Tuesday, day four and it's "hump day" for Searaider 2008. In true Searaider fashion, we're having way too much fun. So much fun, that I can't believe the trip is halfway over...or is it? Come to think of it, it's only half begun.
Checking our dive itinerary for today, I see we're diving the sites 3 Sisters, and Little House on the Prairie. 3 Sisters is a wall dive with three large pinnacles, that severed from the wall....millions of years ago. As the story goes, there were also three sisters, who were long time residents of the East End. They were very special ladies in the community, and helped look after the children who grew up on this end of the island. Quite and honor to bestow upon three chunks of rock.
On bottom, we dropped into another swim-through which brought us out at the traditional 100ft mark. The water is so blue and clear, that "gauge discipline" is a crucial skill to have. With no bottom as a reference, it's easy to find yourself deeper than you may have planned. For this dive I decided to push a little deeper, since I had the proper gas and was using a double set of tanks.
Checking depth and time @ 112fsw
I've been to depths over 150 feet on these walls and the deeper you go, the larger the life. Not sure what causes it, but corals and sponges seem to grow larger at those depths. Sort of like that fabled lost world, made of giant reptiles, plants and insects. I like to think this is the undersea equivalent, but down there....it's no fantasy.
With my deeper time approaching the limit, it was time to shallow up and off-gas a bit. On my way back, I ran into this character........(good thing you got a tether on it, Pete)
As well as our newest forum member, SeaNymph........
Our second dive was Little House on the Prairie because the site lies just off the beach from a "little house". Creative bunch, these dive charter guys are.
Little House is another, more shallow reef dive. One that offers a mixture of sandy passages, arch-ways and tall coral heads to venture through and explore. It also gave Pete, T Bone, and myself the chance to do some "color research" and get a comparison between, Searambler Silver, Divingstar GMT Yellow, and Irishstar Green. I think I could go for a green DOXA.
After our experiment, it was time to check out more of the reef. Here T Bone passes through an arch-way. This truly is a "Coral Cathedral"
Rounding the bend, these guys were all huddled up in one hole. There must have been six to eight lobster. All you could see, were a mass of antennae and legs.
Once again, we'd had another morning of excellent, world-class diving. However, the diving isn't over for the day(more on that later), but we need to head back to shore, as there's a rumor going 'round. A rumor that TMahaun is firing up the grill again, for another round of beach-side dining. C'mon Skipper.....roll that diesel into over-drive.
Once back, the rain started falling. It rained all afternoon, but that didn't stop us. TMahaun still came through and instead of dining on the sand, we just backed the party up to the balcony. Same awesome view, just a lot more dry.
On the menu tonight.....Caribbean Jerk Chicken(no, I didn't come up with that name) Britty's tossed green salad(cilantro...excellent touch), T Bone's introduction of BBD(you're going to have to ask him about that one) and for desert...Pete's drawing for two very rare preview copies of his latest book, "Diving With Legends".
For those new to the scene, "Diving With Legends" is a collection of stories, written by some of the most influential people in the modern history of underwater exploration, and adventure. Pete has taken these stories, and combined them into an astounding collection of the best diving tales ever told. Whoever wins these, is really taking home a treasure.
So......with all of our names in a hat, TMahaun, will you do the honors?
And the first winner is.............MTJO!!! Congrats!!
The next drawing was for the ultra-rare(only 1 in the world), hardback version that Pete used to pitch the idea to Rolex. And the winner is.....Britty!!! Way to go girl!
With just enough time to let all of that digest, it was time to head back to the dock. Remember, I said we weren't finished diving for the day. Tonight was our scheduled night-dive and the location was Sunset Reef.
The great thing about Ocean Frontier's night dives, is they're inside the breakwater....meaning they're shallow, free of current and the most relaxing of the dives you'll do all week. On Sunset Reef, there's several small coral heads, the breakwater reef itself, and the coolest part....an old anchor from one of the wrecks of the Ten Sails.
Many of you know this, but there's nothing quite like a night dive. Animals that you'd rarely see during the day, are out and about...feeding on the reef. Those that aren't moving about, are very easily approached as this is their time of rest.
Here' a pink tipped anemone looking for a bite to eat.......
As well as a little cleaner shrimp.........
Here's a Blue Tang taking a rest..........
As well as one of the many species of Parrot Fish.........
This little Peacock Flounder is probably my favorite........
Here, 15 feet is the maximum depth, so you can almost stay down forever(or at least until your air supply runs out). Forever still wouldn't be enough time for me to enjoy the diving here in Cayman.
On the night dive, the only thing that makes you want to come back aboard, is the hot-chocolate and cinnamon muffins that the crew prepares daily. With a little chill brought in by the rain, the chocolate and muffins were just the right touch.
So, as the Eastern Skies motored it's way back to the dock, I couldn't help but reflect back upon the day. Starting off, we'd had a great morning of diving, an afternoon relaxing and enjoying dinner with friends, and an evening of even more incredible diving. You know when an artist finally achieves a masterpiece, and one more brush stroke couldn't possibly make it better? That's exactly like today..........a complete masterpiece.