Charter 12-19 March 2016
Water temp 79F/27C Air Temp 84F/30C
Wetsuit Req 3mm shortie or skin
Saturday. A warm breezy day in Grand Cayman welcomed our divers. 18 Guests this week, and everyone was already on the island. 3pm most folks were boarding, dive gear assembled, cameras prepped, the Beer and Wine cooler discovered early on. A quick trip to the bottle store and we were off, heading out into the bay. Briefing on the way and Dinner on top of the Kittiwake – where the games being tomorrow. A boisterous group already, most are family or friends/dive buddies, majority from Ohio and one from Vancouver! Drinks and stories were flowing into the evening, we even got a green flash sunset! Must be a good omen for a great week on board the Cayman Aggressor IV.
Sunday. Well, an interesting start to the day. People’s ‘Smart phones’ very cleverly changed their own time.. (daylight savings in the US). So morning alarms went off, unsuspecting guests and crew got up, setting up for breakfast, having coffee, prepping cameras.. unusually dark for 6am! It was really 5am!!! Haha. Oh well, more coffee! Plently of time for brekkie and a thorough briefing before diving on the wreck of the Kittiwake. A former USA navy submarine support vessel, intentionally sunk 5 years ago to make another awesome wreck dive in the Cayman Islands. Hunting for the plaque, checking out the recompression chambers, exploring the wreck. A great dive to start the week. Stingray City is next on the menu, the most fun 12ft dive ever! Clear Water, a dozen Southern Sting Rays and a few hickys to take home. Babylon on the North Wall was our final stop today. A pinnacle sitting off the wall to corkscrew our way around. Winding our way through a screen of black corals. A large green moray eel was cruising the top of the reef, not at all shy. Also a large turtle making his way along the wall came right up to Corey and Bill. Rivers of Creole Wrasse stretching on forever along with loads of file fish! A text book first day of Cayman diving.
Monday. After cruising through the night, we finally arrived at Little Cayman in the wee hours of Monday Morning. Randy’s Gazebo was the first dive of the week. Natural chimneys inviting you inside, to drift down and out on the wall at 100ft. A Nassau grouper inspecting us all as we made our way towards the Gazebo. Giant sponges, Lobsters and Huge Channel Crabs delighted photographers. The top of the wall in only 35ft bathed in sunlight and colour, lettuce leaf sea slugs abound and reef life in full swing. The Meadows and Shark encounters were the topic of the afternoon. Exploring natural caverns under the reef, reef sharks escorting us, Nassau Groupers being cleaned and not caring about cameras almost in their mouths. First night dive of the week and Blood Worm madness!!, slipper lobsters, crabs, shrimp, baby squid and sleeping turtles to be topped off with hot towels and a hot chocolate with rum mmm mmm.
Tuesday. After a solid nights sleep, we awoke refreshed and ready to dive Lea Lea’s Lookout. An island of coral just off the wall, sponges and tasty morsels turtles love to eat. Lucy the Grouper interacting with all divers, The Great Room, spectacular as always with a Nurse Shark resting right in the middle of this canyon! Tammy had a wonderful experience with a young turtle, right at the back of the boat. Delicious Crab Cakes, Chipotle Aioli, Salad, Dessert and a siesta to prepare for the afternoon on 3 Fathom Wall! Yellow Headed Jaw Fish with Eggs! Turtles, Green and Spotted Eels, Schools of Snapper, Grunts and Chubbs all combine to make this an amazing dive. Not to mention the topography, swimthrus, sponges… and the Super Friendly Grouper. A Dinner cruise to Cayman Brac and a night dive on the Wreck of the Russian Frigate. Three Octopus! Giant Channel Crabs, a Slipper Lobster and Sweetlips - the Goliath Grouper! Steve thought the Grouper looked sinister! Welcome back to the wreck Chris!
Wednesday. We spent the morning diving and exploring the Wreck from the night before. Amazed at where we were last night. But by day we can penetrate this wreck, carefully going through both sections of the hull. A large turtle made an appearance, great viz led to fun shots with the guns and the ever beautiful spongelife. Back on Little Cayman, an ugly swell sent us to the south side for a couple of dives. Black Hole, 50 feet to the top of the reef, a great assortment of corals and sea fans even some pillar coral, a friendly ray in the sand and a few lionfish. The afternoon was spent winding in and out of the channels that remind our divers of their last trip to Cozumel. Burgers in Paradise and plenty of time to soak up the sun before a late afternoon dive and a dusk dive at Bus Stop. The best part of the dusk dive is the fish behavior, fighting and frolicking, lots of boys chasing girls and here at Bus Stop there are lots of channels and swim throughs, even a ‘Cathedral’ which transformed into a haunted house as the sun went down! A few Vinos and Cocktails and ‘Dork of the Day’ presentations!
Thursday : Wake up calls at 5:45am! Yes a Dawn Dive. Most folks chose to sleep in but Chris and Corey were ready and waiting. A great dive on Nancy’s Cup of Tea, also Chris’s 800th Dive. The best way to wake up in the Cayman Islands, underwater with the Sharks, Black Corals, a large turtle and reef life slowly waking up. Before you know it you are surrounded by fish and you have no idea where they came from. A treasure hunt for old Anchors masquerading as coral formations. Our final stop on Little Cayman –Great Wall. Bloody Bay Wall at its best. The steepest and sheerest wall you will dive. Covered in an array of sponge life, black corals, scrawled file fish everywhere, a yellow coney was spotted, as was a free swimming moray eel, a large hawksbill turtle rising up for air, another on the surface, and of course Freddy the King Pin Grouper meeting and greeting all divers under the boat. Two perfect dives, watch out for the Minon! with a last lingering look over the wall, we all reluctantly made it back on board, stowed gear away and headed back to Grand Cayman.
Nooooo! Friday already. As always, Friday comes far too quickly. But we still have two dives. First dive of the day is on Big Tunnel’s. A crew favourite. Deep archways and tunnels, all directly under the boat. Beautiful healthy sponge and coral life, a mecca for feeding turtles. Devil’s Grotto is an iconic Cayman Site. Where it all began. Shallow swim throughs, natural light filtering down illuminating schools of Tarpon. A great spot for nudibranchs and scorpion fish. An Eagle Ray was spotted and very excited divers returning to the boat… all talking about this being the best dive of the week! This was the perfect finish to a perfect week of diving in the Cayman Islands on board the Cayman Aggressor IV. Thanks to everyone on board this week for a tremendous week of fun above and below the water! Congratulations to Michelle and Bill for clocking their 100th Dive. Also to Corey for logging his 800th dive! It has been a super fun and safe week. We loved meeting you all. Till next time…
Safe Travels and Diving from your Capt and Crew. Cayman Aggressor IV