Cayman Aggressor IV - May 2009
Another incredible week with the Aggressor fleet!
Direct flights into Georgetown, Grand Cayman are available from many airports... I believe there were guests flying direct from JFK, Newark, Atlanta and Houston.
Met by an Aggressor rep in Cayman outside the airport after picking up bags... given a voucher for a cab to be deducted from my final bill on Friday after I paid the cab driver myself. (So much for the mantra “Free until Friday!”)
Got to boat before two o’clock and had to wait on the dock... the dock is right in town, so it was possible to walk around town and get a jump on the Friday deco shopping trip, or just start working on the tourist sunburn. A word of warning though! Don’t use the pay phones that accept credit cards unless you are desperate! A 40 minute call runs about $90! (So I have heard!)
The boat was very comfortable... dive deck was large, giving each diver their own space with a rack for hanging suits and skins, an underseat locker area, and one tank which was refilled promptly after every dive.
An upper deck had a hot tub and lounge chairs for sunning and relaxing (And consuming massive quantities of between dive snacks as the crew brought them around!). Also great for stargazing at night!
This deck also had a bar area, complete with a fridge full of beer (Local “Cay Brew” and Coors light.... I recommend the water) and chilled glasses... also soda on tap! Good news for you diet coke addicts!
The staff was as friendly and service oriented as on the first Aggressor trip I was on earlier this year to Belize! The Cayman Aggressor had apparently won the award for best food on a liveaboard dive boat (From whom, I have no idea!), thanks to the head chef, Savio!! The food was superb! Soups, main courses, desserts, between dive snacks! And thanks to Savio and his wonder cooking, I added another few pounds to pack into my wetsuit.
Internet service was available on the boat... excruciatingly slow (Like dial up!) for a one time fee of $25 or a little faster for a little more... my cell phone (AT&T) could send and receive texts for 50 cents a piece to send, 5 cents to receive, but I could not make calls... others could.
The first day of diving was around Grand Cayman, and included stingray city... I had never been there before, and like shark and dolphin encounters that I had done, it felt a little touristy, and I am not sure if it is in the best interest of the animals, but it was a blast! No one took a barb through the chest, but the stingrays do nibble a little harder than I thought if you are reluctant to give up the squid you are given to feed them! They have also learned that if they knock off a divers mask, the diver will get flustered, grab at their mask, and be forced to drop the squid! I thought that was pretty cool! Chalk one up for the stingrays! Oh yeah, the encouter was taped and appeared on the DVD for sale at the end of the week... $65.
Sunday evening, and through the night the crew motored the boat over to Little Cayman, about a 65 mile trip from where we had been on Grand Cayman... the boat travels at 10 knots, meaning that it is a long trip, and a little rough at times! If you are prone to sea sickness, better stay close to a trash can or commode! (The trip BACK to Grand Cayman was 10 hours, but not as rough... or I had my “sea legs” by that time)
The diving in Little Cayman was as amazing as I had been told and read! This was my first time there, and I was not disappointed! Lots of life along the walls and up on the reefs. One of the highlights was an octopus that put on quite a show during a night dive on Three Fathom Wall (aka The Mixing Bowl)! We watched it hunt for several minutes, and even watched it wrestle with a large crab. Awesome! (Sorry Martha!)
We also made two dives on the Keith Tibbetts wreck at Cayman Brac - lots of life around wreck, including one goliath grouper!
It was a great week of diving... we were lucky with the weather; sunny and warm every day and fairly calm seas (Save for the day of motoring between Grand Cayman and Little Cayman!)! And I got off my lazy butt and made all 26 of the possible dives of the week.
There was a “boutique” on Thursday offering Aggressor gear for sale... T shirts, skins, mugs, towels etc... Friday was the day to pay your final bill, and then attend a “cocktail" party in the evening (Same beer and wine as during the week, but with some great snacks prepared by the chef!) - dinner was on our own Friday night, somewhere in town... most people gorged on the snacks, had a few (or a few more) drinks and crashed...
This is another must do again trip! The Aggressor trips sound expensive, but if you like to eat and drink a lot on dive trips, do the math... it might actually be a better deal than land based! Regardless, it was worth every penny, in my opinion! And after speaking with other divers on the trip about other liveaboards they had done, I will schedule my next one with Aggressor too!