June 2010


Divers and snorkelers like myself are in for a treat! Those that will be traveling to the island at the end of July are in for an even bigger treat.

On July 27th, the USS Kittiwake will be sunk off Seven Mile Beach.  Here she is:

Ok, some explanations!

The USS Kittiwake is a retired 251ft long US navy ship (in service from 1964-1994) that was purchased by a Cayman Islands group.  This was over a year ago.  Since then, the boat has been cleaned, wiring removed, etc. It will be scuttled in about 60ft of water so to make an awesome scuba & snorkel site as well as being an artificial reef for all kinds of marine life.

If all goes to schedule, the boat will arrive in Cayman about 1-week before.  On the 26th there will even be a public viewing and visit at the dock. The 27th the boat will be sunk with some sort of explosives I would guess. Should be a good show for those on Seven Mile Beach.

Edit: Thanks to Lee, reader of my blog, “Sea water will be “piped” into the hull and it will eventually sink on its own” according to an article in the local paper that I obviously missed!  Thanks Lee. :)

Diving will start on the 29th! I will be off island so will miss all of this fun.  But, will dive this site for sure not too long after :-)

More recent news … that potential storm I mentioned in my previous post … is just that, a potential storm.  Essentially lots of rain Thursday & Friday but most likely not much else.  Good news! It is however an early in the season to already be monitoring these things.

… and our first visitor of the year is : Invest 93!  Probably.   A tropical depression is a few hundred miles southeast of the Cayman Islands.  At a very minimum, heavy rains are expected on Thursday.  It may develop into a tropical storm.

The computer models of the different weather services are below. There is a consensus that it will pass in our neighborhood!

Its not really looking like a cyclone, so a hurricane is unlikely.

In case you are wondering why its called an “Invest” storm.  Here is the definition ; makes sense!

“An unnamed tropical weather pattern “to investigate” for development into a significant (named) system.”

On June 19th we had the 18th annual Flowers seas swim. Its a 1-mile swim along  7-mile beach. This event is rated amongst the best sea swims in the world and again this year there were a few Olympic gold medalists in attendance.

This year, the swim was from North to south. Last year we did the opposite. Organizers decide about 36h before in which direction we will swim according to currents/tide/etc.

The start was right in front of the former Coutyard Marriott and went all the way to the Ritz Carleton.

Being an “optimal” kind of guy, I do not swim near the beach since 70% of swimmers are within say 50ft of the shore. I am more along the lines of 200-300ft off shore.  By swimming so close to many other swimmers, a kick in the face is almost assured.  Also, notice the curve in the beach.  By starting a bit further out (and not following the beach), I swam in a straight line (as least I think I did …) to the Ritz.  :-)

Just before the start … just under 800 swimmers. I am somewhere at the far end.

And we are off!  The fastest did this mile swim in under 18 minutes! Amazing. I did it at a leisurely pace and finished 531st at 46 minutes.  I’m pleased I have completed it without incident once again.  1-Mile is a very long swim.

They had a camera crew in the helicopter. At one point, he was hovering only a few feet from the water.

I took  few shots of Seven Mile beach. Had actually not been here in a while. So pretty. Gotta come here more often.

Driving back home, the Royal Poinciana’s at the entrance to Savannah are in full bloom.  I love how these form an archway over the road.

Lastly, we may have a few storms in the next few days. There was a potential for a tropical depression, but it dispersed. However, lots of cloud and rain in the forecast.

Summer weather is in full swing in beautiful Grand Cayman Island. The sun is blazing, the water is uber warm ( I recorded 87 degrees on my second dive just south of the island this morning) and the fruit is ripe.

Here are a sample of local fruit that I saw recently. Lucky me, most of these trees/fruit are close to where we live and have access to them :)

Banana’s!  These are actually called “apple banana’s”.  They are about 1/2 to 2/3 the length  of regular bananas and a bit more stubby.  Taste wise, I find them 100x better. In my opinion they are a cross between banana and granny smith apples.

Bread fruit. These strange green things are the size of large grapefruits and you can see them all over the island. There are even some of these trees in George Town.  The way to eat these is quite peculiar. You slice them up in to the shape if french fries and then deep fry them.   They come out just like … you guess it, french fries. Quite frankly tastes just like them too.  I am sure there are other ways to eat this fruit, but have not identified any as of yet.  Uncooked it does not taste very good.

Mango.   The star of this list in my opinion. After hurricane Ivan, lots of people lost their mango trees or had them severely damaged. Well, 6 years later those that survived are producing lots of fruit now. Right now the trees are bursting with fruit and the are very sweet.  Mango overdose anyone? I have had 3 so far today.

The tree above has the “regular” mango’s like you find in most supermarkets.  The tree below has mango’s that are are bit bigger; I put them side by side to show the size difference. No idea what they are called, but in all honesty, with they way the taste, who cares?

To close, here is a property I had forgotten about.  It was built about 2 years ago and is on the southern coast, just after Frank Sound Rd on your way to the east end. This is probably a great house to be in if a hurricane comes by. It was made with poured concrete. In any case, I find it quite pretty even though I am usually not a fan of angular homes.

For anyone thinking about a trip to Cayman, here was my view from the front of the dive boat this morning. Amazing :-)

In my recent trips, I had a few days in the lovely British Virgin Islands.  Great place!  Well, in BVI there is a fabulous wreck dive to be done.  Its the wreck of the RMS Rhone which sank in 1867 during a hurricane.  Along with the 310-ft ship, over 100 people lost their lives in this maritime disaster.

For more information on this fascinating story, see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Rhone

Today, she is one of the most popular wreck dives in the world.  The movie “The deep” with Nick Nolte was largely filmed at this wreck.

Here are some pictures of two (the wreck is so big that it takes two dives to see the whole things) dives I did.  The stern is in +-80ft of water and the bow in +-50ft. Thanks to Jen & Mark for these underwater pictures.

From inside the bow

A school of fish hanging around an engine part of some sort.

Very weird looking fish. Anyone know what this is?

A very large Barracuda named “Fang”.  He has been around for so long that he now has a name. There is even mention of Fang in the Wikipedia page. When we saw him, he was just hanging under some wreckage.

A porthole with the window still intact after 150 years. Impressive!  The legend is that if you (the diver) rub your hand on it in a circular clockwise motion it will bring good luck. I did it, have not seen any additional luck yet :-)

Below that diver is one of the propeller blades.  HUGE!

Returning to base after two amazing dives.

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