Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Little Cayman March/Apr 2007

My seemingly annual trip to LC was a blast from the past as expected. I was supposed to be there for 11 days but I managed to stretch it out into 15! It was very windy the whole time I was there but of course it was warm and sunny so having to dive on the less-spectacular south side of the island most of the time was a minor inconvenience for all the Fun (with a capital F) that was had.

My sister Kathy celebrated a milestone birthday at the beginning of the trip, Paul quietly made his 200th dive (he didn't tell anyone as we would have done something fun (for us) like throw him in the water with a heavy weight belt...), I was able to relive my legend days by helping out on Sea-Esta, Ann survived a gnarly finger-bite from a brown recluse spider, Ben nearly lost 2 fingers mooring the boat, the local rooster was voted to the dump to crow as much as he likes with his mates, Caleb left the island 'for good' for the 7th time (yeah, right), the island lost its paramedic but nurse M-E renewed her contract for 2 more years! And so much more.... Amazing what can happen in such a short time on a speck of land with 150 inhabitants in the middle of the north-western Caribbean Sea!

Here is a glimpse of some of the "good times, good times" as Swaby always says...

Paradise Divers Team 2007

How the team barely changes over the years.... Ann, Marc, Mathieu, Sabine and I taking refuge from a brief rain storm. If Vince was there instead of Mathieu (and our teeth weren't quite as long) it could have been 2001 :-)

Southern Cross Friday night beach bash

Check out the amazing sunset at the SCC dock party... love the way the sun reflects off the tidal flats!

A couple of shots courtesy of Mary Ellen

Caleb, John and Peter

Breezy, Peter, Mary Ellen, Suzanne, me

Villa 1 Iggy - yet to be named and Kathy and Paul in their usual afternoon hangout - the hammocks!

Caleb, Ron and Addy toasting Liz who we all missed hanging out with at Beach Nuts bar. Go Flyers! Oops, sorry too late... I know, too late for the Leafs as well:-(

Ben's long but humorous dive briefing...

Below are a few shots that I took on the odd dive that I managed to take my camera down with me, and no I didn't flood my camera this trip!
There is one of many squid that we saw while diving the south side most of my trip!
And our Little Cayman reef resident the pipe-horse... supposedly rare sightings these days but we found 4 different ones...
A red and white striped ribbon worm - a new species for me!
The beautiful juvenile yellow-tail damselfish which grows up to be much less brilliantly-coloured and does indeed eventually develop a yellow tail...
A peacock flounder hiding on the sand.
Lastly and most excitingly, Ann found this white seahorse on Black Hole! Bravo!

Sub-marine photos...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize 2006

I just spent 8 glorious days in some country that most people aren't really sure where it is located. Belize. Some say central America, some say western Caribbean. Anyway, it is just south of the Yucatan penninsula of Mexico. Actually, Ambergris Caye, the island I stayed on is geographically part of the Yucatan but the Mayans dug a trench hundreds of years ago to separate it from Mexico so now it is kind of a man-made island, and is in the northern part of this small country.
I went to visit a friend that I worked with on Little Cayman - you will see many pics of her below. More than she will care for actually but that is not my problem.
Here are a few pics that I took on the trip. Unfortunately for me it poured rain most of the time I was there, but at least it was warm and the mozzies were few. The diving was very nice out at the atolls, not so good off of Ambergris Caye, but any dive is a good dive as far as I am concerned!
The pic below was taken on my last night at BC's, the beach bar that I met Nicole at the day I arrived, and the bar I spent many a rainy afternoon at, and the bar that Stacey and I went to after our last dinner together. Carlo, Oscar, Ernie. Thanks for the Belikins!!!

Just a couple of shots at Stacey's house. Note the dog is very very dangerous and rips off limbs at will. At least that is Stacey's story to those who will listen. She is actually quite sedentary (and greasy, yuck) and had to learn to like the Beggin Strips I brought down to keep her from biting me. What kind of dog doesn't immediately devour a Beggin Strip?? Darby (real name is Darcy but my other friend Stacie from Grand Cayman will understand the mispronunciation!)

The other shot is a view from the back deck of the house.

