Cayman Aggressor IV
May 21st to 28th 2016
Saturday : A very different and unique week on board the Cayman Aggressor this week. Peppermill Casino in Reno, Nevada have a very interesting way of decorating their establishment. It’s called Living Art and the production decided that underwater scenes for the Cayman Islands would be very worthy of displaying on their interior and the best way to get that footage would be from the Cayman Aggressor IV.
Sunday: We headed to the Wreck of the Doc Poulson as the Peppermill Team ready the camera while director Joe Ness organized his make shift editing suite in the salon. The plan was the dive team would entered the water with a 300ft cable tethered to the camera and a tri-pod would be set up on a single scene. All happened exactly as planned as these professionals have done in several places all over the world. Camera man Chris quickly identified a sponge, sea fan and fish location and the camera was set in place. Joe directed the camera angle and distance and played with numerous controls until he was content they had what they needed and all of us in the crew watching the scene on the big screen almost in chorus said “they Doc Poulson has never looked so good”. Next up we headed to Sting Ray City and the water so super blue and clear as could be. Again the Camera was set in the sand and aimed at were some sting rays should be and before too long the friendly residents made an appearance. We also cruised the coral heads and found a very obliging green moray eel to fill the frame with. So with the afternoon sun sinking into the ocean behind us we pointing the glass east and headed for Little Cayman. The crossing was as clam as we have seen for a fair while, a gentle wind made glass of the ocean and we loved every minute of it.
Monday: We awoke to on the Queens birthday to a Royal Little Cayman sunrise. The intention was to spend the entire day at 3 Fathom Wall and make use of the abundant marine that likes to call it home. First the Peppermill gang tried a wide angle lens and a coral adorned spot was chosen. The laborious and concentrated effort that went into obtain just 30 seconds of usable footage was extremely impressive. 3 fathom Wall has always been a must see at Bloody bay and today was no different. For the next dive a macro lens was in place and we went looking for all things small and beautiful. It was long before we found a garden patch of yellow headed jawfish and there amongst them all was a big male with a mouth full of eggs so the camera was set in place and pointed at that very spot and again the work that went into capturing just a small amount of screen worthy footage showed the Peppermill crew to be true professionals.
Tuesday: We moved further up Bloody Bay to Jackson Bite and an ever popular dive site known as Bus Stop. The Macro lens was again the optic of choice and the Peppermill machine went back into action. Again yellow headed jaw fish were the subject of choice along a very photogenic sail fin blenny. A slipper lobster appeared and duly had the camera focus in on it and the a huge eagle ray came right over head but with only a macro lens in operation we could only admired the scene. For the afternoon we cruised out to one of the very cool swim thrus that winds and turns out over the blue, all the while we were accompanied by a large grouper. The wall top was a golden garden and the drop a rich deep blue, we cruised along the abyss edge hoping for a visitor from the deep amnd it wasn’t too long before we were joined briefly by a grey reef shark making for a great end to our visit to Bloody bay.
Wednesday : A large part of what the Peppermill team came to shoot was the USS Kittiwake and so after a very smooth crossing back from Little Cayman we awoke to find ourselves moored over that grand old ship wreck. We spend the entire day shooting all kinds of different wrecks scenes, long slow bow shots, low approach to prop and rudder and even deep dark penetration inside the belly of the wreck. The Kittiwake certainly offers something for everyone and after such a day as this we now know it offers just about angle for serious videography. Sunk in 2011 the wreck of the Kittiwake is now a firm and established Cayman Favourite and it sits right long side a wall site known as Sand chute which was made famous by a Ski Cayman poster campaign from back in the 80s, showing a diver on the sand slope in full skiing gear making for the ocean blue.
Thursday : And the Peppermill gang were now in full swing but it was also a time to make sure they had what the intended from this expedition, so with that in mind we headed back to the Wreck of the Doc Poulson to be 100% sure the images captured previously were of the best possible quality. We cruised the wreck back and forth and the images were crystal clear and truly atmospheric. The next dive we headed for the wall and camera man Chris, slowly shot the crevice and swim thru that leads out into the blue, each angle was painstakingly shot and when we got top side the evidence of the work was clear for all to see and again we have never seen the Doc Poulson look so good. All of us in the crew would truly love to travel to Reno for the unveiling of the Cayman footage on the big screens. Next stop was Bonnies Arch on the northwest corner of Grand Cayman. The arch offered a tethered dive so director Joe could again get his expert eye on the subject matter and work the best image for the camera. We did a night dive here also and lobster and channel crab were the starts of the show.
Friday: We headed south to Devils Grotto for our final 2 dives to get the Peppermill Cameras up close to these famous old Grottos. As always the resident Tarpon were in attendance and made for a great subject to aim the camera at. The high end production quality cameras showed the Grottos in such fanastic clarity and made each scene look so epic. The 2nd dive made sure the camera captured everything that was needed before the housing would be washed down and stowed for the next trip. As the packing started all talk turn to the next Peppermill underwater expedition and which Aggressor would best suit their needs, Palau is a serious contender along with Turks & Caicos or even Galapagos for the big animals or even the epi-center of marine bio diversity in Raja Ampat or Komodo on the Indo Aggressor so many choices and so many great Aggressor destinations but one thing is for sure………….a lasting friendship is now cemented between the Peppermill Living Art team and the Worldwide Aggressor Fleet. A huge thanks to Joe, his daughter and tech support Juliana, camera man Chris, dive leader Mike, dive support Derek, behind the scene photographer/camera man Steve and last but not least equipment & tech leader Marcus. We genuinely hope to see you all back on deck at some point in the future.
Until Next Week
Cayman Aggressor Crew