With the excitement of the day still rolling through my head, sleep didn't come easy. Even trying to finish reading Iceberg wasn't distraction enough. I just kept reliving the day's events, wondering what we'd encounter in the coming day.
Finally sleep did arrive, but excitement and anticipation rattled me out of bed at 05:15. Not a problem though, as it allowed plenty of time to eat a bit of breakfast and reload the camera for today's odyssey.
Our skiff departed for it's rendezvous with the dive boat Eastern Skies around 07:45. The seas were picking up a bit, as Hurricane Noel let us know that he'd recently visited the area. Not bad, but just enough to say "I was there"
Dive #1 started us off at "Jack McKinney's Canyons". Jack McKinney, now deceased, is a highly revered, underwater photographer and videographer. The series of swim-throughs, opening up on the sheer face of the wall, made it one of his favorite sites.
Another great thing about diving with Ocean Frontiers, is you always have the option for guided or unguided dives. I like the guided option, as the dive masters always know the coolest spots on the sites.
Here's our dive master Ellie, steadily approaching a swim-through....
Warehouse "off the wall" at JM's canyons.
Dive #2 took us to "Tarpon Terrace". Tarpon abound in Grand Cayman, and this is a site they like to frequent.
Hey, here comes one of the residents now...
"The Terrace" is a series of massive coral heads, all about 40 feet tall interlaced with arches, smaller swim-throughs and large expanses of sand.
Here's THOR "trekking" across the sand
In search of more Tarpon in the terrace.....
With air running low, it was time to return to the Eastern Skies. Here we are ascending through the coral, back to the sunlit realm of the surface dwellers.
Man what a set of dives. Heading back to Ocean Frontiers, Warehouse looks like he's having a blast. Hey Warehouse.....nice shirt!
THOR looks pretty happy too, high up on the bridge.
Once back at Ocean Frontiers, we cleaned up and regrouped. Now the plan was to venture into George Town to go check out the DOXAs.
We climbed in our rental toaster(right-hand drive, Diahtsu Charade) and set off for George Town. Since Grand Cayman is a British Overseas Territory, all driving is done on the left hand side of the road. The first time I got behind the wheel, I thought "Dear God, there's no way I'm getting off this island alive". Fortunately you learn rather quickly, and the mighty, three-cylinder Diahtsu became quite fun to drive.
Parking is at a premium in George Town, so more than likely, you end up parking quite aways from where you actually want to go. It can prove interesting though, as we soon realized walking past this KFC. Poor fellow, if he only knew what went on behind those doors.
We finally made it to Landmark Jewelers.....
But.......unannounced as we were, Adam the guy that I'd worked with before, was off on his honeymoon. Damn. Oh well...Dawn took great care of us, showing off all the COSC 750Ts. I even picked up an orange strap for my Caribbean, just to give my dive rig a little punch of orange.
After taking it all in, we realized that we still hadn't eaten anything...so we asked Dawn to recommend a great restaurant. "Breezes, right up stairs" she said. We took her advice and headed up.
Man, was she ever right. This place was excellent!! Caribbean-style BBQ ribs, boiled shrimp, fish & chips...all excellent choices and all very fit for the eating. Even the drinks were beyond awesome and I'm not usually one for fruity, fu-fu, tropical cocktails. However, when in Rome.... My poison was the Cayman Lemonade served up right, in a great big hurricane glass. Makes me thirsty now just thinking about 'em.
With the sun going down, we thought it best to head back to the East End. We were anxious to see how the photos from today's dives turned out, plus driving after dark on the wrong side of the road can prove to be a bit challenging.
After checking out the pics, we decided to turn in a bit early. Once settled in, I turned on the TV and what happened to be on the tube? Back-to-back features of Sahara on TNT. Talk about expert timing.
Day four took us to the dive site "High Rock Drop Off". HRDO is another spectacular wall dive, where the top of the wall starts off around 65 ft. and ends somewhere around 6,000 ft.
Orange and yellow tube sponges, red barrel sponges and purple sea fans, delicately adorn the walls. Here's an orange tube sponge perched on top of the wall. An orange sponge...how fitting
In addition to corals and sponges, the occasional moray eel or spiny lobster will peek out from the nooks. Here a spiny lobster's wondering what in the world we're doing in his neighborhood.
Dive #2 took us to a site called "Maggie's Maze". As the story goes, Maggie was a dog who was quite a fixture around the East End of the island. When she died, they honored her by burying her here and naming the site after her. After exploring "the maze" I couldn't think of a finer, final resting place myself.
Here we are approcahing "the maze"
Warehouse "snappin' back".
THOR, closing in....
Here the Searaider team pushes further into the maze....
After the dives, we decided to return to where we caught the boat for Stingray City, and have dinner at the Kaibo Yacht Club. We kicked back with more awesome Caribbean cuisine, great conversation and visit from a little white cat that enjoyed the remainder of Warehouse's steak.
Once again, tired, sun-drenched but excited for what awaited us on our final day of diving. It was hard to believe that we only had one day of diving left. With trips like these, it seems like there's never enough time and with what little time there is...it flies by in a flash. Well, all the more reason to make the most out of tomorrow.
Back at Ocean Frontiers, I settled in with my copy of Iceberg. Dirk just 'glanced at the luminous dial of the orange-faced Doxa watch' while setting the trap inside Pirates of the Caribbean. Caribbean huh? I think I'm starting to know a little bit about that place....