Log Date: Saturday, Feb 20, 2016
Entry By: Cayman Aggressor Crew
Charter Date-20th-27th Feb 2016
Air Temp 24C/79F Water Temp 27C/81F
Shortie or Full Length 3mm
Wind E 10-15 kts
Saturday: Welcome aboard to our 11 guests, a light load this charter and for some this was to be their first live aboard! Once everyone was settled in and set up their equipment it was time to sample some of the best BBQ on island prepared by our Chef Kinsley. Next it was time to introduce everyone and conduct our safety briefing. We could already tell this was going to be a fun charter.
Sunday: We awoke to a beautiful sunrise over Seven Mile Beach. Our first dive site of the week was the Ex-USS Kittiwake. This impressive wreck sunk in 2011 and is home now to some weird and wonderful creatures. For the second week in a row we found a decorator crab, covered with yellow sponge. This wreck has been described as an ocean going Tug. Used as a submarine rescue vessel. Resting in 60ft of water this makes a wonderful introduction to Cayman Style diving. An Eagle ray was spotted feeding in the sand and a Turtle feeding on the Reef. Schooling Jacks live on this wreck in large numbers. Next up was the wreck of the Oro Verde. This wreck was sunk in the late 80s and also makes a great artificial reef. The bicycles that are left here represent dive masters that had left the island and on their last day of work would ride the bikes all the way to the wreck, around 50 ft. It is true that there is more marine life here than any other site around. At night this site comes alive with Eels, lobster, crabs and a curious squid. After which it was time for some hot towels and hot chocolate.
Monday: Starting out engines at 6:30 we made our way over to local favorite called Round Rock, with this dive site we are fortunate enough to have a 2 for 1 dive site. With the mooring ball of Trinity Caves close in the area we were able to dive both sites for the 1 dive of the morning. This is a favorite for divers because of the different swim throughs and the level of depth. Round rock having been named after the round coral formation where it appeared to have a part of the wall cracked away making a small pillar, allowing divers to swim between the wall and pillar popping you out at roughly 76ft. Making our way along the wall we then came to visit Trinity Caves which having it named after the 3 swim through cave system we entered the main channel and made our way to shallower depths of 50 feet. During the dive we were visited by several different creatures, a turtle feeding with 2 grey angel fish feeding right inside round rock, a large green turtle off in the distance as well as the different schooling fish in the shallow depths such as the blue chromos, yellow tail snappers, and the tag along muttin snappers. After having one dive at this spot we started making our way around to the north side of the island to the world famous stingray city, resting in 13 feet of water, we jumped in after a snack. Having the guests form a circle as best as they could, the southern rays came diving in to play, smelling the squid they acted like big puppies, bumping into guests, looking for the food, and generally making a nuisance of themselves. With some amazing interaction and footage with these beautiful gentle creatures it was time to say goodbye to them and travel to the eastern corner of the north side of the island to the site named Babylon. This particular site is popular for its soft corals and a hanging garden effect with sea whips, sea fans and sea rods, beautiful greens, reds, and orange. With a specific section of the wall where a pillar stands approximately 10 feet away from the wall, having the soft corals growing in between. During this dive we ended up seeing several different lobsters, turtles, barracudas, as well as the normal schooling fish that we get in Grand Cayman such as the blue chromos, yellow tail snappers, school masters, and sergeant majors. After collecting the last of the divers, getting them a hot shower we pulled up the ladders and started our 8 hour crossing to Little Cayman where we arrived in calm seas on the north side of the island.
Tuesday: After a relative smooth ride from Grand Cayman, we awoke to a splendid Little Cayman sunrise. Randy’s Gazebo was the first site of the day. All our divers could say was, Wow! The reef here is so healthy, as we cruised along the wall a Red neck crab was spotted on a sea fan. As we swam through the Gazebo the light was so perfect. Our photographers were snapping some fantastic shots. As we got on top of the wall it was clear that this was going to be dive of the week. The corner of the site was so busy ,Bicolor Damsel fish, Brown chromis, Purple reef fish, Butter Hamlets and Tiger groupers we seen in abundance. The only fish that was not seen was our resident Nassau Groupers. Next up was Mixing Bowl/ 3 Fathom wall, this is where Bloody bay meets Jackson wall. A sand gully separated the two and here is where the most amount of schooling fish are seen, Schoolmasters, snappers, chubs and groupers in large numbers. There are three aspects to this site, the Wall, which is covered in growth, the reef which is theming with life and the sand rubble which is a hiding place for our resident Jaw fish several were seen with eggs and most photographers returned with amazing photos. After our dusk dive we moved to the Bus Stop to get ready for our early morning dive.
Wednesday: We splashed at 6 am into the darkness of Bus Stop. As we swam along we felt that this had the same feeling as a night dive. Reef fish were seen lying around the reef. An old Hawksbill Turtle was gliding across the sand, swimming effortlessly. As soon as we got to the wall a reef shark showed up and stayed with us for the entire dive, swimming in and around the group. Up in the shallows under the boat, several Sail Fin blennies were seen. Next up was Nancy’s cup of Tea. This is always a high light of our time here. A nurse shark was seen swimming along the reef, out on the wall a large turtle and among all the schooling Chromis and snappers. A reef shark appeared out the blue just for a few minutes. Next site was the Great wall of Bloody bay, Home to Freddy, the oldest grouper in Bloody bay. The wall here starts at 20 ft. and drops the entire way down to the abyss. The wall itself is very healthy, sponges, sea whips, sea fans and critters that live on the wall. The top of the reef is also very healthy and has several coral heads that have active cleaning stations, Fairy Basslet are here in abundance. With North winds in the post it was time to head on back to Grand to continue the adventure.
Thursday : After a smooth and uneventful crossing from Little Cayman back to Grand Cayman, we awoke to flat clam seas and a breathtaking sunrise as we ready ourselves for a couple of dives on the wreck of the Doc Poulson, although in truth the Doc Poulson has long ago evolved from “shipwreck” to the status of “ship reef”. The one time Japanese tug boat is now festoon with colorful corals and is home to abundant schooling fish. The highlights of the morning did seem to be an eagle ray burrowing in the sand along a camera friendly turtle. While our happy dive gang enjoyed a scrumptious stir fry lunch we moved a short distance to Angel fish reef. The fingers of coral at this site are tailor made for a lazy meandering type dive to see what we can find. Several lion fish were in attendance along with a small school of brightly colored file fish that did not seem to be bothered by our presence. Angel fish reef is home to a couple of nurse sharks that can be such fun to dive with and this dive proved just so, one swam curiously up to the group and circled around a couple of times and then another came along only a few seconds later and posed nicely for some photo and video.
Friday: With a northwesterly wind in play we headed for the south side of Grand Cayman and spent our morning. Pedro’s castle was the dive site of choice for the day. This a favorite of ours, with a sand slope heading out onto the wall, two large pinnacles covered in life, and up in the shallows several caverns and canyons to explore. On top of the reef there are areas of large stag horn coral. Well done to Connie and katy for completing 50 dives. To Jim, JJ, Kirk, John & Karen for doing every dive and getting the Iron diver certificate. Our students this week were Kirk, Katie & Karen completing the Nitrox course and Connie for completing the Naturalist course, and finally to all our guest and crew for making this charter safe and successful.
Safe travels and hope to see you again for another action packed week of eating, sleeping & diving!!
Cayman Aggressor IV crew.