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Capts Report Cayman Aggressor IV
Charter Oct 5th to 15th 2016 – 10 Day Charter.
Air Temp 86F, Water Temp 84F/30C
Exposure Protection Shorts and Rash Guard!
Capt Niall with Alan, Latoya, Rodel, Aubri and Ty
Divers: Karen & Jo, Jiabei & Meng, Jim, Doretta & Lyman, Leslie & Larry, Ray & Mike, Annie & Tim, Karen, Dale, and Pam & Dan.
Wednesday Oct 5th, Hurricane Matthew steered clear of the Cayman Islands as it headed north looking for trouble and all here in Cayman were happier for it. Our guests were on board by 4pm and after getting all the gear set up and the safety brief done Chef Alan served up a mouth watering ribs & chicken bbq dinner.
Thursday Oct 6th, We awoke to a delightful Cayman sunrise to east but dark heavy clouds to the west but not to worry after a brief shower of rain the skies cleared for what was a classically beautiful Cayman day. Our first 2 dives of the day were on the Shipreef Doc Poulson. This small tug boat was purposely sunk many years ago as a dive site and these days it is so covered in abundant coral life it is more aptly called a shipreef rather than shipwreck. An eagle ray was spotted by several of the gang on the first dive and we had a very camera friendly turtle on the 2nd dive. The Doc Poulson is only a short swim from the wall and there is a delightful swim thru that took us over the rich deep blue. Not a bad way to start our Cayman adventure. Next up was a similar theme, we head just a short ways east to the wreck of the Oro Verde for our afternoon and night dives. This old Cayman favourite rarely disappoints and although the westerly winds reduced the visibility somewhat it did not reduce the enjoyment of the dive. A large school of yellow tail snappers had the camera shutters snapping along with a very friendly grouper that followed us around and a large juvenile spotted drum and to cap the day off with found a friendly octopus on the night dive.
Friday Oct 7th Our day started with an early morning run to the northside of Grand Cayman to a site known as Hammrhead Hill and although there were no hammerheads in attendance we did have a very curious large green moray eel out free swimming on the wall top. The deep rich blue of the drop off was so very inviting and we cruised the blue on the look out for pelagics and before too long we were joined by a large green turtle. Next stop was world famous Sting Ray City and we were lucky to get there on a day when the water was as blue and clear as we have seen for a long while. Everyone got a sting ray encounter and Lyman even had a hickie to proof it. Chef Alan served up a delicious Italian lunch as we made our way to Babylon for a couple of afternoon dives. Babylon was enjoyed by all and set the stage nicely for our next stop which was Bloody Bay in Little Cayman.
Saturday Oct 8th We awoke to a splendid Little Cayman sunrise after a super smooth crossing from Grand Cayman the night before. Randys Gazebo was the chosen spot for our first 2 dives of the day and it was a stunning 2 dives indeed. The visibility was in excess of 100ft, the famous friendly grouper of Blood Bay truly lived up to their billing. While our happy guests enjoyed lunch we made the short hop to Meadows where we would do 2 afternoon and a night dive. We had sharks, turtles and eagle rays along with the ever present groupers and atmospheric swim thrus had everybody smiling and after a fantastic dinner of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding off we went on a night dive that produce lobster and channels crabs, sleeping turtles and groupers and to cap the dive a nurse shark got busy feeding and stayed around us for at least 10 minutes…….wot a day of divin’ !!!
Sunday Oct 9th Our day started with a short run to Leah Leahs lookout at the westerly end of Bloody Bay Wall. There was a little current but nothing to hinder our eager gang. The visibility was easily in the 100ft mark and a bright ball of sunshine rising in the sky added nicely to the morning. Leah Leahs has an immense swim thru/cavern that is always a big hit and today was no different. We entered at about 90ft and it snakes and turns and eventually came out at 30ft. We had a school of painted file fish and the background seemed speckled with blue chromis and just at the end of the dive we found a baby nurse shark nestled in the coral. An Indonesian style lunch was served up for lunch by Chef Alan as we headed toward Jackson bite for the afternoon and Bus Stop was our chosen spot. Not long after we hit the water we had a grey reef shark buzz close and was spotted again and again thru out the dive. A large hawksbill turtle was sighted burrowing its tail in the sand in a strange display of behavior. Up in the shallows we found yellowed headed jaw fish, sail fin blennys and a larger grouper laying in the sand with its face only inches from a green moray eel, neither one seemed upset with the other. A calm night allowed us to enter the water with ease for a fantastic display of night diving colour.
