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Thursday, 30 May 2013

Suit you sir!

This is an interesting concept, especially as it's using Kickstarter to get off the ground. Carapace wetsuits, based out of Southern California, has figured out how to make custom-fitted wetsuits for people at normal wetsuit prices. It's kind of the holy grail of manufacturing. 

Here's how it works. On a website, you are guided with video to take 15 different measurements of your own body. Carapace takes those measurements, applies custom algorithms to them, then puts those numbers into a CAD file, and presto, each panel is the precision cut so when the whole suit comes together it fits all of your body's little freaky weirdnesses just perfectly. 

I've heard of custom drysuits but can't say I've heard of custom wetsuits. This might just be the ticket if you're an odd shape like me :-P

Link: HERE

Monday, 27 May 2013

Inner Space

The mecca for tech/rebreather kicked off on the island here a couple of days ago at Divetech just up the road. I'm going to try and get along there for a few days but given how busy this week  is turning out to be I might not make it. Still, there's always next year.

Link: HERE

"Hosted by Divetech, it’s the largest rebreather event in the world. Around 70 people will fly to Grand Cayman from as far afield as South Africa, Egypt, the UK and the US to take part in the event, said Steve Tippetts, senior instructor at DiveTech, who is organising much of the event "

"Inner Space will be bringing together re-breather designers, distributors and manufacturers of technical dive computers, teams from the Divers Alert Network and more.  
“It’s a meeting of minds,” Mr. Tippetts said. “People who are all into the same thing can dive together.”

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Rescue me

And about time. As of Friday, legal protection came into effect for stingrays, eagle rays and manta rays in Cayman waters.

Link: HERE

"The law was amended following reports that wild stingrays had been removed from local waters and were being housed in a tank at Dolphin Discovery in West Bay. Four of the 10 stingrays were found to have been tagged at the Sandbar in North Sound by scientists working with conservationist Guy Harvey on compiling a census of the animals. Those four were subsequently released back to the Sandbar in September, but six rays still remain in captivity at Dolphin Discovery."

So if you are ever visiting the island, make sure you boycott dolphin discovery as they have no morals or ethics when it comes to taking marine live out of the ocean and sticking them in a tank to make a quick buck. Please feel free to boycott the turtle farm as well whilst you're at it. :-)

By the rivers of Babylon

Ok, so from the title you may have guessed that there's a Babylon theme to this post and you'd be right! After many months, we had the right weather, the right sea state, the right boat and the right day to actually get to dive the Babylon site on the North side of the island.

Yes, I know it can be done as a shore dive but the logistics involved and the faffing just make it far easier to get there by boat.
We're on the way! Full steam ahead!
I must say that Babylon is a very nice dive site as they have some cracking pinnacles by the main wall which are just teaming with marine life and coral.
One of the many pinnacles teeming with life and colour
Unfortunately there were no visitors hanging out in the blue to pop by and say hello but there was an excellent display of gorgonian fan, rope and barrel sponges as well as some nice hard coral formations.
"I'm your biggest fan......"
Given that we were boat diving with an operator, they were strict on the dive times and 60 minutes just isn't enough time here. Getting back on a boat with nearly have a tank left is just shameful! There may be merit to trying to arrange a shore dive here after all.......
So many dazzling colours here. I need to start wearing shades
We chundered along the coast for a bit and decided to get in on Andy's Reef. I don't know who Andy is but I'm sure he won't mind us diving here. The site starts of shallow with a multitude of coral fingers that stretch off into deeper water. If you take your time investigating the nooks and crannies of the fingers you can catch some sleeping sharks and grazing turtles here. 

Unfortunately today wasn't our day, but there was a fine selection of smaller stuff to get shots of, so off with the wide angle and on with the macro.
The obligatory flamingo tongue cowrie shot
The site was packed to the rafters with all manner of gobies and blennies, feeding angelfish, big eyed grunts, cruising barracuda and flighty drum fish.
French angelfish caught in mid meal hence the pouty face
One thing I did find which I have never seen at any other dive site here was squirreled away in amongst the sponge and was incredibly small at about 3mm and well camouflaged. After a bit of research (they weren't in any of my books), it turns out they are white shoe shrimps and certainly a novelty to me.
Tiny, tiny, tiny
You can see why they're called white shoe shrimps, it looks like they're wearing a pair of Nikes. Hope they didn't steal them....... I'll definitely have to keep an eye out and see if I can find them in any other locations.
And it wouldn't be a dive without a blenny shot
There was a bit of a squall moving in at the surface so conditions got poor quickly at mid dive point which was a shame as the viz dropped from excellent to PPP (pretty piss poor) in no time. 

But we still had a great day out with Babylon being a real highlight and definitely be back out there again. Either on a boat with more bottom time or arrange a fistful of cylinders for some shore diving and no limits. Now we're talking......
Arrow crab unimpressed with the change in conditions

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Gavin the Parrotfish

"The camera loves him – and it’s just as well, for this fish loves nothing more than getting his toothy grin on tourists’ holiday snaps. Gavin, a yellow and blue parrotfish, has been bitten by the photobombing bug but he only poses with the ladies. He is fast becoming the main attraction for divers at a popular holiday resort by flashing his pearly whites for visitors to his underwater world."

Link: HERE

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Play to win

Ahh well what do you know, I won photo of the week in the local rag and I didn't even know it. They must be having a slow week or something! 

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Summer Wind

That'll be the diving blown out today then! Ah well, next diving everyone!
Back home we would class this entry as slightly challenging

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Man on the moon

We had unique and rare quest visit us on Monday, none other than astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Buzz, an avid diver, got some bottom time in at Divetech just up the road from us.

"The 83-year-old said the Cayman Islands was among his favourite places in the world to dive. Aldrin, who describes the sensation of SCUBA diving as the closest thing to moon-walking that he has experienced on Earth, has been diving since the 1950s. His first experience of the underwater world involved breathing through a rubber hose while holding a rock to keep him below the surface." 

Read more HERE
"One small step....."

Into the lens

Our very good friends from the East End, Ocean Frontiers, have announced their brand new reef cam. And a fun and fascinating thing to watch it is too, especially if you can't get in the water to be with the marine life. Check it out HERE

"The ‘ocean-cam’ is part of a monitoring project that has just been launched in partnership with Teens4Oceans, a non-profit organisation that encourages young people to get involved in the stewardship of the ocean through research, technology and education. With this new equipment teenagers from across the world will be watching what is happening on Cayman’s reefs."

"The busiest time is dusk between 5:30 and 6:30pm,”said (Steve) Broadbelt.  “There is a lot of fish activity as they come across from point A to point B, and this is just by day, we don’t know what they are doing at night." 

It's alright Steve, we know what fish get up to at night *nudge-nudge, wink-wink*