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Monday, July 20, 2009

Little Cayman 2009

I feel as though I should finally post something about the rest of our trip...  sorry for the long delay.  I still don't have photos, but hopefully they will be coming soon.

The Wedding
The first part of our trip was mostly all about our wedding.  We left home on Wednesday, July 1 (far too early in the morning), traveled US Airways through Charlotte, and finally arrived in Little Cayman around 5:30pm.  Our wedding took place on Thursday, July 2 on Owen Island, which is near our resort.  Our resort was Southern Cross Club, where we've stayed twice before.  Read more about our wedding.

The Diving
We completed two dives the morning of the wedding, two dives on our last day (July 7), and three dives each day the rest of the trip.  Each day began with a 2-tank dive at 8am, and then an afternoon dive most days, doing one dusk dive on Sunday, July 5.

Dive conditions were fairly good.  We did have some wind, so some of the dive sites were fairly choppy on the surface, but nothing to really complain about.  Other days were not windy at all, and the surface was smooth as glass.  We had an especially green/murky dive at Mixing Bowl one day, and this happened to be a dive where Todd and I both had trouble keeping from going into deco (meaning, that we'd stayed too deep too long, and were in danger of having to do a long deco stop).  This meant that we had to hover at around 30 feet, which was maybe 10-15 feet above the reef, and then after a few minutes, ended up heading back to the boat, which was in only 15-20 feet of water.  We could then explore and have a good time around the boat without worrying about deco time.

A real treat was getting to visit Nancy's Cup of Tea and Paul's Anchors for the first time.  These dive sites are on the end of the island and are rarely dove, since they often have strong current.  Because of the strange winds we were getting, we were able to dive them with no trouble.  Nancy's Cup of Tea is a beautiful dive site, with nice swim-throughs and beautiful corals.

As for fishies, we saw plenty, of course.  We saw a lot of the "usual suspects," and lots and lots of Grouper and turtles.  I have to say that I am really impressed with how many grouper there are in Little Cayman.  Some of the groupers are big, some of them are small, but there were just tons of them all around.  This is a good thing, since groupers are generally good for the reef.  We were told while we were there that Grouper were not eating the Lionfish, which is contrary to what I've heard, but perhaps it is true, who knows.

As for the Lionfish themselves, we didn't see any while we were there.  We were constantly reminded by dive masters to look for them, but none were to be seen.  I know they've found quite a few in the Caymans, and seem to be regularly finding them at Little Cayman, though.

Todd had switched from macro (which he did exclusively in Bonaire) to wide angle for photography.  He was getting some training from dive master Mike, who even helped me in posing.   My role in macro photography is to find little things for Todd to take photos of, while my job in wide angle photography is to pose for a lot of the photos, looking at things with my flashlight, etc.

My favorite dive was probably our dusk dive on Lea Lea's Lookout.  Oh, I love this dive and this dive site.  The light is just perfect, and the fish are so active.  It's incredibly interesting.  After the dive, as we rode back towards the resort while the sun set, the boat stopped.  It wouldn't start again, and we were completely without a way to get back to the resort.  Mike radioed the resort and they sent the fast-moving fishing boat out to help us get back in.

Little Cayman was hit pretty bad by Tropical Storm Gustav in the fall.  I can't say that we really saw that much underwater that was horrible.  Things looked good - sea fans were in place, etc.  Southern Cross Club has a new dock, but besides that, everything seemed fine.  On our way home, we stopped in Cayman Brac, and we could still see that a lot of construction is going on there.

We spent a lot of time with friends Matt and Ellen, but also met a few other friends.  Lane and Suzanne (from Dallas) were very entertaining.  We also met another couple, Don and Bethany, whom we met in 2007, but they were arriving just as we were leaving.  We got to know them better, and we will hopefully see them again.

Southern Cross Club was offering a special deal for those who booked their next stay while still at the resort... Well, we decided to do it, so I'm excited to say we'll be returning to Southern Cross next year, and we should see our friends again then!

Food, Hammocks and More
We spent our non-diving time relaxing in the hammocks, enjoying delicious food prepared by the marvelous chef Ron, and drinking delicious drinks.  On our non-diving day, we took bikes up to Blossom Village for ice cream at the National Trust, but found that the National Trust was closed.  We had to settle for drinks from the local store.  It was hot, so we were excited to get back to the resort.

Of course, Saturday was the fourth of July.  Southern Cross had a lovely dinner and then we went out to the dock to watch the fireworks.  It was our second fireworks display, and it was wonderful.  After that, I spent some time relaxing on the beach while Todd took some nighttime photos.

What next?
I'm hoping to get some photos posted very soon.  My family is coming up this weekend, and we've been spending a lot of time preparing for that.  As for vacations?  Well, we are off to Hawaii in the fall, and then after that we have no plans until our First anniversary trip to Little Cayman.  Good times...

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