Stacey's wild and cracy friend Nicole overlapped with my stay for a few days, and we went to a great tapas restaurant, Casa Picasso, to celebrate Nicole's final departure. So, here we are before dinner enjoying a few martinis perfected by Duane. I am sure that was his most fun night in a very long time!

This Christmas tree, adorned by a an octopus and various other tropical stuffed animals was assembled by Stacey, obviously rather last moment and in a rush - just kidding. The diving video in the background is played 24-7 (at least when the office is open) and Stacey knows which individual scene is being played by the background music now that she has been listening to it for almost 2 months!

Hello, may I help you? Taxi, excursion, towels?
Oh, sorry, I am taking off to Monkey Bites for lunch. Bye-bye now. And I do mean now.

Here's a shot for Marc and Sabine - your sister resort in downtown San Pedro! What you see is what you get!

Here are a couple shots of San Pedro's main drag - this was at the beginning of my trip... As the week went on and it rarely stopped raining, the mostly sand roads became more pot-holed, water covered and made a taxi, bike, or golf-cart ride a VERY slow process. It was faster to walk barefoot and cleaner as the flip-flops didn't deposit as much sand and mud on the back of the legs and shorts that way!!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Belize Underwater Shots

Indigo hamlets were everywhere at Turneffe atoll! I only saw a few in 4.5 years on Little Cayman... Posted by Picasa

A colony of sea rod basket stars! I only ever saw one at Lea Lea's Lookout on LC although I scoured the reef for another for years. This was the first thing I found on my first dive as soon as I got to the wall at Turneffe atoll. Posted by Picasa

This appears to be a mollusc encrusted by a sponge clinging to a soft coral?!?

A porkfish! I never saw these on LC although a couple of dive guests claimed they did.. (but I have my doubts!) Posted by Picasa

Here are a couple of shots of a nurse-shark feed that our divemaster conducted off of Ambergris Caye - there were 8 sharks partaking in the 'fun' and afterward we held them and scratched their full bellies...
 Posted by Picasa

These are my favorite sponges - they look like small stalagmites, or even tastier ice-cream treats! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Dave and Tia do T.O.

LC Dave drove up to Canada from Florida a couple of weeks ago for a visit and a chance to take a break before he starts his new kitesurfing job in Cape Fear, NC. At first there was no wind for any kitesurfing here, then the wind picked way up and it was way too freaking cold!!!! Oh well, the Molson Canadian were even colder.

My friend Aziz was growing a hayfield in his small front yard in Cabbagetown so we whipper-snippered it down a few inches.... see before and after shots!

Check out the lawn! Tia and Chachi were very content to stand around and watch.........

Hanging out at an outdoor pub near the Beaches. Tia was desperate to join us on the deck, but the nasty waitress with the fly that was down wouldn't let her come up:-(

Sunday, May 14, 2006

I went 'home' to Little Cayman recently and caught up with a lot of the old friends who still work and live on the island... Of course nothing changes quickly there - a few strange faces and a huge house now stands where Suzy's cottage teetered on the sand previously beside the Conch Club.
The chickens are still living at the dump, the iguanas are bountiful, the road is in worse condition, and there is a nice new ambulance that Andrew drives around looking for action. Oh yeah, there are also babies everywhere! Thanks to Conch Club Divers staff, Liz and Tim for allowing me to dive from Sea-Esta and reunite with the critters under the sea surface. Thanks Marc and Sabine for the stay at Paradise Villas! The following is an assortment of photos that I took during the 2 weeks. Hope you like. ~R

Mathieu is now in his second year of air breathing!!!

Island Views

Sub-marine photos!!!

For those of you like KD and Mike B who would rather see photos of the underwater world, rather than mi amigos on the island, here are a few pics that I managed to take on my trip.

A bit out of season as far as their name goes, but this Christmas tree worm lives up to its name!

We saw a few of these pipefish - relatives of the seahorse - in the sand in J-Bay!

Here is a juvenile spotted drum frantically swmming around and trying to catch those little translucent mysid shrimp for dinner!!

Mixing Bowl has always been a great site for finding all sorts of creatures - this is the male yellowhead jawfish incubating its mate's eggs in its mouth until they hatch into miniature little jawfish..

This was a very koool find at Coconut Walk - a spiny lobster seeking refuge in a barrel sponge shaped like a heart. Too bad Valentine's Day has passed!