I am awakened by Sawyer's squeals of delight
and urgent request "Mama! Let's go swimming!" I
resign myself to the fact that I will hear this phrase a hundred
times this week, and chuckle because I won't mind a bit. We
arrived on the Little Cayman Diver II last night and this
morning are moored to the wreck of the Capt. Keith Tibbetts,
a former Russian missile frigate (formerly named "Nohodlka"
356). She was purchased from Cuba by the Cayman Government
in 1996 and sank off the north shore of Cayman Brac (opposite
the former site of the Buccaneer Hotel). The bow of the warship
is at a depth of 100 ft with the stern sitting at 50 ft. Originally
sunk intact, the vessel was cut in half directly forward of
the radar tower by the heavy seas of a nor'easter in the winter
of 1998. The bow guns, stern guns, radar tower, and bridge
are all accessible to sport.
seven months pregnant with identical twins, this is a non-diving
trip for me. So Sawyer and I don snorkel gear as the rest
of the guests prepare to dive. With Sawyer clinging to my
back, we hop on my Apollo av-1 underwater scooter and circle
the wreck leaving whoops and hollers in our wake. This might
be more fun than diving. Sawyer would stay in all day if his
stomach allowed, but soon the smell of breakfast lures us
back to the boat.
After breakfast the LCDII motors for Little
Cayman and Bloody Bay. We tie up to the mooring at Sarah's
Set, two underwater mounds (named for their resemblance to
the female anatomy) that boast a plethora of marine life.
Recently, coral bleaching on the outer reef and wall has produced
algae encrustation, affecting some sponges, corals and other
small reef fish. Working with marine biologists from California,
Little Cayman Marine Parks officer Jon Clamp is actively monitoring
Bloody Bay reef and wall to determine the probable cause of
the bleaching. Descending to the outer reef on his scooter,
Franklin uses this opportunity to capture digital video and
stills of the scientists at work.
on the surface, Sawyer directs Phoebe and Anna as they inflate
his "boat," a Sevylor 4-man raft. Hooking it up
to my scooter via a bridle Franklin designed, we head toward
the beach with captain Sawyer at the bow, Phoebe and Anna
reclining in the stern and me on the scooter steering the
flotilla. Yes, you heard me right. In addition to two Apollo
av-1 scooters we brought a 4-man inflatable raft. Being a
professional photographer requires Franklin to be a professional
packer as well. Though sometimes I think he and Sawyer push
"boys and their toys" to the limit! After her dive,
Amanda joins the kids and me on the island for an afternoon
of swimming and exploring. With my scooter almost out of power
we head back to the LCDII to recharge its battery, as well
With a snack and nap behind him, Sawyer
is ready for one more swim before dinner. Franklin is out
filming the mini wall, and the other guests are either diving
or napping so I succumbed to my son's pleading and head to
the dive deck for the last snorkel of the day.
Little Cayman Diver II
Length: 90 ft.
Beam: 21 ft.
Custom designed Former Mega Yacht
Year built: 1980
1993 redesigned for live-aboard diving
5 cabins for 11 passengers
Owner/Operator: Winston McDermot
Contact: Ph 800-544-2722