Archives for March, 2012

A sunset in Grand Cayman can be extremely beautiful and on a sunset sail it can even be magic. There

Sunset in Grand Cayman (Steven W Smeltzer)

Sunset in Grand Cayman

are a number of companies on which you can sail and enjoy a sunset in Grand Cayman.  These range from a pirate party boat, beware of the cannons, to the more laid back cruises from Red Sail Sports. The cruises leave out of a number of locations on the west side of the island. As a professional underwater photographer and landscape photographer these sunsets are to “kill for” if you will pardon the metaphor.

Sunset in Grand Cayman (Steven W Smeltzer)

The Hand of God, Grand Cayman

The combinations of clouds, sun light and waves in this part of the globe provide an almost unreal sunset in Grand Cayman.

In fact, you will find great sunsets almost every night and outrageous sunsets about every other night. I was watching a particularly brilliant sunset and saw what I term as “The Hand of God” gently laying the sun to rest on the ocean. So go, enjoy the views and let your imagination roam. I have listed some of the better cruise operators below to view a sunset in Grand Cayman.

Sunset in Grand Cayman (Steven W Smeltzer)

Sunset Sail, Aye Calypso, Grand Cayman

 

Red Sail Sports

http://www.redsailcayman.com/modules/resqwest/display_activity_details/1398
Days: Monday and Wednesday
Price: Adults…$40.00 Children (3-11)…$20.00
Departure Location: This trip usually departs first from the beach at the Westin Resort and then the Grand Cayman Beach Suites, both on Seven Mile Beach. OR it may depart from Safe Haven Dock on the North Sound in the Seven Mile Beach area.

 

 

 

Sunset in Grand Cayman (Steven W Smeltzer)

Jolly Roger, Grand Cayman

 

 

 

Jolly Roger

Pirate Adventure Cruise: http://www.jollyrogercayman.com/excursions/
Days: Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Price: Adults…$40.00 Children (3-12)…$25.00
Departure Location: The Jolly Roger cruises depart from the South Terminal located in George Town Harbor, next to Atlantis Submarine.

Sail Cayman Ltd

http://www.caymanislands.ky/vacation_planner/eBrochure.aspx?pid=37067

Sunset in Grand Cayman (Steven W Smeltzer)

Romantic Stroll, Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

Days: Charter (5pm to 7pm)
Price: Adults…up to 10 ($350) up to 15 ($450)
Departure Location: Yacht Club dock C-31

Whichever cruise operator you choose to view a sunset in Grand Cayman you will certainly enjoy the relaxing trip. We typically stay along seven mile beach and use Red Sail Sports as they pick up from two hotels on the beach (Westin Resort and Grand Cayman Beach Suites). Also if you book your scuba diving before you arrive on the island you can get a package (from Red Sail Sports) that includes the sunset sail. Regardless of which group you choose, it is always a good idea to book off island if possible as a number of operators have special deals for booking in advance.

Sunset in Grand Cayman

After you boat picks up its guests for your cruise you will get a short safety briefing from the crew. The Red Sail boat is a really nice Catamaran with a nice web deck upon which to sit, some bench seats up front and some additional seating at the stern (back of the boat).

Sunset in Grand Cayman (Steven W Smeltzer)

Sunset Cruise, Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

The crew will have hors d’oeuvres such as chicken wings and fruit along with rum punch and assorted drinks. The sun will be about 20 or 30 minutes from setting after your briefing and you can settle down and enjoy the views.

Your cruise to view sunset in Grand Cayman will go up along Seven Mile Beach and then you will turn around and sail back down the beach. You get great views of the sunset and then after sunset you get great views of the islands. It does rain fairly often in Grand Cayman, but I can not remember very many times when we have not gone out on a cruise that was scheduled. When you get “on island” check the weather and confirm your booking and then relax.

Sunset in Grand Cayman (Steven W Smeltzer)

At Anchor, Grand Cayman

For the photographers on the cruise, if you will remember to underexpose your photos just a bit, you will get a lot better color contrasts and for those with higher end cameras you can also increase the saturation levels to further enhance the shot. But with sunsets like these you really don’t need to do much. They are fantastic “straight” from the camera.

So on your next trip to the Caymans whether you are going for Scuba Diving, Underwater Photography or just to relax remember to splurge and take a Sunset Cruise, you will certainly enjoy it.

