10 Day Charter 31 Aug – 10 Sept 2016
Crew: Capt Kiwi, Niall, Kingsley, Rodel, Ty and Aubri
Guests: Colleen & Butch, Mike & Melodie, Benny & Regine, Gary, Gwen and Jan, Dana, Norm, Liz & Elliot, Steve, Ted, Meshall, Debbie & Bob.
Wednesday. A windy day in Grand Cayman today with fallout from Hurricane Hermine approaching the US. A full boat this week, 18 guests excited about a week and a half diving the Cayman Islands and living aboard the Cayman Aggressor. 14 out of 18 divers have been here before, some as recently as last week! Debbie and Bob. A Warm Welcome Back! Also to the four ‘newbies’. Everyone is settled in fairly quickly, cameras out, dive gear prepped, a cold beer and BBQ dinner before the Welcome Briefing. We have one guest missing tho…. Until finally 2am he arrived tired and hungry. Crazy layovers and aircraft issues but Norm made it in one piece, we are glad to see him!
Thursday. The first of September already?! Where is the year going? Taking off from the dock in the early hours we motored out to West Bay, Doc Poulson being our first site of the week. As well as brushing off the cobwebs we ticked a lot of ‘Critter Boxes’ this morning, an Eagle Ray feeding in the sand, a Turtle passing through the group, a lobster waving at us from its lair, a snapper gobbling up a Lionfish and a large puffer calling the small wreck home. All right under the boat in 50ft of water! A perfect start. A delicious lunch with a well-deserved nap to follow preceded the next dive on Neptune’s Wall. Dana got lucky with a close up encounter with another Eagle Ray!! Lots of Banded Coral Shrimp and cleaning stations, Melodie found a neon blue Lettuce Leaf Slug and a drumfish, Meshall got friendly with a turtle. Getting out of the current and wave action we tied up to the Oro Verde for the last afternoon dive and first ever night dive of the week. This Wreck with a sordid history of drugs, murder, and an attempted bombing is now a scattered wreckage but a haven for life. A friendly Grouper, Yellowheaded Jawfish, three types of eels, Debbie and Bob stumbled across what looked to be a Poker Game, key players being four Large Nurse Sharks! The Night dive delighted us with lots of squid, right under the boat, small ones darting around not wanting their photo taken, a huge channel crab and of course an Octopus!
Friday. Saw us wake to a little less wind and fantastic visibility at Round Rock/Trinity Caves where we would spend our first 2 dives of the day. The swim thrus at Round Rock & Trinity are simply a must see, we weaved our way in and out of several cuts and caverns on this very sheer section of the west wall of Grand Cayman. Along the way we were entertained by camera friendly turtles and a shy but sizeable green moray eel, the current was only very slight and didn’t really affect the dive and even helped get very close to a large eagle ray that did a slow drive by. Chef Kingsley served up a mouthwatering Italian lunch as we made the short hop to the USS Kittiwake where we would spend the afternoon and twilight dive. After exploring the galley, taking a quick chamber ride, spinning the ships wheel, and taking some iconic Titanic shots on the bow of the Kittiwake divers explored the reef close by. Eagle rays and various turtles were showing off all throughout the afternoon and even a Loggerhead the size of our zodiac did a swim by on the dusk dive! After 5 exciting dives, guests happily tucked in to yet another delicious meal accompanied with wine- without the guilt of having to miss the night dive.
Saturday. A quick jaunt around the island during breakfast took us to Hammerhead Hill. A spectacular section of the North Wall of Grand Cayman. The wall dropping down vertically from 60ft into the endless blue. Canyons, ledges and outcroppings of wall dripping with colourful sponge life, reef fish and corals. A reasonable current made us work this morning, but gave us crystal clear visibility as we worked our way along the edge of the wall, keeping one eye out in the blue for our Fin Friends. Some great photos and a stash of Lionfish in hand, we drifted back to the mooring line in record time, love the free ride. After another dive on Hammerhead Hill we motored along the coast to Babylon. Along with the iconic pinnacle to corkscrew around off the wall, and the decorator crabs, the free swimming moray, we had another Eagle Ray, feeding in the sand. Most of us got fantastic video and photos of this beautiful creature! Perfect. Pack up the deck, it’s happy hour and time to head over to Little Cayman.
Sunday. Waking up in Little Cayman the guests had a beautiful splash into Randy’s Gazebo. Graced with Turtles, a large Green Moray Eel, our Nassau Groupers and several Lobsters, as well as a lot of schooling fish; blue chromos, and yellow tailed snappers. With two different chimney swim throughs to go through, shooting you out onto bloody bay wall. It was a great way to start the day. After a scrumptious lunch the boat was moved over to another dive site named The Meadows, home to our resident Caribbean Reef Sharks, Fric, Frac, and Fro. Fro, a curious male, did numerous ‘swim bys’ to check out our guests. Cosmo and his buddies also took their time to hang with the divers, hunting along the wall. Several swim throughs taking us right under the main wall to emerge at 80-90feet in the blue. In the shallows lots of stingrays feeding, hog fish and jacks hunting, horse eye jacks swirling under the boat with the ever watchful barracuda stalking us all. A sunset dinner cruise heading over to Cayman Brac, we arrived in time for a night dive on the Keith Tibbetts, a Russian destroyer sunk here 20 years ago this month! With a lot of creepy crawlies, 2 octopuses, slipper lobsters, squid, Cowries, giant crabs an Eel and Oscar the huge Goliath Grouper making an appearance - it was well worth the night dive! So ends another wonderful day of exploring , with hot chocolate, hot towels and the hot tub!
