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cowgirldiver
02-05-2009, 13:18
5 1/2 days, three islands and 25 dives. Now after 5 days home, I finally feel like I'm off the boat.

All I can say is that I would do it again in a moment.

We got there late Saturday afternoon, hurriedly unpacked our stuff so they could take our suitcases back off and pushed off from shore. The captain threw a cocktail party so that we could meet all the crew and the other people on the boat. Our group had half the boat (18 diver capacity) so it made it a little easier to figure out who everyone was.

It is just like they say-eat, sleep and dive. You get up in the morning have breakfast, dive, have a snack, dive, have lunch (includes a 1hour siesta till 2p), dive, have a snack, dive, eat dinner and then a night dive.

The reefs are not in the best of shape but the fishlife (quantity and diversity) really made up for it. We dove wrecks, walls and reefs-usually a couple of each per dive.

We dove 3 wrecks-the Doc Polson, the Oro Verde and the Captain Keith Tibbetts. The Doc Polson was our checkout dive, the Oro Verde was my favorite dive on Grand Cayman (because the reef by it was awesome!!!) and the Tibbetts was just so very big!

This was my first time diving with my new camera and I think I took about 600 pictures!!! I'm definitely having to weed them out. It took till the second day before I remembered that I had telephoto (officially blonde!!) This was my second January trip diving with my good friend Ashley as my buddy-she's an great photog and I spent a lot of time learning from her (what's that she's looking at????) You really start learning where the different types of sealife hide and hang out.

I finally saw things for myself I'd only seen in others pictures like Petersen shrimp and my new quest is Flamingo tongues. There was one puffer that in my official fish story was as big as I was!!! And a slipper lobster which I'd never seen before...

After a couple of days on Grand Cayman, our captain finally gave in and took us despite some rough seas over to Little Cayman. It was an 8.5 hour trip. We ate supper as we started out-at one point my plate lifted straight off the table. The captain had warned us to take some Bonine, etc. I was fine (all those years as a roller coaster fiend have finally paid off) but many spent a very rough night (and some could not eat for days afterwards):smiley11:. The payoff was getting to dive Bloody Bay Wall which as walls go was spectacular!! So many things to see-so many nooks and crannies to peer into!!

Our new friend Sharon from Australia joined us at this point and we were officially the girls club. We were well know for being the last into the water everytime. That was because we were too busy laughing and joking.

Thurs morning we took the relatively short ride over to Cayman Brac for the Tibbetts and then back to Little Cayman for the rest of the day. At The Great Wall we got our chance to meet Freddy the Grouper. Ashley thought he was in love with me and didn't want to talk to her but I finally talked him in to it. Now when I look at the pictures of them together it looks like he is saying "Wait a minute, that's not Janet!!!"
The night dives were great-it was always easy to see where the boat was-the number of humongous crabs was incredible!!! One night several of us also had a shark chase with one that came up from the depths. No night pictures for me-I don't have a strobe yet but I make an excellent assistant as flashlight shiner!!!

Finally it was time to go back to Grand Cayman-to shorten the night crossing, we hit one of the northern sites (Babylon) on Friday morning. It had a pretty cool pinnacle. I was dizzy by the time we got to the top. Our last dive was at Hammerhead Hill (which we think needs to be renamed-no one saw any hammerheads!!). The last hardy crew of 8 went in for this and something about this dive had everyone turned around in terms of navigation. Luckily for us one buddy group took the bullet and went up to sight the boat. We just followed them in.

For the most part, there was little or no current. On one dive at the northern point of the west side of Grand Cayman (Bonnie's Arch), I got caught in a pretty big current with not much air and yes, I had to be picked up by the dinghy of shame. Needless to say, I was much more careful the rest of the week. There was a chain to hang from on one side of the boat to do your safety stop and if someone was hanging on it with me, they were going to get their picture taken!!!! (See the attached picture of one of the divers who got a little irritated with me....)

As for the boat and crew....the rooms were small but not any smaller than I expected. The top bunk was a little hard to get into due to the closeness of it to the ceiling. But each room had it's own shower/bathroom and there was a shared closet and underbed drawer. Each room also had a small TV/DVD player combo. On the dive deck, each person had their own locker to put gear in, hangers for your wetsuit,etc. and once you set your BC up on your tank at the beginning of the week, it never came off as they just refilled right there at your station. There were hot showers at the entry/exit point (actually hotter than in the rooms) and warm fluffy towels to dry off with. After diving you could go up on the sun deck and spend your SI on one of the chairs there or in the hot tub. There were always liquids available. The crew was wonderful. The captain gave a short briefing when we moved to a new dive site to let us know what to look for and how the boat was situated in terms of the geography. Our beds were made and rooms cleaned each day (as long as you remembered to leave your door open). Little chocolates were left on our fresh towels. All of the crew got to dive at one time or another and there were always at least 2 in the water with us, sometimes to take pictures or the video for the DVD they sold at the end of the week. None of us could say enough about the gourmet quality of Savio the chef. The food was delicious and the presentation of the evening meals was something else!!

Now I'm home and trying to figure out how to take my son on a liveaboard!!

chinacat46
02-05-2009, 14:31
Thanks for the trip report and glad you made it over to Little Cayman. Bloody Bay Wall is probably my personal favorite place to dive in the Caribbean. That being said I'd rather dive in the Pacific. Did you see any eagle rays?

CamaroChick
02-05-2009, 15:39
thanks for the info on Little Cayman - I'm excited to see it for myself in a few months. Love the grouper pic - he looks very friendly!

cowgirldiver
02-05-2009, 16:07
Unfortunately, no eagle rays, no hammerheads, actually only some nurse sharks. My buddy Ashley (who loves sharks) found a nurse shark under a ledge and was trying to go lay down by it so I could take her picture. I just shake my head and wait for the silt to clear.....unfortunately it swam away before she could get all the way under. I guess if we saw everything every time, it would become common and not as exciting when we do see it!!!

dallasdivergirl
02-05-2009, 17:29
you should have told the captain that you live where I went to college. he stole an ous orange hat from me!

the boat should be in FL tomorrow.

