Log Date: Saturday, Apr 02, 2016
Entry By: Cayman Aggressor Crew
Charter 2-9 April 2016
Saturday. Welcome to the Cayman Islands and the Cayman Aggressor IV. By 3pm we had almost all guests on board. The Beer Cooler was discovered early on, cameras and dive gear assembled as we waited for the last two guests. The West Coast of the US is well represented this week, along with Virginia and some heavy accents! As the sunset, and Alan’s BBQ ribs were served we left the dock and headed out to West Bay. A welcome and safety briefing, along with a few drinks and a gentle boat rocking, had everyone prepared for a great night’s sleep… see you all tomorrow.
Sunday. Kicking off the week with a dive on the Doc Poulson, a Japanese tug boat, purpose sunk and named after Dr Poulson who brought the hyperbaric chamber to the Island. A beautiful wreck in 50ft of water, soft corals and macro life, garden eels everywhere so keep an eye out for Stingrays and Eagle Rays feeding! With the first dive successful and everyone’s equipment checked out we made our way to the North side of the island, world famous Stingray City. A super fun 12ft dive where Southern Sting Rays come flying in to play, posing for pictures and acting like big puppies. Deli style lunch on the sun deck, followed by Siesta Time and dives on a crowd favorite…Hammerhead Hill. Drifting down onto the wall 60ft at the top we were surrounded by fish, this place was going crazy! Parrot fish racing about, a beautiful green moray eel, as well as hundreds of blue tangs, giant trumpet fish and an art show of sponges! An absolutely amazing sight to behold, rich healthy colors and shapes only possible underwater! We returned to the Doc Poulson for the first night dive. Susan’s first ever! Yes she survived and returned with tales of Basket Stars, feeding corals, sleeping fish, active lobsters and the biggest crabs she had ever seen! Well done, it’s time for hot chocolate and a movie – a blast from the past, Austin Powers!
Monday. Waking up to a beautiful sunrise over Grand Cayman. Flat calm waters at Big Tunnels for the morning dives. Perfect conditions this morning, we knew this place was going to be insane! Dropping in we saw a large turtle coming up for air, incredible archways and windows through the reef. We looked down and found a huge Hawkesbill Turtle chowing down on a sponge, with an entourage of Queen and French Angelfish! Unfortunately they were fairly deep so we couldn’t stay long. Right under the pin, in the cathedral like canyons we were graced with a school of tarpon, hanging suspended, great for photos! The clarity, color and variety of life here is simply spectacular, can’t wait to do it again! After lunch a quick stop in on Bonnie’s Arch. A very special dive site. A beautiful archway bridging the reef right under the boat. Watch out for a Salt Water Crocodile, over grown with coral. This site is a true aquarium! Another hawksbill turtle, the whole range of Angel Fish. Trunk Fish everywhere, and Orange Spotted File Fish, always in pairs, throw some wrasse, tangs and chromis into the mix with a forest of healthy soft and hard corals and you have diving magic! Wreck time – the Ex USS Kittiwake, which was sunk 5 years ago in January. We have a school of Silver Sides living inside the main section of the wreck, at dusk the bar jacks were having a feast as they swarmed the small bait fish that travelled too far outside the wreck. A large Kabana Snapper was hanging out on the main deck, showing off his 4 fangs. Everyone had a great time exploring the wreck from the bow to the stern, helm to engine room, fun fun fun. Dinner and a few drinks as we motored south.
Tuesday. An incredible morning. Lake like conditions as we brewed coffee and indulged in Eggs Benedict! Two dives on the Tunnel of Love. A long Tunnel leading us out to the wall, watch your depth! Keeping one eye out in the blue and the other on the wall we finned over, under and around sections of reef jutting out into the abyss. Black sea fans, glorious rope sponges and of course the ‘tunnel of divorce’. This dive site was ‘going off’. Large schools of Chubbs, Snapper, Jacks, Rivers of Wrasse and upon our return to the boat we had to swim through a ginormous school Cornetfish – we have never seen a school so large here in Cayman! The afternoon and night dives were at Kelly’s Cavern’s and Crushers Wall. We spent the dives exploring the wall and two pinnacles, as well as the shallow maze like reef formations. Tor got some great macro shots of the Yellow Headed Jawfish, Carole spotted a large nurse shark hunting about on top of the wall. Something for everyone!
Wednesday. Guests awoke eagerly to chow down some food and hop right in the water. First stop today, Pedro’s Castle where instructor Ty and student Susan worked on their buoyancy as others explored the pinnacles off the wall and cut throughs in the shallows. After two final dives on the south side we cruised back over to the west side to check out what was happening at Neptune’s Wall. Soon after jumping in divers were greeted by an Eagle Ray that was trying desperately to ditch his sidekick- a clingy Remora. Groupers, a Hawksbill Turtle, Scrawled File Fish, Grey Angel Fish, and Arrow Crabs were also spotted. Despite the excitement found at Neptune’s we carried on to Oro Verde for last dive of the day and night dive. Susan finished up her last Wreck dive to complete her certification and everyone in the water had an up close encounter with one of Grand Cayman’s “friendly Nurse Sharks”. Hogfish and stingrays were also out hunting in the sands as divers goofed around on the bicycles scattered about the site. True to form, the OV was one of the most exciting night dives of the week with appearances made by an Octopus, Lobsters, giant Parrot Fish, an Eel and a very curious squid! After hot towels and hot coco, divers tucked in to dream of all of the incredible creatures encountered today.
Thursday. With five dives ahead of us today, we were expecting guests to be up for coffee and breakfast, 6am the salon was empty, 630am still empty… is anyone diving today? 7am rolls around and boom – everyone decided to get up at once, James was cooking up a storm in the galley and we finally splashed in on Round Rock/Trinity Caves. Fantastic site with channels and pinnacles to swim around, filefish, lobsters, a turtle and another Eagle Ray! Lunch and a quick dive on Eagle Ray Rock – a forest of soft corals and plumes, Chromis, wrasse, filefish, a box crab, a large turtle and yes Another Eagle Ray! We ended the day on Angel Fish Reef, a shallow finger reef formation just bustling with activity. Getting later in the afternoon dusk activities were all around us, tangs changing color, boys chasing girls, three turtles at the same time as our local friendly nurse sharks – we didn’t know where to look. Everyone got a great interaction with the nurse sharks and plenty of go pro shots! The night was Epic! Squid, two octopus, two slipper lobsters, crabs and sleeping turtles! Lots of folks hitting the hay early tonight – Guess we have worn them out
Friday. Two dives left on Devil’s Grotto. A very special location, shallow with tunnels and swim throughs galore! Swiss Cheese! Calm and lots of sunshine made for perfect conditions. Loads of tarpon, chubbs and jacks, always on the lookout for moray eels and nurse sharks. Everyone had a great time, back on board for a healthy deli lunch and then the mad gear wash down! Back on the dock, plenty of shopping and bars for everyone to be entertained before the cocktail party and farewell.
Thanks to everyone for making this a fun and safe week aboard the Cayman Aggressor IV. Great dives, great food and we made great friends this week. We hope to see you all again.
Till then safe diving, Capt and Crew of the Cayman Aggressor IV.