Monday. Good morning all, and we are ready for another action packed day. Kicking off by exploring the Keith Tibbetts by day. From the Bow, inside Havana Alley, the Engine Room, the Yellow Room, Wheel House and a restock of the Geo Cash Box with some very special John Deere goodies, thanks to Mike. It was super fun to see where we had been diving the night before. Regine, Benny and Capt Kiwi were rewarded with being the last few in the water with an Eagle Ray making a couple of fly bys, and a large Hawkesbill Turtle just cruising about… at the same time! Awesome. Lunch on the sundeck as we motored back to Little Cayman. The Mixing Bowl/3 Fathom Wall was our home for the rest of the day. A very special site where Bloody Bay Wall stops and the Jackson Bight begins. Bob spied a Reef Shark out off the wall, Dana was caught speed swimming chasing an Eagle Ray, on the relaxed side of the reef we had Stingrays in the sand, Mantis Shrimp, Yellow Headed Jaw Fish, Lemon Rays and it seemed there were Slender File Fish everywhere! The night dive delivered all the usual sightings with Octopus, Crabs, Lobster and more squid!
Tuesday. A bright ball of sunshine rose over Little Cayman as we made the short hop to Joys Joy for our first couple of dives of the day. Joys Joy has a deeper start to drop off but is cavernous and immense with its large coral adorned out croppings. We had yet another camera friendly turtle and visibility in the 80 to 90 foot range. Kingsley amazed with yet another sumptuous lunch as we cruised to the relative calm seas of Jackson bite and the dive site known as Bus Stop. The swim thrus here are as numerous as they are atmospheric and falling down thru them out over the deep rich blue is what makes Bloody Bay such a draw. We had sharks, eagle rays and more turtles with delightfully playful yellow headed jaw fish to finish off the dive. For our final stop on Bloody bay before we made way for Grand Cayman was the Great Wall and as always it was a great way to say good bye Little Cayman and the resident Grouper known as Freddie was in attendance to wave us off.
Wednesday. Waking up on the West, South corner of Grand Cayman we were graced with calm seas, and beautiful visibility at the dive site named Eagle Ray Rock, much like its name sake there is a large section of coral with a crack splitting it in two, making a swim through between the canyon like structure. Seeing a lot of schooling fish, as well as a green moray eel, southern sting rays and the amazing soft corals it was a great way of starting the day. During lunch we moved over to another dive site named Lost Treasure. A short swim along the reef and you are able to find an anchor which was from a Spanish Ship, carbon dated to the 1600’s, wedged into the reef with corals growing up and along it. Somewhat hard to find unless you know where to look, the one distinguishing part of it is the arm, which is straight and bare. The guests ended up seeing some different species of moray eels, a turtle as well as a resident nurse shark. Staying for a night dive, more lobsters, crabs, and the feeding the coral, another eight legged friend was hunting about. All divers back on board, for Hot Towels, Chocolate and Baileys and discussions on the critters we discovered. A wonderful way to end the day.
Thursday. Time for a good breakfast before a busy day of Diving Grand Cayman. Back on the North side for the morning dives on Rum Point. A knarly jagged wall, caynons dropping out into the blue. Incredible formations and clear blue water, you just to hang off the wall and gaze towards the sky. Lobsters marching around, a turtle feeding, a nurse shark laying in the sand who Dana got great video of, a few Lion Fish and yes Another Eagle Ray! This week has been the Eagle Ray week! Next Stop Sting Ray City! Perfect conditions today. Everyone jumped in for fun in the sand with these beautiful creatures. Lots of rays today, swirling and gliding about us. Debbie got a super hicky!! We may need to ice that one! Another move and Bonnies Arch our next location. A stunning example of mother nature’s artistic hand, a large yet delicate arch encrusted in a rainbow of colour, angel fish flitting around, chromis and wrasse, a large green moray eel peeking out of his hole and Mike was seen having conniptions underwater when Mel showed his a Finger Print Cyphoma! Awesome. With a squall coming in we switched sites for the dusk dive, under the cover of rain and distant thunder we dived Jaxx Daxx. It ended up almost being a night dive as the Twilight was almost non existant with the cloud cover, so we saw Lobsters, Crabs and the nocturnal critters stirring. Regine found a tiny octopus stretching out and feeding in the sand! Turkey Dinner, lots of wine and Ice Cream for some.. Video and Slide show before hitting the hay after this epic day.
Friday. Dawn Dive!! On Jaxx Daxx, the reverse of last nights dive, the perfect way to start the day, waking up in the water with the fishes! Coming back on board for breakie of eggs, waffles and sausage! One more move for the week, to Devil’s Grotto. A favourite place and one of the sites in Cayman that really put us on the map when diving first took off. A maze of corals, tunnels and overhangs, full of Tarpon and pockets of silversides. For the adventurous you can spend the entire dive tunneling under the reef, some dark and small, some open and light carverns. For the not so adventurous there is plenty to see on top. Alas, all good things come to an end and ten days is drawing to a close. It is time to wash down the gear and the boat, have a few cocktails and enjoy the last night on the Cayman Aggressor. Thank you to all for a fun and safe ten days of diving the Cayman Islands. Congratulations to Elliot on doing his Nitrox Course, also to Bennie and Regine for logging their 800th Dive, Norm and Gwen for their 200th Dives!!! We have ten Iron Divers this week as well, logging 41 dives this trip! Debbie and Bob have done 82 Dives in the last two charters! Now that’s dedication! Outstanding.
Thanks again and we will see you all again next time on board the Cayman Aggressor IV.
Capt and Crew of the Cayman Aggressor IV