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Overall Rating = 3.75 out of 5

Molokini Morning. Maui HawaiiMolokini Crater is one of the best dives if not the best dive on Maui. This scuba diving site is only accessible via boat and is at the remnants of an extinct volcano. The crescent of the volcano “cone” rises above the sea some 165 feet. The small island lies in the Alalakeiki Channel between the islands of Kahoolawe and Maui. The opening side of the crater faces the northwest and only a short boat ride from the Wailea side of Maui. If you are interested in some of the history around White-tip Reef Shark, Triaenodon obesus, (RÃppell, 1837), Maui Hawaii (Steven Smeltzer)Molokini Crater there is a short article written by Edward L Caum, Geology of Molokini and published in 1930. There are a couple of “plate” photographs included in the artiBlackside Hawkfish, Paracirrhites forsteri, (Bloch & Schneider, 1801), Molokai Hawaii (Steven W SMeltzer)cle and it is interesting to compare to the crater today. Molokini Crater has been a Marine Preserve(MLCD) since the summer of 1977 and features one of the most pristine hard coral reefs in Hawaii.

The ride from the Lahina side of the island takes about 45 minutes and if you tend to get sea sick, I would recommend driving about 45 minutes or an hour to the Wailea area where you can take a very easy boat ride to the crater.

I prefer scuba diving with Lahina Divers but you must take about a 45 minute boat ride to the Molokini crater. If you want you can use a scuba diving operator that leaves from the Wailea side of Maui. If you are staying in Wailea I would certainly recommend this, although the boats tend to be smaller and there is one operator on that side that I simply refer to as the “Scuba Nazi”. So be careful of the operator that you choose. Make sure you check out the reviews and the equipment used by each of the dive operators. The v-hull boats that leave the Wailea area can be quite cramped if the number of divers is more than 10 on the boat and on many of these there is little if any room to move around.

The Dive

  • Access – Moderate to Moderately Difficult to reach the site; boat only (You shouldFreckled Snake Eel, Callechelys lutea, Snyder 1904, Maui Hawaii (Steven Smeltzer) not take a boat from Lahaina if you get seasick – 45 minute boat ride); Much easier ride from Wailea side.
  • Depth to 125+ft
  • Visibility – good to excellent
  • Current – mild to extremely strong at the edges of the crater
  • Marine Species variety – good; normally White-tip Reef Sharks at about 110 feet on the far eastern edge of the crescent
  • Reef health – good to very good

Scuba Diving Molokini Crater is certainly the best boat dive on the island of Maui. You have to go to Lanai or Molokai to find better deep water scuba diving sites. The clarity of the water is usually quite good at Molokini and there are a several dive sites on the volcano on the outside of the crescent shape crater and on the inside of the crater.

  • Enenue – Inside eastern tip of the crescent
  • Middle Reef – Inside just to the east of the middle of the crescent and closer to the cone
  • Tako Flats – Inside on the western side of the crescent
  • Reef’s End – Far western end of the crescent
  • The Back Side – Outside or on the back of the crescent

Reef White Tipped Shark, Triaeonodon obesus, (Rüppell, 1837), Molokini Crater 110 ft (Steven Smeltzer)For inside the crater I like the Eastern edge – Enenue. At about 120 feet there is a series of overhangs that tend to house several White-tip Reef Sharks. As you are swimming down and back up after visiting the “condos” there is a good variety of marine species. You will find typical Bluestripe Butterflyfish, Chaetodon fremblii, Maui Hawaii (Steven W SMeltzer)butterflyfishes, wrasses, damselfishes, eels, and crustaceans all around the crater. You will also find sea turtles on a regular basis and on a very rare occasion humpback whales have been seen by scuba divers at Molokini crater.

The current can be quite strong on the outside edges of the crater, so do not go outside the crater for any reason if your group is scuba diving the “inside”. The current at the edges can take a diver quite a distance in a very short period of time. For this reason you must take a safety sausage with you on this dive and know how to use it. If you are scuba diving the inside of the crater you will rarely have much if any current and even if the seas are choppy the cone of the volcano protects the inner dive sites quite well.

High Visibility, Grand Cayman (Steven Smeltzer)In the sand flats of the crater you will often find Freckled Snake Eels, so take your time on this dive and also make sure you “look” into the distance often as you can see various types of sharks and on especially amazing dives you may even see a Humpback Whale. If you are diving in whale season (December to April/May) make sure you listen for the whale song. In February to early April I have heard literally dozens of whales singing to each other. It certainly makes the dive a lot more interesting.

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