Charter 5-12 March 2016
Air Temp 28C/82F, Water Temp 27C/81F
Saturday. A calm, peaceful day in the Cayman Islands and on board the Cayman Aggressor… until Trina and Sue turned up for this weeks charter! Ha ha they are back for another trip, great to see them. Great to see and meet all 18 of our guests from the US, Argentina, Canada and Italy. Off to a flying start everyone chatting away, getting to know one another. We enjoyed Kingsley’s great dinner, safety briefing then settled in for the night. Two latecomers were welcomed aboard when their flight finally landed, Everyone slipped off to bed in anticipation of the diving to follow..
Sunday: Wake up alarm this morning - the Engines cranking up to take us across the bay to the wreck of the Doc Poulson. A healthy breakfast and Marine Park briefing before an action packed day diving in the Cayman Islands. A 50ft sandy bottom along the edge of the wall is home to the Doc Poulson, a small Japanese tugboat with a long Cayman History. Everyone was in the water, exploring this soft coral encrusted little gem, looking for the resident Green Moray, stingrays hunting in the sand and a few divers dropped in the chute and checked out the wall. Today being the best weather in the forecast we zipped around to the North and experienced Stingray City. Perfect conditions and crystal clear water even Chef Kingsley jumped in! What ensued was the most fun 12ft dive ever! Large and small Southern Stingrays swirling and gliding amongst us. A great time was had by all! An opportunity to dive the incredible North Wall followed lunch with Hammerhead Hill! A breathtaking wall teeming with chromis and wrasse, snappers and jacks, a turtle meandering along, lobsters abound… this is a Magic Spot. With our weather starting to kick up we finished the day in the shelter of West Bay at Bonnies Arch - this dive had everything. An adult drum fish, ‘herds’ of cow fish and trunk fish, orange spotted and scrawled file fish, a large green moray sitting out in the open posing for photos, a turtle led us along the mini wall for 10minutes, around the arch and beyond. Being close to dusk there was non-stop fish action including a pair of Mating Soap Fish… yes they were actually doing something other than lazying around on the reef! What a day! Very happy divers settled in for a good night’s sleep, ready for another day.
Monday. A very special site this morning, Bullwinkle on the South Side of Grand Cayman. Unique topography for this side of the island. A Maze of large reef fingers reaching out for the wall with overhangs, tunnels, chimneys and Tarpon. A mob of 40 Tarpon hanging underneath the boat, rivers of creole wrasse running over the formations, healthy soft and hard corals from 15ft – 50ft with the namesake Elk Horn and Stag Horn Corals catching the sunlight. A fun dive was had by all. After a fabulous Mexican Monday Lunch it was destination Oro Verde for the afternoon and night dives. From Naval beginnings, to drug smuggling and mutiny, the Oro Verde finds herself in pieces nestled in the cove of a horseshoe shaped reef. Also known as the Aquarium. The highlight today had to be Fin the very friendly Nurse Shark who came around to see all divers, again and again- a very neat interaction. We also had Yellow Headed Jaw Fish with eggs – Rick patiently waited for ‘the shot’ with his Go Pro. A Mantis Shrimp, schools of Bermuda Chubbs and Jacks, large lobsters and a Nassau Grouper that followed us around the entire dive! Sue was spotted practicing her Dry Suit skills with Instructor Aubri! Great job, great day, great night dive and yes we had an octopus!
Tuesday. As a golden sunrise greeted us we headed for the north west tip of Grand Cayman and a fabulous dive site known as Big Tunnels. The topography of this site can only be described as “supercool”, large and small swim thru’s provide a warren like path on the edge of a coral adorned wall. Wide angle lenses were the order of the morning and just to tease us all the first creature we found was a delightful juvenile spotted drum. As we wove our way around the wall a friendly turtle presented itself for photos and then gracefully drifted off into the blue. For the afternoon we headed for the wreck of the USS Kittiwake, this decommissioned US Navy Submarine rescue vessel was purposely sunk back in 2011 and has been entertaining divers ever since. The visibility was in excess of 90ft and there were photo and video ops just about everywhere we looked. Swimming thru the inside of the wreck we were delighted to find the engine and superstructure crowded with silversides that gave the effect of the ship actually breathing. This night dive is always a big hit because it can be spent in part on the wreck and the rest on the nearby reef. A spotted moray eel hunting with a snapper, stingrays in the sand and midnight parrotfish on the wreck kept our happy group well enthralled. The day came to an end as it always does on the Cayman Aggressor IV………….hot towels, hot chocolate and a hot tub!! Congrats to Don on his 700th dive today!
