GRAND CAYMAN - ADVENTURE FILLED RAY ENCOUNTER
Dive 1: Turtle reef:
Max depth: 84ft, 31 minutes bottom time
This morning we decided to go out to the big wall on turtle reef, if you swim out following the buoys, it is about 150 yards out from the shore entrance, so we swam the first 100 yards or so and dropped down to the sandy bottom at about 60ft. Here we found garden worms or something like that and they dig tunnels in the sand to live in. They are over a foot long and skinny. They are in patches all over the bottom, like flower patches. As you approach them they duck into the sand until you swim past.
After a swim we came to the top of the main wall. It started at about 70 ft and you can tell by the huge mounds of corals that you are almost there.
I found moray eels and had a real good time playing with a very curious baby sea turtle. It joined us for several minutes of our dive and we hope the pictures come out well. We swam down and out over the edge of the wall. It was so beautiful. Great dive. Many, many great examples of everything...
Dive 2: Sting Ray City:
What a fun dive this was. A total must do for any diver who is not intimidated by marine life, because those rays are all over you. I loved it. I took my place next to the DM the whole time because he was the one with the squid so all the fish and rays swam around and around him ... and me.
The crew took us out to a reef in shallow waters and told us to overweight ourselves to stay securely on the bottom.
I was the first diver down and the ray came right up and said hello … it got food in return. They would pass by us rubbing their soft bellies against us.
The DM instructed us (if brave) to hold our hand out in a fist with thumbs up, like a time to surface signal and the ray would think we have squid in our hands, but due to the fact that their mouth is on the bottom, our thumb stuck up stoped them. They stayed right there, so we could move them around and get under them before they swim away.
We stayed down for 43 minutes and played with the rays. One very friendly moray eel came out to play and hung around me for a while swimming up and down me. After a while it lost interest and went after the DM’s squid container.
I was o.k. with this because he was 5 ft long, a pretty big boy... all in all, it was a very interesting experience.
Dive 3 coming up in a hour or so …
Dive 3 at 5:53pm 67ft 31minutes bottom time
This was a fun dive as the sun was setting and the shadows grew long. We dove the mini wall at turtle reef and this time went to the right top of the wall. It was fun as it had large corals mounted with tons of life that called those corals home.
We had fun just swimming through the caverns. It was a somewhat overhead environment, but we had a great fun swimming through it.
This time, unlike previous dives, we turned right and drifted with the current. We only used 1000psi drifting, as we knew we would swim against the current going home.
When we used 1/3th of our air, we ascended using the wall as refernce. As we asented into shallower waters, the current got stronger, so I ducked down into the cuts and swam toward land.
It was a fun dive and great exercise. I gotta tell you “To the right” rocks.
Written by Kim Porter, Florida. Photo Credit: Kim Porter