Log Date: Saturday, Dec 19, 2015
Entry By: Cayman Aggressor Crew
Charter 19-26 December 2015
Water temp 82f+
Air Temp 80s
Wind E/ SE , 20-25
Wetsuit : 3mm+ Wetsuit
Saturday: The Cayman Aggressor IV, and her Crew are ready to welcome our divers for a fun filled experience of Eating, Sleeping & Diving. We have a regular return of familiar faces and a mix of nationalities including, Germany, Belgium, Canada & USA. After crew introductions and our safety briefing most guests were ready to get a good night sleep, while other guests were still making connections with their flights, in the end everyone arrived safe and sound.
Sunday: We started our engines at 6:00 and made our way toward the south side of Grand Cayman, to a site known as Bullwinkle; this area is known for its stag horn coral, and for the Tarpon that live here, a sleeping Nurse shark under a coral head made a fantastic photo op, in the sand several Jaw Fish were seen as well as our resident Sail fin blenny’s. It was a fine way to open our week of diving and to check out weight and equipment. Next up was Pedro’s Castle, a secret site that is nestled in the south of the island. This site has it all, coral fingers that stretch out to a pinnacle on the wall, in the shallows, there are several canyons and crevices for divers to enjoy, lion fish live here in abundance. This site comes alive at night, with several lobsters, channel crabs and a reef octopus delighting our divers. All in all a great day of diving in the south coast of Grand Cayman.
Monday: We awoke on day 2 moored over the Doc Poulson on the Westside of Grand Cayman, this 80ft old Japanese tug boat sits on sand bed of 50ft with large coral heads to the east and the wall to the west so our divers were spoilt for choice in how to approach the dive. She has been sitting in this spot since 1984 and is truly coral encrusted earning her the title of “shipreef” rather than shipwreck. The dives did not disappoint, descending down on the sand we saw a southern stingray with a jack on its back and not too far away we were delighted by an eagle ray busy with its nose in the sand hunting for breakfast, we got close enough for photo and video and when she moved off she did it by swimming gracefully over the Doc Poulson so just about everyone got to see her, for the afternoon and night dive we headed the aged old Cayman favorite, the wreck of the Oro Verde. We split the dives between the all and the wreck and on both dives we were rewarded with diver friendly nurse sharks that spent several minutes curiously checking out our divers. Lionfish, parrotfish and sleeping groupers were the highlight of the night dive to round off what was truly a “Wreck” of a day.
Tuesday: We started our engines early and voyaged around to the North side of Grand Cayman, Hammerhead Hill was the first site of the day. This site has a sheer wall that starts at 60 ft and goes all the way to the abyss. The wall is also decorated with Sea Fans, whips and sponges. A friendly Hawksbill Turtle swam towards us and glided by so everyone could get a photo. Just under the yacht we spotted another turtle feeding on a sponge. During lunch we cruised down to old man bay to the most talked about site in Grand Cayman: Babylon, this site is an absolute joy. The pinnacle starts at 90 ft and is covered in life, it gets the name from the hanging gardens of Babylon, because there is so much black coral here.
Wednesday: We started our engines at 6:30am, and made our way North to a dive site by the name of Big Tunnels. This particular site at the top of the reef is about 60ft, and has some more sheer cliffs downwards dropping off into the abyss. With many beautiful swim thru’s with sea whips and sea rods hanging down from the top of the coral. During the dive we saw a fully grown male Hawksbill Turtle, a juvenile Spotted Drum, as well as a 3ft Nurse Shark. Before the second dive we moved our vessel a little ways down south to another dive site called Neptune’s Wall. With the sand sitting at 50 to 55 feet and part of the wall sloping off to the 100 foot mark, the fingers of coral extending out into the sand caused a great environment for the Southern Stingray as well as the free swimming Eagle Rays to cruise by while on their way for breakfast. Next up was Ex-USS Kittiwake, a 251 foot submarine rescue vessel that was sunk in Grand Cayman in January 2011. A beautiful wreck with plenty to see down there, some examples as to what we saw today were: Goliath groupers, Southern Rays, Eagle Rays, as well as the smaller schooling fish, like Blue Chromos, Bermuda Chubs and Yellow Tail Snappers. On the Second dive we went over to the reef and explored what is known as Big Sand Chute, with sand fingers heading off the wall in between the mountain coral formation, giving the impression you’re on a ski slope. And as for our third dive, the dusk dive saw a lot of amazing things, from Green Moral Eels, to Giant Channel Crabs. The dive was an absolute beautiful mix between day and night creatures allowing the day to end with a feeling of fulfillment.
Thursday: The day started with 5.45am wake-up calls for the early bird divers keen to enter the water before dawn at Jax Dax. As the group descended into the blackness at 6.00am, the first torchlights picked out a nurse shark continuing to slumber in the white sand, before accompanying us throughout the dive whilst we spotted turtles and lionfish amongst the corals and sponges, as the day shift began on the reef. After breakfast we moved to Trinity Caves, a labyrinth of swim throughs where we spotted lobster and crab hiding on dark ledges, with the light of the sun penetrating the secret passageways, lighting up the golden sand below. Overhead the coral formations were home to schools of reef fish (INSERT species!) and turtles feeding. Returning to the boat we found large barracuda waiting for us, keeping us company during our safety stop. Our fourth and fifth dives of the day, at Angelfish reef found us exploring the finger reefs and sandy shallows between, frequently accompanied by two nurse sharks seeking attention from the divers. Rays and turtles were also enjoying the warm waters at 13m (??? Ft), with brittle stars to be found inside the colorful sponge vases, and flamingo tongue snails nestled within the branches of the fire coral. When we returned to the boat, greeted by the tempting aromas of our Christmas Eve feast being prepared, we found that Santa had already visited. And so the party began…Chef Kingsley prepared a feast; Roast Duck, Stuffed Lamb, twice baked potatoes and for desert Cherry Pie or Crème Brulee. After dinner it was time for a movie and for some good night’s sleep!!
Friday: Merry Christmas to one and all, Our first dive site to kick off the celebrations was Eagle Ray Rock, located to the south west corner of Grand Cayman, this site has it all, a sloping sand chute and a swim thru that is simply breathtaking. An Eagle was spotted in the sand, the visibility was below average yet our divers returned with tales of fan and adventure!! Next up was our old favorite; Devil’s Grotto, this is a fantastic site with caverns and crevices to explore, Tarpon live in in abundance, it is such a shallow site but truly has it all. Our divers returned merely happy to be diving on Christmas Day. To all our guests that joined us this week we are so happy that you had a great experience and that you choose to trust the Cayman Aggressor with your Christmas.
From all the Crew here in Cayman, Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year. Safe travels and See you on your next Aggressor Fleet Vacation.
Cayman Aggressor IV Crew