December 30, 2007 - January 1, 2008 - January 2, 2008 - January 3, 2008 - January 4, 2008
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December 31, 2007: Cayman Islands

A D2D New Years 2008: Cayman Islands dive
"M.V. Capt. Tibbetts (CB)" - "Three Fathom Wall (LC)" - "Thre Great Wall (LC)"
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Day two, with dives on both Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
Diving off of the Caymans:
  • Directions from Tampa: See your travel agent. All three islands offer great diving opportunities.
  • Conditions on the day of my visit: Sunny

  • Personal Notes: The MV Capt. Tibbetts was sunk to be an artificial reef. It's a very nice wreck, all things considered. It's been broken up around the middle by hurricanes; the stern of the boat is upright, the bow section is laying on it's port side.

    Camera locked up during the dive on Three Fathom Wall. Since switching to single shot mode, I haven't had the problem, but it took a while to diagnose. I think it has to do with the dual Ikelite strobe setup, and Canon's version of TTL. Too many shots too quickly and the camera gets hosed. This requires battery removal to fix, something that can't be done under water. Was in the middle of looking for Yellow Headed Jawfish with eggs in their mouths; unfortunately, I didn't get many shots before the camera locked up.

    We skipped the midnight dive, particularly as we were in the middle of a crossing at the time between Little Cayman and Grand Cayman, because of weather and the sites we wanted to hit before the weather got too bad ...

    Being off shore Grand Cayman during New Years though is pretty cool - lots of fireworks all over the island.

Pictures!

Well, the camera/strobe problem resulted in a lot fewer pictures than I would have wanted to take ... however, advice from my fellow shutterbug Jamie started me in the right direction for taking better shots - particularly macros. Thanks Jamie!
M.V. Capt. Tibbetts (CB)
Forward gun turret.

1/50-F4.0-ISO320 lens: 18-55mm
A field of Garden Eels. On later dives with the macro lens, I have a close up of the head of one of these.

1/60-F4.0-ISO320 lens: 18-55mm
A shot of the bow as it lays on its port side.

1/50-F4.0-ISO320 lens: 18-55mm
Some Tube Sponges growing on the forward turret.

1/50-F4.0-ISO320 lens: 18-55mm
A shot of the bridge. In retrospect I should have rotated this counter-clockwise before posting it, to be oriented with the land and not the boat. Oh well.

1/50-F4.0-ISO320 lens: 18-55mm
A section of the ship has been completely ripped up by hurricanes.

1/50-F4.0-ISO320 lens: 18-55mm
This Queen Triggerfish was quite shy and it took some chasing to get a decent shot of her, even from a distance.

1/50-F4.0-ISO320 lens: 18-55mm
Looking past the bottom of the bow section, past the destruction (that's the remains of a turbine between sections), towards the stern section, which sits upright.

1/50-F4.0-ISO320 lens: 18-55mm
Yellow Tube Sponges, growing on the forward section of the stern.

1/50-F4.0-ISO320 lens: 18-55mm
Facing aft, the guns of the aft turret.

1/50-F4.0-ISO320 lens: 18-55mm
Never surprised to see Barracuda on a wreck.

1/50-F4.0-ISO320 lens: 18-55mm
From the stern, facing forward at the aft turret.

1/50-F4.0-ISO320 lens: 18-55mm
A Coney in ambush position.

1/50-F4.0-ISO320 lens: 18-55mm
The radar tower that sits on the stern section of the wreck.

1/50-F4.0-ISO320 lens: 18-55mm
Not sure who that is, but they are drifting over the wrecked section of the wreck.

1/50-F4.0-ISO320 lens: 18-55mm
The remains of a turbine.

1/50-F4.0-ISO320 lens: 18-55mm
I think this is a Bowl Sponge of some sort.

1/50-F4.0-ISO320 lens: 18-55mm
Some more Tube Sponges.

1/50-F4.0-ISO320 lens: 18-55mm
Close-up of the radar equipment.

1/50-F4.0-ISO320 lens: 18-55mm
I was asked to get some shots of this tattered dive flag that is on the wreck. I probably should have tweaked my settings a bit to get a better shot.

1/50-F3.5-ISO200 lens: 18-55mm
1/50-F3.5-ISO200 lens: 18-55mm
Not sure what this is - can't find it in my ID books, but I don't have the coral book ...

1/50-F3.5-ISO200 lens: 18-55mm
Three Fathom Wall (LC)
Yellow Headed Jawfish.

1/50-F20-ISO320 lens: 100mm macro
You can barely make out some markings on his chin that might indicate that he's a boy. His head looks like he might have eggs in it.

1/50-F20-ISO320 lens: 100mm macro
Not a great shot focus-wise but the body position is nice. I just wish I was closer, it was in focus, and the strobes were putting more light on him ...

1/50-F20-ISO320 lens: 100mm macro
A little better focus ...

1/50-F20-ISO320 lens: 100mm macro
1/50-F20-ISO320 lens: 100mm macro
Here the chin markings are quite clear. This was the last decent shot I got before the camera locked up - the next 10 shots weren't in focus or the fish was mostly in his hole.

1/50-F20-ISO320 lens: 100mm macro
Thre Great Wall (LC)
A Sponge Brittle Star hiding in a Pink Vase Sponge.

1/50-F20-ISO320 lens: 100mm macro
A Squirrel Fish.

1/50-F22-ISO400 lens: 100mm macro
A Coney (Bicolor Phase).

1/50-F22-ISO200 lens: 100mm macro
A Saddled Blenny.

1/50-F22-ISO200 lens: 100mm macro
The strange features of a Yellow Tube Sponge.

1/50-F22-ISO200 lens: 100mm macro
A Nimble Spray Crab, I think. Was very shy and didn't want to have his picture taken, that's for sure.

1/50-F22-ISO200 lens: 100mm macro
A Lettuce Sea Slug.

1/50-F22-ISO400 lens: 100mm macro
1/50-F22-ISO400 lens: 100mm macro
A Saddled Blenny.

1/50-F22-ISO400 lens: 100mm macro
There was some temptation to edit the photo to black the background out more. I spent a long time with this subject, changing focus areas and settings.

1/50-F22-ISO400 lens: 100mm macro
1/50-F22-ISO400 lens: 100mm macro
1/50-F22-ISO400 lens: 100mm macro
One of the few eels I saw on this trip - a Spotted Moray.

1/50-F22-ISO400 lens: 100mm macro


Dive data for dives on this day:

Dive Site Name Max Depth Minutes Water Temp
380 M.V. Capt. Tibbetts (CB) 82 feet 46 min. 81 F
381 M.V. Capt. Tibbetts (CB) 76 feet 41 min. 81 F
382 Three Fathom Wall (LC) 47 feet 49 min. 81 F
383 Thre Great Wall (LC) 75 feet 70 min. 82 F
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