As I ready the camera and eat a little raisin bran, it's hard to imagine that today is our final day of diving. It seems that only a few hours ago, I was waiting for the boat to return from the night dive.
Well, if what they say is true "time flies when you're having fun", we must be doing something right. I blinked and the trip was as good as gone.
Today, the skies are a bit more gray with the sight of rain far out on the horizon. Occasionally the sun peeks out, letting us know that Hurricane Noel will not have the final say.
It's 07:45 and our trusty skiff, once again arrives to take us to the awaiting Eastern Skies. Now some of you may be wondering why a skiff is shuttling us to the dive boat, especially if you saw my photos from back in March where the dive boats were tied to the pier. Well, Hurricane Dean decided to take out the pier back in August, and they were still working putting it back together. This time it's a different story, as the new pier is made from steel reinforced concrete with footings reaching deep into the bedrock. If there's ever a hurricane that moves this pier...God help us all.
Our first dive of the day was on a site called "Crusher's Wall". CW is quite different from any of the other walls that we'd dove before. What makes it different are the two, large masses that broke off from the wall thousands of years ago...forming two huge pinnacles.
For this dive, I decided to leave the camera behind, focusing more on the depth and approaching the dive as an explorer instead of a photographer. Warehouse, on the other hand, brought his camera along and was cool enough to give me copies of his photos before we left. I'm going to take this opportunity to show you guys some of his work. He took some really great shots.
In addition to lobster, eel, octopus and fish...conch are also plentiful around the island. Often they're hard to spot, as their shells are covered in a mossy-type growth which camouflages them in the sand. At first glance they appear as rocks, but if you pay close enough attention, you just may see one move.
Here's a shot of myself, helping a conch pose for the camera.
After descending through the swim-through, we were at 100 feet down on the wall. The pinnacles were approaching from out of the distance, so we decided to go over for a closer look. Here's another one of Warehouse's shots of myself breaching the summit.
Over the summit and out in the clear.
At these depths, time management is crucial. Here THOR checks his 600T.
This wall, like all the others, is a sheer face that finally comes to rest 6000 ft below the surface. Here's a great shot illustrating the vastness of this undersea realm. On my left is Crusher's Wall, straight below me...absolutely nothing!
After exploring the pinnacles, we needed to shallow up to allow our bodies to off-gas some nitrogen. Here we found a large crack in the wall that lead to shallower waters.
Warehouse checks his T-Graph. 18 minutes submerged...right on time.
Dive #2 took us to a site called "Lodge Anchor". Once again, another site very different from any of the others. What makes this site interesting are the smaller coral heads broken up by a series of trenches, maybe 6 to 8 feet in depth. Small boulders and other smaller, round rock formations litter the trenches, giving this site an unusual composition.
Now you may be wondering, why is it called "Lodge Anchor"? Well that's because there's an ancient anchor, lodged in the rock with it's coral shrouded chain, snaking across the reef. Who did it belong to? No one really knows. A British war-ship, a Spanish merchant vessel or perhaps to Blackbeard himself. Only the sea knows and she rarely gives up her secrets.
Warehouse and THOR at the anchor site. If only that anchor could talk.
A couple of Yellow Tail Jacks on patrol.....
With our diving odyssey complete, it was time to break down the gear and head for shore. THOR gives us one last look at the 600T, very at home aboard the Eastern Skies.
The diving may be over but the adventure definitely isn't. After all, the whole reason that Searaider 2007 took place on Grand Cayman, was because of that authorized DOXA dealer, Landmark Jewelers. For this reason, we had to go back.
After negotiating the streets of George Town, we arrived at our destination. Dawn was there again, but what a surprise...Adam had come in from his honeymoon to give the Searaiders a bit of VIP treatment at the DOXA case.
The case was just as I had remembered from being there back in March. The orange lucite display, with the clear lucite watch holders, was lined with COSC 750Ts. Man, what I wouldn't do to have that display in my collection as well as a couple of those 750s.
We checked them all out. The MilShark, the Divingstar, the Sharkhunter and the Pro. The only thing missing was the Caribbean and we all know the rest of that story.
Here THOR checks out a Divingstar. Wait a minute, I think he's going to buy it. He's already pulled the blue plastic off of the bracelet!!
Now Warehouse slaps down his credit card. Looks like they're making it a double.
Two COSC purchases within seconds of each other, now that's enough to make your head spin. What a way to end the rally.
Here we are...Warehouse and THOR proudly showing off the day's bounty with Adam and myself propping up that DOXA case.
After the slips had been signed and the bracelets sized, we headed back up to Breezes for a bite to eat and a few more Cayman Lemonades. Since Adam was technically still on his honeymoon, he and his wife joined us at the table. We stayed nearly 'til closing, taking in one last time all the sights and sounds that are uniquely Grand Cayman.
Well, I hope you all have enjoyed the adventure and I want to say this in closing. Out of all the diving, shopping, dining and just in general, having fun; the thing that means the most to me are the people that you meet on a trip like this. Before Searaider 2007, we were just screen names and posts in a thread. After Searaider 2007, we became a team, we became friends, we became.....the Searaiders.