Monday Oct 10th The weather gods did not show us much favour today but seeing what our friends in the Bahamas and Cuba had to deal with from Hurricane Matthew so a little wind and a day diving on the south side of Little Cayman hardly was a day to thankful for. Black Hole was the site for us and we spent several dives exploring all the nooks and crannies. A Large eagle ray was spotted more than once a sit patrol the blue and a large lobster had camera shutters snapping up into shallows. The wall here starts at about 50ft and has several cuts and gullies back and into the drop off and the huge coral heads on the inside of the wall are covered in sea fans and sponges.
Tuesday Oct 11th After an uneventful journey back divers were delighted to be back in Grand Cayman and diving a full five dives. We began our day on the USS Kittiwake, a former submarine support vessel sunk just for divers. The wreck, although a fairly new one, was teaming with life pre usual. Large schools of creole wrasse and jacks circled the beams, midnight and rainbow parrot fish fed on the decks, silversides swarmed around the inside on the wreck, and even a moray eel found refuge in the depths of the ship. Chef Alan dished up a Caribbean style lunch as we made the short hop to Governors reef for the afternoon and night dives. The vis was in the 100ft range as we explored the coral covered fingers of reef and it wasn’t too long before we came up in an eagle ray that did a long slow drive by. We also had great fun being entertained by a friendly nurse shark that was joined by a moray eel. The night dive produced lobster and channel crab and several lemon rays.
Wednesday Oct 12th An early start saw us put the glass on 180 degrees and head for the south side of Grand Cayman and first stop was Bullwinkle. Elkhorn and stag horn coral seem to stand guard over Bullwinkle while we explored the swim thrus and caverns that cut in and out of the long and large fingers of coral. The resident tarpon were in attendance and posing for photos. The ocean was flat as ice while Chef Alan served up Cheese burgers in paradise and we headed further along the coast to Pedros castle. The topography at Pedros also offers swim thrus and caverns along with an almost ghostly drop off with large imposing pinnacles. We spotted some lionfish that seem to be aware of their poor reputation and scurried for covered as we approached. We again had some tarpon and a couple of small lobster. Our night dive offered up some more lobster and a large channel crab but star of the show was most certainly a large octopus out hunting and feeding.
Thursday 13th Oct With the weather gods showing us some favour we headed out to the East end of Grand Cayman for our last full day of diving. The east end is quite very rough but wind and waves obliged and we had clam seas and 5 fanatastc dives. We started at Tunnel of Love, a site which offers a very cool long winding swim thru that emerges at about 90ft out over the blue and after cruising the drop off we found another swim thru that took us back up on to the wall top while exploring some coral encrusted pinnacles along the way. We had lionfish and a green turtle and a large channel crab that was oblivious to divers feeding at the base of the mooring line. While Alan served up a curry lunch we made our way to Kellys Caverns for the afternoon and dusk dive. Kellys has so much to offer its hard to cover it in just one afternoon, the drop off has huge pinnacles that are both coral encrusted and immense and the cuts and gullies that lead to the wall are truly atmospheric. The swims thrus and caverns back on the reef are a delight to explore. The duck dive offered up both spiny and slipper lobster and yet another large channel crab and a blissfully sleeping turtle.
Friday Oct 14th Our final day started on the south west corner of Grand Cayman at a site known as Eagle Ray Rock. The site has large pinnacles that start at 45ft and sand gullies between the two that dip down to 80ft and slope out over the wall and away to 26000ft. We had a cool encounter with a couple of turtles and sighted several stingrays feeding on the ocean floor along with a large spiny lobster right by the mooring line. For our final dive of the day we finished on an old Cayman favourite Devils Grotto. The ocean was flat as ice with not a breath of wind was in the air and the sky was a rich blue on all points of the compass, nothin’ like finishing big. The grotto is a special place with the sunlight spilling in and dancing on the seabed. The resident tarpon we were in attendance and just at the end of the dive a delightful spotted drum seemed to be waving goodbye.
So end yet another fantastic 10 charter here on the Cayman Aggressor IV.
Until next week
Cayman Aggressor IV Crew