It's Friday, and our final day of diving is regrettably here. The skies are blue and the seas remain calm. Mother Nature is kind, so I guess we Searaiders are doing something right. Along with the great weather, it's been a week of great diving, great watches, great food and most importantly...great friends. Just the sort of thing to carry us through, right up to Searaider 2010.
Dive sites "The Maze" and "Fantasea Land" are how we'll close this diving saga. The Maze, with deep fissures that run far into the reef, lead you out to the sheer face of the wall. A face that virtually has no end...well unless you count 6,000 feet down as an end.
Deep inside the reef.
Gavin and the Seahunter.
Todd and the 750T Pro.
Brittie and Randy back on the reef-top.
Now on to "Fantasea Land". Aside from Snapper Hole, this was my second favorite reef dive. There were several caverns and tunnels here, but the fish and delicate coral seemed more abundant than anywhere else. My favorite has to be Elkhorn coral. The way to grows, and it's delicate texture are simply quite beautiful.
An Elkhorn colony.
A small French Grunt.
Brittie into the coral.
Michael coming out with the 300T.
Todd pausing for a shot.
One last look at the TUSA in the blue.
After an hour and 10 minutes of bottom time, the Nitrox was running low, so I made my way back to the Nauticat. This was one dive that I truly didn't want to end. Maybe because it was the last, or maybe it was just that good....probably a little bit of both.
Back on deck, and with Compass Point in the distance, I better see how we're doing on time because tonight there's something special in store.
Aside from the incredible diving and the great accommodations, one of the main reasons I hold Searaider here every year, is because of Landmark Jewelers. Landmark was the first authorized dealer for Subs in the world, and is the go-to place for DOXA in the Caribbean. It's always a high priority visit for the Searaiders, and because of this, every year they host an after-hours VIP night for us.
This year they were stocked with a variety of 1000Ts, 5000Ts and a few remaining 750Ts...all COSC.
Todd, Randy and Gavin enjoying the evening.
At the DOXA case, they keep a preview copy of Pete's book, so folks can see what all the magic's about. This year, Landmark requested that all Searaiders sign it and write a short testimonial. Now that's celebrity for ya.
Michael doing the honors with the Subs in the background. Really liking that padded DOXA tray.
A good thing is hard to keep secret, so it wasn't long before the Pirates stormed the store, and decided to get in on some of the festivities themselves. I mean we all know they like gold, diamonds and other shiny things.
As the night went on, Landmark had a drawing for two silver "pieces of eight" coins, recovered from the Spanish wreck of the El Cazador. Google it if you're not familiar...it's a very interesting story.
Todd and myself were the lucky winners of the silver coins, but the pirates just couldn't let it go.
With fireworks over the harbor, and revelry in the streets, we made our way outside to experience the first official night of Pirate's Week. For those here the entire week, interesting times ahead...very interesting.
So the night came to an end, and we eventually made our way back to the East End with a bit of treasure of our own. In addition to the silver coins, I snagged a necklace for "Mrs. K" and I believe a few 'Raiders even came away with a new DOXA.
Naturally the morning came early, and after drying our gear, packing our bags, and saying good bye to those who made our week so enjoyable, we left our mark. A mark that would be ours forever, or at least until the next hurricane.
....and with that I'll say "Good bye Grand Cayman"....may your warmth, kindness, and hospitality stay with us through the coming year. Godspeed, stay safe, and we'll see you in 2010.