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Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Tea in the park

We spent the morning wandering around the botanical gardens which was a great way to spend some time with plenty to see and do as well. 

Well worth a visit if you are ever on the island.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Paper and Ink

Well I finally made the front page and inside of the national papers. And not for being arrested, surprisingly!
I'm also available for weddings and bar mitzvahs.....
Cayman Compass: HERE

Sunday, 25 November 2012

November Rain

The weather is still very much against us this month with the continual high winds. We had a small window of opportunity to get in the water at Sunset House first thing in the morning.

The waves were pounding off the shore and even with the access via the pool, you still got bounced around badly by the swell.

Not for the faint hearted
The surge in the first 10 metres was pretty potent and the water was very turbid which made getting out to depth a bit of a challenge.

Once we got out the mermaid, things started to clear up a little with a mild Southerly pushing us along.
All clear now
We did a fly-by over the Nicholson which yielded some decent shots for the scrap book with plenty of snappers coming out to play.
All the familiar faces
Also had a nice opportunity to get a panoramic shot of the Nicholson as well which turned out not too bad.
Nicholson and surrounding area
We bimbled over the wall and headed North to catch some of the turtles cruising by who were a bit camera shy today. Probably hadn't had their morning coffee.
A camera shy turtle
After about 70 minutes we headed back into the shallows and over the hard coral formations to see what we could find. Which was a lot of basslets. Jill does like her little blue fish.
Basslets abound
We crused past the mermaid on the way back in and I got a nice panoramic shot of that as well before we rode the waves back into the pool and got a good pounding getting out.
Mermaid and reef in panorama wide-o-vision
On the way out, an OWSI was in the process of trying to convince her students that this was a typical day in the Caymans and it was ideal. Don't think the students were enthused by the sounds of things, they were ready to make a break for the bar. 

Don't think the OWSI had heard of being an RPS and she proceeded to drag them into the water whilst we sat drinking cocktails and watched the conditions get worse and worse. 

They definitely looked ready to throw up and throw in the towel when they got out. Poor sods! Hopefully they wont be put off from diving by their over zealous and inattentive instructor. Just as well there's no HSE on this island, they'd have had kittens.
Jill and her well trained snapper

Friday, 23 November 2012

Freeze Frame

Well we were able to get down to Camana Bay and see all the winning photos from the CITA 2012 competition on display. 

They were about to start taking them down ready for us to pick up, so I was at least able to get a shot of the print in the wild with the general public staring on in admiration. Time to start gearing up for 2013......
The proud father

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Weather with you

Well November is certainly proving to be a tricky month for getting in the water, partly due to the influx of tourists onto the island but also because the weather has been very unpredictable the last three weeks, with strong winds and high gusts. We had a small window of opportunity to get wet and Sunday morning and it was glorious.
Ray and his escort
If you're going to come to the island and dive, do it as early as you can. You get the whole dive site to yourself, you see all the best stuff and the sun rise always helps for some excellent shots.

We'd only just descended and the rays were already cruising around in the shallows looking for their next meal not to mention some epic sized lobsters.
The lobster whisperer strikes again
The mini wall at Lighthouse Point was particularly epic this morning, octopus were in full forage mode and were happy to scamper about in front of the camera like cute, playful eight legged kittens as they frolicked amongst the coral.
So cute and fluffy
The wall was a haven for free swimming morays and the obligatory inquisitive snappers, angelfish, sweetlips and grunts.
Sunrise on the wall
We also had a spate of turtles that were happy enough to stop and admire themselves in the camera lens before cruising onwards.
Don't mind me, just passing through...
Made a bonus find of a nice drumfish, which I was getting into position to get a shot of and found a nice little bristleworm right next to it. Extra points!
"Now the world don't move to the beat of just one drum....."

