Rough seas rock Cayman Aggressor

Passengers aboard the Cayman Aggressor liveaboard yacht got a rude awakening Saturday as a sudden overnight surge kicked up choppy seas along the coastline.

Crew member Morgan Oughton told the Cayman Compass it was not the wake-up call she was expecting at around 6am.

“We usually dock on Friday nights and we can stay here all-day Saturday to reach dock and everything. But the waves kicked up this morning [Saturday] and we were all woke up by the boat bouncing against the dock here. So that’s pretty much our ‘we got to go now,’” she said.

According to the National Weather Service weekend forecast, moderate-to-fresh northeasterly winds and rough seas were expected across the Cayman area “as a diffused cold front” was moving southeast near here.

NWS meterologist Gilbert Miller said Saturday the wave heights, based on observation, were three to five feet in the harbour with swells about two feet above those heights.

“For the next 3 days we expect winds to be northeast at 15 to 20 knots. Those speeds usually produes seas of 4 to 6 feet on the eastern side of the islands with some choppy seas in the harbour. Most models show a second cold front approaching the Cayman Islands from Thursday next week which, if it remains, will produce westerly winds and could produce rough seas in the harbour,” he said via email.

On Saturday the 120-foot yacht, which was docked in Hog Sty Bay, was tossed back and forth by the choppy waves.

A ship which had been offloading cargo, also had to beat a hasty retreat with the assistance of tugs.

The dock area was completely cleared of equipment and containers as the waves crashed onto the port.

“A cold front moved in Friday night and with it came rough seas. All operations had ceased until it subsided and it was safe to operate again,” Port Director Joseph Woods told the Cayman Compass.

He added that container vessel operations were expected to resume Sunday night.

Oughton and the crew had to move fast to save the boat from damage and free it from the moor to be able to get it out to sea.

She jumped off the vessel onto the dock while it was violently rocking, to loosen its ropes while her fellow crewmembers raised the anchor.

Oughton said there were 19 guests on the liveaboard, all of whom needed to leave.

“They all flights and everything, so we’re gonna have to get them off and all their luggage,” she said.

While she said it was not a typical Saturday morning for the crew and passengers, “we’ve done it before”.

She said this week will be a down week for the dive yacht as contractors are set to perform maintenance work on the vessel.

However, with the choppy seas, she was not sure if the contractors were going to be able to do the work, she added.

The vessel moored at Devil’s grotto to get passengers off.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now