get to enjoy the majestic caverns, caves, swim thrus and tunnels! Turtle Mania – 5 Turtles were spotted. A couple of turtles were feeding and definitely not camera shy. A free swimming green moray hunting all over the reef, the outer edges of the wall just teeming with life. Quick stop over on Bonnies Arch – a very special shallow site, more turtles, a school of Trunk Fish swimming out in the blue! The highlight of this site really is the Coral Arch right under the boat, and the resident Salt Water Croc! For the late afternoon and Dusk Dive we motored down the island to the Doc Poulson. Always a popular site with plenty of critter sightings including schooling jacks, spotted drums, angelfish and a very friendly Nurse Shark who kept circling back to check us out! The dusk dive had a special event install for us, the reef was spawning, right under the boat, clouds of milky ‘smoke’ shooting out of the reef. Awesome!

Friday. As always come around too fast! This morning we find ourselves at Devil’s Grotto! Of course our week isn’t complete until we dive Devil’s Grotto! Home to the Tarpon, swim throughs galore, a fun shallow dive to end a great week. All that’s left is to wash down our gear pack our bags and drink a cold one or two at the farewell party. Congrats to Olivia, Mickey and Eric on joining the Nitrox Gang. Thanks to all for making this week on board the Cayman Aggressor IV safe and fun.  Until next time be safe, dive safe.                    

The Crew of the Cayman Aggressor IV