Week 7 – Drift diving on the West Wall
February 12th – February 18th
Through the Lens – keep up with the latest encounters we are experiencing out on the boats. As a lot of you know I rarely dive without a camera, so keep up with this blog and check out whats through my lens week to week!
Week 7’s post is made up of images from two different drift dives I was fortunate enough to guide. Most drift dives entail a current that is too strong to dive against, employing the go with the flow method. Here in Cayman we rarely see strong currents so one might call these swimming dives.
Even though we are not being pushed at 3 knots by the water movement it is a nice way to explore multiple sites in a single dive. No need to turn around at your half-way point, just keep on finning and enjoy the dive.
We generally do ball to ball drifts. Meaning you start on a moored dive site and finish on another. Giving everyone the ability to use the line for their safety stops or extend their profiles to the max.
What if there is not another dive site to drift too? Well then the adventure really begins. By knowing my divers very well we determine an appropriate depth and amount of time we are going to spend diving, and then at the end all come up together. This is for safety reasons as the boat will be following our bubbles from above and will not be able to tie up anywhere.
Engines running and blue water drifting I think we making the best out of our underwater exploration.
February 12th – Ball to Ball Drift, Big Tunnels to Orange Canyon.
A large Green Moray Eel free swims along the edge of the wall.
This stretch of the West Wall has some of the must abundant sponge coverage that I see around the island, making for some very colorful wide angle opportunities.
A Lobster stands his ground.
As we finished off our drift we ran into this very curious Hawksbill that let me accompany him as I headed up for my safety stop.
As we headed for the surface I kept my distance to earn the turtles trust. These guys are vulnerable to predators when they are in mid-water.
Interacting with Turtles on the surface has got to be one of my favorite photographic opportunities.
After a couple of breaths with my new friend he was ready to head back down. Until next time my friend.
February 16th – Northwest Point Drift to open water pick-up.
Northwest Point has become known for its amazing colors, abundant fish life, hungry turtles and multiple cleaning stations that often house Black and Tiger Grouper. We were looking for the never before seen part of this dive. We wanted to see what we would find beyond the boundary of the usual dive zone. Heading North and around the point of the island we weren’t sure what to expect, but were up for the adventure for sure.
As we made our way along the wall we passed Groupers being cleaned, Ocean Trigger Fish dancing out in the blue, and enjoyed a mellow fly-by from a large Hawksbill Turtle. As we continued the dive we were greeted with huge mounds of reef literally covered in sponge life.
As we got to the edge of the North West Point dive zone massive sponge covered coral bommies were scattered around the 80ft. mark.
As we got further away from the boundaries of the dive site Lion Fish began to be a more frequent sighting.
With the intentions of having a 45 minute dive, we were unfortunately cut short. Not because of any technical issue or air consumption, but in fact due to the deepness of the point of the island. We eventually were forced to leave the level of the reef and begin to swim mid-water around the 80 ft. mark. The bottom was sandy with lots of coral heads, but appeared to be at least 120 ft. without any sign of the drop-off or wall it made me wonder what can be found at the edge of this unexplored ledge. For another day!
My drift diving buddies that made all this possible, thanks for the awesome experiences guys.
Dusty’s Week 7 Shots – Northwest Side Macro
Close-up of a Trumpet Fish.
A Yellow-lined Arrow Crab finds a safe place tucked away into a big sponge.
A Yellow-lined Arrow Crab scratches his brow.
Never over look the detail that these corals have. It might take a macro lens and a good eye but they are out there to be photographed.
Thank you everyone for checking out my work for the week. We look forward to continuing our pursuit of underwater photography/videography and sharing it with all of you along the way.
Get in touch with me. I would love to help with photography questions, or even just talk about one of the images from this Week.
If you are interested in purchasing prints of our work send me an email for cost and sizing options.
Until next time.
“I have a passion for the ocean and not only experiencing it and its inhabitants, but also documenting them, so keep your eyes open for new blog posts to keep up with my latest encounters”