Charter 07th-17th Oct 2015
Water Temp 30-31C/84-85F
Wednesday, as always 3 o’clock comes around so quickly and again we are ready for another 10 day charter aboard the Cayman Aggressor IV. Our guests are eager to get on and start the Aggressor experience. After getting their equipment set up and checking out the boat they are ready for a spectacular BBQ dinner served up by our Chef Kingsley. Happy 30th wedding anniversary to Peter and Laura!! Once everyone was onboard we introduced the crew and conducted our safety briefing. Many of our guests had been traveling most of the day so most call it an early night.
Thursday, we started up our engines at 6 am and slowly motored out toward Seven Mile Beach, the seas were flat and the winds were calm, everyone was ready for a dive. First up was the Doc Poulson, a perfect way to ease in the week, and let everyone check out their equipment and get a taste of Cayman Diving. The wreck looked nice as we descended onto it, lots of schooling fish and the growth on the side of the hull was impressive, hanging sea fans, sea whips and Orange Ball sponges. Off the wall, an inquisitive Mutton Snapper followed us for the entire dive. During lunch we cruised around the island to the world famous Stingray City. As always our stingray hickey contest left many with tiny hickeys but our winner was Judy!! The stingrays were in abundance with at least 12 rays accounted for, on the way back we had a critter hunt and found several Lettuce Leaf Slugs and even a Juvenile Gray Angelfish!! We started our engines and were off to Little Cayman.
Friday. As the guests woke up this morning they were met with the beautiful site of Randy’s Gazebo at Little Cayman. Divers quickly had their meals before diving into some awesome Bloody Bay Wall magic. Ten large Nassau Groupers met divers as they plunged in and came in for pats and tickles throughout the dive. A couple of lazy Hawksbill Turtles were taking their morning swim as they began to wake up for the day. Kingsley served up a beautiful pork piccata with a healthy black olive green salad and spaghetti Bolognese for lunch while the boat was moved on to ‘the Meadows’! After siesta everyone finally woke on the sundeck to splash in our backyard. Those that followed Mark went on a tour to spot a variety of pelagic life from Reef and Nurse sharks through to a Spotted Eagle Ray. Those that followed Clancy went on a macro field tour, spotting yellow headed jaw fish, a Rainbow Parrotfish, a school of juvenile Queen Triggerfish and a cluster of Flaming Scallops. Upon return, Kingsley had a feast of grilled herb encrusted salmon with a mango chili sauce and wild mushroom rice! Post night dive Teneichea was waiting with the world famous hot chocolate and Baileys!
Saturday. We moved the boat down to Lea Lea’s lookout during breakfast, I don’t think the guests even noticed so calm are the seas. First dive was led by Mark and about 6 guests opted for the tour, Clancy was teaching a course while the remaining divers took an unaccompanied tour of this fantastic dive site. Lobsters, crabs, a turtle and a tiny Spotted Drum were all seen along with the hundreds of Creole Wrasse who tend to live in the area. Much the same for the second dive except this time a good size Spotted Drum Fish was found, several trunk fish were also swimming around. On such a nice day it only makes sense to dine alfresco so our lunch time feast was served up on the sundeck area.
After a fantastic lunch, during which we moved the boat to Mixing Bowl, A.K.A. 3Fathom Wall the divers took the plunge. Members of the crew who remained on board saw a pod of Spinner Dolphins swimming about 200m from the boat, unfortunately not seen by the divers. However, they did see several Yellow Headed Jaw fish with the eggs in their mouths. As always this is a great place to find many schools of different fish including Bermuda Chub, Goat Fish and School Masters. After all the divers returned to the boat we made our way over to Cayman Brac where we get the opportunity to dive on the Russian Frigate for our night dive. Again, with such ideal conditions for the crossing we were able to enjoy tonight’s dinner of Citrus Salsa Roast Pork and all the trimmings out on the sundeck. Only four divers elected to do the night dive, maybe something to do with the relaxed atmosphere during the crossing – along with the wine per chance? Anyway, we had a good night dive and once again an Octopus was found strolling around the wreck. That puts an end to another great day of diving.
Sunday, A picture perfect sunrise over Cayman Brac, calm seas and world class shipwreck set the scene for a great morning. This wreck is famous around these parts and today with great visibility and no other dive operators it made for a very relaxed morning. As we descended onto the bow section we were amazed with the size of the guns and the growth, lots of Yellow sponges and Tube Sponges, off in the distance a Hawksbill Turtle was feeding casually on a sponge, Diving inside made this dive even better, kicking along the companionway known as Havana Alley. During lunch we made our way back to Little Cayman. Next up was Donna’s Delight, schooling Wrasse and friendly groupers, and at least a dozen Lettuce Leaf Slugs. Next up was Bus Stop, which delivered Sharks, Rays, Schooling Snapper and up in the Shallows Sail Fin Blenny’s and Jaw fish. At night this site comes alive with all the usual nocturnal creatures, we were happy to hear about the lobsters, crabs, Basket Stars, a sleeping Nurse Shark and of course our resident octopus!