Wednesday. Moving down to the SW corner of Grand Cayman, a beautiful site, Eagle Ray Rock. Dropping in on these Giant Bommie formations on the edge of the wall we kept our eyes peeled for the namesake Eagle Ray. Scott appeared to be on a mission to hunt these rays down! Working his way all across the sand in search of these animals.. of course he was unlucky but on his way back to the boat, too far away for his go pro he spotted a couple of small rays in the sand! The reef was busy with reef fish, cleaning stations, crabs, and an abundance of healthy soft corals. Burgers in Paradise for lunch then Angel Fish Reef for the afternoon and dusk dive. The reef is shaped like fingers, and each finger is a Gem, a hot spot for feeding turtles and the playground for a couple of very popular nurse sharks. Fin and Huckleberry as they are known in Cayman. These sharks are very inquisitive. Avoiding noisy scuba divers these two sharks come close, and keep coming by. Looking for a handout we think. A great afternoon was had here discovering drum fish, eels, lobsters, more stingrays, we were found by Fin. So everyone got some great close ups of him. Close to the end of the day we spot a spotted eagle ray in the sand, who proceeded to swoop around and right over the head of Andrea… he didn’t even know as he was focused on some Macro Photograhpy! What a great finish to the day.
Thursday. Divers awoke before the sun to get the day going with a pre-breakfast dive, the next best thing to coffee! The site was Round Rock and Trinity Caves- an exciting wall dive with many swim through tunnels and, as the names suggests- caves. The brave divers who made it out of bed at such an early hour were not disappointed as a green turtle greeted us upon our descent. We then navigated our way inside and out of Round Rock and up to Trinity Caves where a free swimming green moray eel weaved its way around our legs. We remained there for another two dives after breakfast where we saw a turtle and an angel fish sharing a meal, a nurse shark swimming up and down the channels, and more moray eels among other things. The next dive site- Jaxx Daxx. As today is potentially a six dive day, everyone decided to keep it shallow and hang out in the reef by the mooring and sand. Luckily they did as divers had another encounter with one of our friendly sharks, Fin, a feeding turtle, more lobsters, another drum fish and a mantis shrimp! After everyone came back it was time to eat again! The traditional Aggressor Thanksgiving dinner was served followed by a presentation of the trip video. But the day didn’t end there as our hardcore divers wanted to get one last night dive in on the Doc Poulson. The night was abuzz with life of all kinds including slipper lobsters, basket stars, and giant parrot fish. But it was time for our divers to head back to the boat and rest up for another busy day.
Friday. All too soon it is Friday once again! Due to popular request, we once again splashed in as the sun was barely rising. This time on Neptune’s Wall. A classic Cayman Wall dive, with a pinnacle type feature behind the boat, covered in black sea fans, bright Orange Elephant Ear Sponges and busy with Cromis and Wrasse. A great spot again for turtle sightings and as always we are in Eagle Ray territory. Two dives on this wall, before moving on the Devil’s Grotto. The final dive of the week. Shallow reef, a labyrinth of swim throughs, home to large Tarpon and schools of Chubbs and Jacks, moray eels, and more nurse sharks! A great super fun dive, lots of sunlight filtering down into the Grotto makes for fantastic photo and video opportunities. With all divers back on board, gear rinsed down and a cool beer with lunch, we made our way back to the dock. The afternoon free for shopping, internet and relaxing before our cocktail party and final dinner!. Thanks for everyone for a fun week of diving. It was a windy week, but everyone kept it safe. Well done Sue on doing her Dry Suit Training – somewhat unheard of here in the Cayman Islands! We hope to see you all again soon.
Till then, safe diving
Capt and Crew
Cayman Aggressor IV