Bristling with creative energy
And whilst I was busy with this pair, Jill made a nice find of a big old stonefish kicking back and watching the world go by.
Too stoned to move and too lazy to care
I was also mucking around with some experimental panoramic shots but given that the conditions weren't fantastic and with so many moving elements in the frame the results weren't the best in the world however I have plenty of time to experiment and perfect the process, so bear with me.
Lighthouse Point mini wall panoramic
Water temp has been averaging around 28 C just now and vis over the last few weeks has been 22-23 metres, hopefully the winds will settle back down and the vis will improve again.
Peacock flounder for the end of the dive

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Come, Loose Every Sail to the Breeze

We only got the one dive in today which is one more than we thought we'd do given the current conditions on the island. Winds are high and the water is turbid, which is how it's supposed to be for the next few days.
Can't beat a bit of snapper action
Sunset House was very busy today but people were getting out of the water faster than they were getting in due to the conditions.
Single barrel action
If we were just purely diving, the conditions would have been more than fine but for photography, it wasn't a good day at all. Here's hoping that normal service is resumed next week.
Jill swims away in disgust at the conditions

The Pirate king

We thought we'd head down to the harbour and catch the fireworks for the start of Pirate Week. As there was a cruise liner in port, the place was totally heaving with a lot of roads closed off for pedestrian access.
As it turns out we had to drive the long way road the island to avoid the backed up traffic and ended up out at Sunset House, which was still mobbed but at least you got a reasonable view.
It was nice enough, don't know if it was worth the effort to watch 20 minutes of fireworks, but there you go.Least we can say we done it. 

Don't know if we'll do it next year but seeing as we'll be in our new house before then we can always just sit on the porch and watch the pretty lights.

The grand finale

Friday, 9 November 2012

The winner takes it all

The Cayman Islands Tourism Association held the eighth annual photo contest last night and it was a packed affair with films and talks.

The main event however was the judging of the photos in five different categories. These are photos taken in the Cayman waters and the competition is open to pros and amateurs alike.

Some of the shots were superb and richly deserving of their wins. Congratulations to all.

I got first place in Scenic category, second place in the Wreck category and Best in show, which I'm quite shocked/pleased at.

So I win a load of goodies and a weeks liveaboard with the Aggressor fleet in Belize for my troubles. 

Occasionally, just occasionally, it's good to be me.

All photos: HERE

Results here: HERE

To the victor, the spoils

Monday, 5 November 2012

Life in the fast lane

Thunderstorms, rain, high winds, you name it, we've had the last few days, but it was still good enough to allow us to get wet. Despite the pretty strong Northerly current we had some excellent diving.
Snappers love the camera
As we always turn up at opening time to avoid the tourists, we had the whole place to ourselves which gave us some quality time out on the drop off to enjoy the awesome sponge and coral formations.
Like fish in a barrel (sponge)
As we were lacking the sunlight, shooting underwater was a little bit trickier today but nothing a change of F-stop and some strobes couldn't cure!
"Chin up!"
Unfortunately, the seahorses were elusive again today but given the current I wouldn't be surprised it they were half way to Cuba by now. Lets hope their little tails were up the the challenge of hanging on to something.
So many textures and colours to enjoy on a dive
There were a few turtles gliding around and as usual the current didn't phase them one bit. Quite a few less octopus this weekend as well. Spotted three today but that's a lot less that two weeks ago. Maybe gone on holiday or something.
Aquatic stand off between snapper and turtle
Macro shots were especially challenging as you really had to hunker down on the bottom or behind something and make yourself as streamline as possible to avoid the dreaded blurs.
Nice little jawfish staying out of the current
A few morays and lobsters were out for a brief exploratory but I don't think they were overjoyed with the conditions.
"Maybe when the weathers nicer....."
We drifted (or flew back to be more accurate) back to the jetty and got ourselves sorted out. By this time the punters had started arriving with all their twinsets, wings,kit dangling off them everywhere, etc, etc. and making a racket as usual. 

As we were packing up, they were getting in the water only to come back up a couple of minute later complaining about the current and how horrible the conditions were and that they were going to go somewhere else.

They certainly don't make divers like they used to, that's for sure.
Porcupine fish, perfectly pretty

Thursday, 1 November 2012

The Dahlia Mail (pt. 2)

Good news everyone! The second edition of the Dahlia Mail landed in my mail box yesterday with a resounding thump and by the looks of things the girls and boys of the St Abbs VMR have been very busy since I left the homeland.

I'm particularly miffed about missing Jim's talk on Nudibranchs as it's always a pleasure to study and photo the may varied species that can be found at St Abbs. I miss my Nudibranchs.
My long lost love
Not sure about the surfing lessons but that's always because I have a fear of the surfboard smashing my teeth in!

And Miranda Krestovnikoff returns with the BBC to do some more filming, focusing on the wolf fish. Dead easy though, all she had to do was dive on Black Carr. 

There's never a bad dive at Black Carr.

Read the Dahlia Times: HERE