1999 - 2000 - 2001 - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006 - New Years in Australia 2007 - April 28, 2007 - May 12, 2007 - Suzuki's 1000th - September 22, 2007 - November 18, 2007 - 2008 - 2009
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D2D New Years 2008: Cayman Islands

December 29, 2007 through January 5, 2008
Cayman Islands

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Where are the Caymans?

The Cayman Islands are in the western Caribbean, south of Cuba. The direct flight I got from Tampa to Grand Cayman through Cayman Airways was less than two hours long.

There are three islands: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman. When the weather is good, the Cayman Aggressor IV can make the crossing from Grand Cayman to Little Cayman in around nine hours. It takes a little more than an hour, though, to go from Little Cayman to Cayman Brac. There are some significant wreck dives (indeed, the only dive on Cayman Brac that we did was a wreck dive). The ability to make the Grand Cayman/Little Cayman crossing is very weather dependent ...

About the Cayman Aggressor IV

I may have been on better boats, but I've never had an experience with a better crew. Service was excellent - almost to the point it was scary. Everyone commented that, once a pairing was out of their cabin, it was a fair bet that the crew had made it in to make the beds and replace the towels. And if one of you used the towel during the day, it was more than likely that the towel would again be replaced by the next time you made it back to your cabin. Food was excellent, and the service during meal times was above and beyond.

The only bad parts of the trip (as far as the boat was concerned):
  • The soda fountain wasn't working properly.
  • We ran out of canned Coke.
  • The showers in the cabins were a tad claustrophobic. However, this isn't always that unusual on a boat.

Getting There

I managed to get a fairly good fare on Cayman Airways, and a direct flight from Tampa to Georgetown on Grand Cayman, where the boat docks. A blissfully short flight, all things considered.

Other Notes

The crew was anxious to get underway to ensure that we had significant time to make it to Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, as weather forecasts indicated the potential for rough weather midway through the week. We made it ...

We were scheduled to do 27 dives originally, and I was hoping to fit at least 26 in so I could hit my 400th dive. However, crossings and some less than healthy sinuses knocked my number of dives down to 20.

Pasquale, my buddy who usually arranges these trips, was sadly absent, having given up his spot to another. My friends I met in Palau, Bill and Pam, didn't make it, as Bill has passed. Another person had surgery before the trip and couldn't make it either, so we were three short on the boat.

On To The Dives

  • December 30, 2007 (Randy's Gazebo (LC) - The Meadow/Jackson's Bight (LC))
  • Day one, diving off of Little Cayman, along a section called Bloody Bay, which has it's own wall.
  • December 31, 2007 (M.V. Capt. Tibbetts (CB) - Three Fathom Wall (LC) - Thre Great Wall (LC))
  • Day two, with dives on both Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
  • January 1, 2008 (Rum Point Dropoff (GC) - Stringray City (GC) - Tarpon Alley (GC) - Bonnie's Arch (GC))
  • Back on Grand Cayman for the start of the New Year.
  • January 2, 2008 (Eagle Ray Rock (GC) - Doc Paulson (GC))
  • While my logbook says it was sunny, I recall it also being windy ... "the weather started getting rough" kind of stuff ...
  • January 3, 2008 (Trinity Caves (GC) - Doc Paulson (GC))
  • The weather changed, and as is not uncommon, so did my sinus conditions ...
  • January 4, 2008 (Jax Dax (GC))
  • Last day of diving ...


Pictures!

All taken with the Canon 30D. Always a bit paranoid about opening the housing (particularly since it's like a big 3D jigsaw puzzle) I kept it all assembled as much as possible, so I don't have many surface shots during the actual trip; only when we were really done diving did I start snapping shots around the boat.
Sunrise over Little Cayman, first day of diving. Sunrise tended to be easier to capture than sunset, as you usually prepped the camera for a given day the morning of the dives. Unless you were going to change lenses, you usually didn't want to muck with the camera too much.

1/250-F18-ISO100 lens: 18-55mm
Sunrise the second day, over Cayman Brac.

1/100-F3.5-ISO100 lens: 18-55mm
Back at the dock on Friday, but very few of us wanted to go outside and see the land so close. Here's Chris, Tom, Kelly, Tim, and Kriss chatting it up in the lounge.

1/125-F4.0-ISO200 lens: 18-55mm, built-in flash
The map of our travels and dive sites.

1/100-F4.0-ISO200 lens: 18-55mm
The sun slowly approaches the horizon, hiding behind some clouds ...

1/320-F7.1-ISO200 lens: 18-55mm
Little bit of zoom on the sunbeams ...

1/320-F10-ISO200 lens: 18-55mm
With Beverly and Braxton in the background, Larry, Chris (behind Larry), Robby (behind Chris), Dale, Tom, and Todd (in front of Tom) discuss ... well, everything: Football, the captainship of the freighter, dinner, diving, Larry's feet ...

1/200-F4.0-ISO160 lens: 18-55mm
The sun sinks ever lower ...

1/200-F9.0-ISO100 lens: 18-55mm
Larry's feet. Hmmm ... wonder how they got those interesting colors on them ... not to mention the dive flag on his toe ...

1/125-F5.6-ISO100 lens: 18-55mm, built-in flash
This very large moth joined the party we had on the top deck prior to going to dinner.

1/125-F10-ISO200 lens: 100mm macro, built-in flash
Saying goodbye to the Cayman Aggressor IV.

1/160-F10-ISO200 lens: 18-55mm
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