Field Notes from the Cayman Islands, July/August 2009

For our family summer holiday, we headed to the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean with our son Zac for our long awaited “family week” aboard the Cayman Aggressor liveaboard.

The conditions were ideal for his first taste of dive trips (he’s only 6!) with calm seas and excellent visibility. It made for an excellent week’s diving and offered some fantastic photo opportunities such as Stingray City, the wall dives of Little Cayman and the “Keith Tibbetts” destroyer wreck, and forays onto the islands.

Photographically, it was a successful trip, with Amanda spending more time modelling, with some very nice images being captured. We also managed to get some great images of Zac at the surface with his SASY tank, one step away from becoming a diver.

Back on Grand Cayman, we stayed for a further 10 days based at 7 mile beach and visited a number of the island’s attractions including the turtle farm, the south shore, the eastern shore and Rum Point.

I also had time for some sporadic dives, mostly around the 7 Mile Beach area and the North Shore. – JC

<Read about this trip here>

Field Notes from the Socorro Islands, Mexico, May/June 2009

To get to the Socorros, I travelled on the excellent Solmar V liveaboard, which has a long track record of visiting the area. It’s only possible to go there during the “Socorro season” which lasts from the end of October through to the end of May.

The Socorros are a great destination for pelagic action. Whilst nothing can be “guaranteed” in diving, you can expect some great additions to your logbook (and hopefully your portfolio) such as Giant Pacific Mantas (familiar with divers), the seldom seen Mobula Ray (related to Mantas, but smaller and with a different mouth) and a spectacular selection of sharks that include Hammerheads, White Tips, Silver Tips, Silky Sharks, Galapagos Sharks, Duskies and the possibility of Tiger Sharks and even Whale Sharks.

The area is also known for Wahoo, schools of Jacks and Tuna, Bonitos and even Marlin. Bottlenose Dolphins are common and sometimes check out divers, with whales being represented by Humpbacks in season. Sporadic encounters are possible with other cetaceans, most often in the open ocean crossings between islands or en route to and from the departure point of Cabo San Lucas.

I soon learned that the Socorros are full of photographic opportunities and challenges in equal measure, with divers tending to spend a lot of time hovering in the blue, waiting for the “big things”. But seeing is one thing, getting close enough for good photography is another, especially if you plan on using a fish eye which is my lens of choice.

The Socorros are an excellent if challenging photographic destination that rewards photographers who anticipate, forward plan, and think about the best way of capturing images given the prevailing water, light conditions and the subjects encountered. And, I suppose a little bit of luck is always a good thing too, as it is with most diving.

Overall, a really good trip and highly recommended for divers and photographers alike.

<Read about this trip here>