As crustacean Monday started, divers brought back reports of Caribbean spiny lobsters, banded coral shrimp galore, a neck crab, and a few yellow lined arrow crabs. The usual suspects of Groupers, Parrotfish, Butterfly fish and Damsels were also around to say hello. Kinglsy turned the Latin heat up in the galley and served up a feast for his famed Mexican Monday with Tortillas, Fajitas, Enchiladas and a Baja papaya cilantro salad. The afternoon’s dives at Marylyn’s cut brought out a lemon ray, a couple of curious lobsters and a Hawksbill turtle. Groupers were also present looking for a friendly pat. During the night dive a whole host of macro life was present. A decorator crab jostling with a banded coral shrimp, a juvenile spotted moray, basket stars sprawled out, yellow lined arrow crabs, spiny lobsters, channel crabs just to name a few. Hit the bed early tonight folks, dawn dive first up tomorrow!
Tuesday, Now on Nancy’s Cup of Tea for the early morning dive and I mean early, with divers hitting the water at 6a.m. As expected our resident Sharks were around to meet and greet us as we cruised along the wall, circumnavigating around the panicle before heading into the shallows to check out the numerous anchors which are scattered around the place. The sharks were also around for our second dive at the more realistic time of 8a.m. Also seen were three juvenile spotted file fish which made for some good photographs. For the last dive of the morning we took the boat along to Great Wall, it’s easy to see why it is called such! We saw a couple of Lobsters fighting over their right to occupy a prime spot along the wall but the highlight of this site is all the healthy, magnificent sponges and soft corals growing there. Back on board it is lunch time where we get a simple but favorite lunch of “Cheese Burgers n Paradise”. For the afternoon dive a whole host of cool stuff was seen including – but not limited to, an Eagle Ray, plenty of Lobsters, a couple of turtles, the cutest Burr Fish I have ever seen just sitting around on a tube sponge waiting for his photo to be taken and last but not least a free swimming Green Moray. So a great final dive in Little Cayman and now it’s time to “button down the hatches” as we head back to Grand Cayman.
Wednesday: After a long rocking ride back to Grand Cayman the divers began the day with French toast for breakfast, made healthier with fruit and yogurt instead of syrup, maybe? We are in the middle of a squall so the lighting is not as good as when the sun is out. The first dive at Babylon was a beautiful wall with coral fingers and healthy, colorful formations. Though the sea life is more abundant above 40 feet, it’s not nearly as prolific as around Little Cayman. We aren’t at Bloody Bay wall anymore. However, this writer did see her first Moray Eel of the trip meandering free among the coral, and a turtle taking it easy in one of the sandy outcroppings. Laurie saw a red banded lobster and a swimming crinoid. Water temp is 82 degrees, down from 84 degrees on Bloody Bay Wall but still very pleasant. Italian was the theme of lunch, which was delicious, as always. It started off with an Italian Wedding soup, canned Wedding soup will never be the same again. Roasted vegetables and roasted chicken and blackened redfish along with Caesar salad prepared us for a fantastic chocolate mousse for desert. We were magically transported to Oro Verde, with its smashed and dispersed hull spread out into various new reefs. There is more than one way to ditch an old bicycle. Several of them were right under the boat waiting to be ridden off into the sunset…well maybe not. Several people leaped on the one with the seat for a photo opportunity. Our captain looked the best, like he had lots of practice. Non photographers have become spotters for photographer friends. We saw a nice turtle, which was not aggressively photographed, making it possible to watch him meander in the coral for food. A spotted ray, thinking he was invisible hunkered down and waited for us to pass. The rain moved off to another location allowing us to enjoy ourselves on the sundeck between dives .Fin, the nurse shark, made her appearance today, on the fourth dive. Stephanie and Kathy were watching tile fish when they felt something on their fins. Both looked over and there she was, at their feet, saying ‘hi’ before swimming off to talk to other folks. Everyone came back happy.
Thursday, Round Rock/Trinity Caves is what put Cayman Diving on the map, and today it lived up to its reputation, as we slowly meandered in around the Trinity of caves our divers were amazed how clear the water was and the life on top of the reef. Round Rock proved to be just as spectacular with so much fish life on top of the reef. Next up was The Kittiwake, sank in 2010, ex Submarine rescue vessel, and makes a wonderful artificial reef. The wreck was looking sharp, nice visibility and a large school of Horse eye Jacks, swimming in circles. Next up was our Dusk Dive at Jax Dax, a shallow reef dive, that comes alive at this time of day, after searching everywhere for our elusive Octopus, he was found under the boat, and feeding on any small fish he could catch.
Friday: Big Tunnels was up next, after cruising along all the canyons and crevices see spotted two Neck Crabs on the Pinnacle!! A large Hawksbill turtle feeding on a sponge with the help of two Angel Fish and a Queen Angel!!! Next up was Devil’s Grotto!! So much to explore here, lots of Tarpon and a beautiful swim thru with piercing light making it look spectacular!! Hiding in the Reef was a Scorpion Fish. What a Great Ten Days of diving!! Thanks to all our guests. Well done Judy & Byron for 100 dives, Peter & Laura for 700 dives and Richard for 1600 dives!!
From all of us here, have a Safe Journey Home
And hope to see you here again soon
Cayman Aggressor IV Capt and Crew