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Monday, 21 April 2014

Paint it Black

You really couldn't have asked for a much better day, with the sun shining and a light 4 knot North Easterly it was like a mill pond out there.

With being Easter the boat was a little busy but seeing as Dangerous Doug had four OW's to finish off mixed in with the usual mob of punters, you can't really grumble, not when the diving was as good as it was today.

Flat as a pancake!
Capt. Nige headed the boat Northward and we made our first stop at McCurleys Wall which sits right next to Babylon and with good air consumption, you can easily get two dive sites for the price of one. Bargain!

The North side has the best wall diving in the Caymans, (bar Bloody Bay Wall of course) and any opportunity you get to go shouldn't be sniffed at. McCurleys has some stunningly vibrant hard coral formations, sponges and sea whips along with an abundance of jacks, triggerfish, snappers, fusiliers, barracudas and multiple turtles cruising past.

Lovely, lovely colours.
With the birthday girl Sarah leading her charges off into the distance, and Little Jon bringing up the rear with his, we spent some quality time at depth to get some nice shots in amongst the overhangs and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Spot the snapper.......
The marine life is so healthy and abundant on this side of the island, it does put some other dive sites to shame which is no surprise when you think how much other areas get kicked to death by the multitude of tourists fins. However, that's a discussion for another day.

Turn right at Babylon pinnacle.
With over have a tank left, we arrived at Babylon and lapped the pinnacle several times to get some shots in before we cruised off back along the wall with our turtle friends and back to the mooring pin to off gas before tucking in into todays specialty, Cadburys Cream Eggs. It is easter after all and cream eggs are the most important part of any surface interval at this time of year!

After a quick recharge at the surface, we cruised along to Black Rock reef. It;s been a while since we'd been here and I had honestly forgotten how good it can be. Capt. Nige called it on the moray and the nudis in the pre dive brief and this site is an absolute macro photographers delight. Just make sure you've got plenty of bottom time after the first dive as you definitely don't want to come up to early on this one.

Small and perfectly formed
The first two minutes in the water, almost directly under the boat I found a beautiful juvenile Painted Elysia. About 2mm big if you were lucky but scampering over the coral like a cheetah. I nearly had to up the shutter speed just to get the shot! Give the abundance of nudis that we found here in day time, this would make a terrific site for night diving.

There were also plenty of Elysia Crispata, with some massive examples hulking their way over the rocks as well as more slender individuals like the one below.

The resident green moray also put in a little appearance for us and was more than happy to get up close and personal with the macro lens for some stills and a little video. We saw it again towards the end of the dive making a break over the reef away from some divers who were in hot pursuit. Swim on, Mr. Moray, swim on.

And as if the nudis weren't enough, we had a great selection of gobies, blennies and red legged hermit crabs on offer which just made the icing on the cake for a perfect days diving.

Smile if you're happy!!

 And last but not least, we had some wonderful tiny hydroids with some even smaller isopods sitting on it, wafting back and forth in the light current.

Look carefully to find the ispods.
Maybe if Mother Natures feeling lucky, we'll get another chance to head Northward again in a few weeks time the boys and girls at Tortugas Divers.