I need to dive bloody bay wall. I am very jealous.

emt
02-05-2009, 17:29
Nice review, thanks.
Years ago since I was in cayman, and I still remember how strong the salt content of the gulf was vs. diving in florida. Did any get in your eyes and did you think the same?

scubasamurai
02-05-2009, 18:22
did the belize aggressor and now, in may the same group is doing the cayman, great report and we were also warned about the crossing could be rough!!!

CompuDude
02-05-2009, 18:31
Nice! I hope I can get there someday.

What were the water temps like?

fisheater
02-05-2009, 20:30
Hey!

I was chasing you around Cayman Brac and Little Cayman on Thursday, aboard the Coral Sister.

Really. When we got to the Tibbets, your boat was already tied up to the stern buoy (preferred because it's shallower), so we tied up to the bow buoy. While I was diving amidships, your boat powered up and took off.

Then, we dove close to you on the Bloody Bay Wall. Finally, you guys took the hint and hightailed it for Grand Cayman. :-)

I was staying on Little Cayman at the L.C. Beach Resort and got in 17 dives during the week. All were wonderful.

Compudude: The temps were 75 to 78 by my computer and the seas were, at times, rough by their standards. By California standards, it was AWESOME!

Highlight: On the last day, my buddy and I were taking pictures of reef creatures on the miniwall at the Mixing Bowl in about 30' of water, when an 8-10' hammerhead swam over from the shallows, checked us out and swam over us into the deep blue. Well, it was other folks' highlight, because they saw and my buddy and I never looked up and saw nothing. We didn't even hear the music. Drat!!!!

cowgirldiver
02-06-2009, 09:28
Fisheater-couldn't you guys find your own place to dive instead of just following us around to all the good spots?lol I did see your boat at the Tibbets-we were up on the sundeck drying off and getting ready for the ride back to LC. I especially liked the guy who did a little twirl as he got in the water. Looked like there might have been a class or something on the boat as well?? Did you guys see the giant grouper under the bow?

My computer typically gave 79-80 as the water temp. And since I've never dove in Florida (well I guess I snorkeled there one time) I can't do a comparison on the salt content-I usually don't take my mask off till I get on the boat so....

During one of the night dives, we were working our way along a wall with of course hundreds of feet of deep beneath our feet. I decided that freaked me out a little so occasionally I'd shine my flashlight down there. It paid off as that's how we saw the shark-it was not too far below us-glad it was just a nurse shark and not some big guy flashing his teeth.

cowgirldiver
02-06-2009, 09:34
Dallas:

Was it Captain Jon that stole the hat from you-I know he said he has only been the captain for a couple of years....he took a liking to my roommate Ashley and let her drive the boat for a while on the way back to GC.

Yes, we were the last group on the boat till they do 6 weeks of dry dock and repairs. There were a few times you passed by the engineer when he was on the phone and wondered if there was something really serious going on with the boat. I got the idea they were just trying to make it through the week....I asked if the crew got vacation while the repairs were being done and the Captain said that they have lots of work to do (painting, etc).

dallasdivergirl
02-06-2009, 09:38
Dallas:

Was it Captain Jon that stole the hat from you-I know he said he has only been the captain for a couple of years....he took a liking to my roommate Ashley and let her drive the boat for a while on the way back to GC.

Yes, we were the last group on the boat till they do 6 weeks of dry dock and repairs. There were a few times you passed by the engineer when he was on the phone and wondered if there was something really serious going on with the boat. I got the idea they were just trying to make it through the week....I asked if the crew got vacation while the repairs were being done and the Captain said that they have lots of work to do (painting, etc).

Jon is my buddy. I met him while he was working in Roatan at Las Rocas in 2006. He's been on the boat for two years. I know the have tons to do over the next 6 weeks. They have been pretty busy for a while. I don't think he's been of the boat for 6 months!

mrm777
02-06-2009, 15:42
Great report...we're looking foward to the pics.
The Cayman itinerary is the next liveaboard we'd like to do.

Lulubelle
02-07-2009, 18:20
Great report, thanks! I got the bug on mine too.

Does anyone know if it is reasonable to dive bloody bay wall and some of the other good sites from a land base on Grand Cayman? I don't know how far the best sites are from the different islands.

I am already noodling on my next winter's dive trip and was thinking the Caymans, but I kind of want to stay on Grand Cayman unless that will put me out of shot of the better dive spots.

I have Marriott points coming out of my ears and there is a Ritz on Grand Cayman. Heh, heh. But if that isn't going to work, your liveaboard op looks great Cowgirl.

keyshunter
02-08-2009, 09:44
Bloody Bay is across 80 miles of open ocean from Grand Cayman. There are, however, many very good dive sites which are very close to Grand Cayman.

Lulubelle
02-08-2009, 09:47
Bloody Bay is across 80 miles of open ocean from Grand Cayman. There are, however, many very good dive sites which are very close to Grand Cayman.

Thanks. Maybe the thing to do is plan for a combo vacation, a few days at the hotel, then maybe a short liveaboard that will go to BB wall? Or vice versa. I'm assuming that the liveaboards generally do depart from Grand Cayman?

chinacat46
02-08-2009, 10:06
If you stay on GC you won't be able to dive BB wall. There are plenty of sites to dive around GC and you could bop over to Little Cayman and dive BB wall for a few days.(land based) The liveaboards are a week each don't believe there is any "short" liveaboards but I could be wrong.