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Day 1

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.

Capt. Keith Tibbetts stern gunBeing 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.

TurtleBack 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 as ours.

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
4 crew
Owner/Operator: Winston McDermot
Contact: Ph 800-544-2722






















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