Ty Alley | Searaiders

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Ty Alley | Searaiders
Ty Alley | Searaiders
dive watch. Back in the mid-'80s the dive watch was
still the main means of tracking bottom time. Sure digital bottom timers were available, but the watch is what
marked you as a diver. As a pilot has his wings, a diver
has his watch. It was the constant reminder, right there
on your wrist that you were a diver, and that was a
very satisfying feeling.
One day, many years later, I found myself exploring the
internet in search of vintage dive watches. Watches like
those that I remembered seeing back during my early
days of dive training, but some going back even further. Back to the days when I was still playing with
plastic frogmen and submarines, in the pool and
bath. That's when I discovered DOXA.
Whenever I would find a vintage diver previously unknown to me, I would then search to see if the company still existed. That was the time the 300T was being reissued, so I was completely surprised to find that
DOXA was still around and that a version of their vin-
tage orange-faced dive watch was still available. Unfortunately for me it was sold out, so I had to keep my
Image 1 | Ty Alley
When I was putting this book together I considered
adding a few stories about ordinary people to contrast
hopes up that we'd see another version soon.
I continued to keep tabs on DOXA as the years progressed and as I did, I learned of the "Official DOXA
those of the legends. I wanted to illustrate the fact that
Discussion Forum". For those of you who may not
an adventure as soon as they strap on a tank and dive
share photos, opinions, stories and any other type of
diving is such an amazing sport that anyone can have
below the ocean. When I read Ty’s report on the trip he
made to the Grand Caymen with a couple of guys from
the DOXA watch forum, I knew that I just had to include
it. It really is the sort of trip and adventure that most
divers would like to be on and clearly demonstrates all
the good things about diving. Here’s Ty’s story:
know, the forum is a place where DOXA enthusiasts
information typically relative to DOXA. While I had visited other "general" dive watch forums, what really captivated me was the enthusiasm the members of
the DOXA Forum had for the brand. I had never seen
anything like it. The other dive watch forums, definitely
had their fare share of active members, but nothing like
Diving has always been a big part of my life. Going
back to my earliest memories, well before the age of
three, I remember always wanting to be a diver. In fact,
I remember being more excited earning my Open Water
Diver Certification at the age of twelve, than earning my
drivers license at the age of 15. After all, when driving,
you typically only go from point A to point B, but with
diving...you can go anywhere in the world.
As I rose through the recreational ranks of scuba,
equipment evolved. Pieces of gear were upgraded and
improved but the one thing that never left me, was the
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Image 2 | DOXA “goodies”
Image 3 | Ty Alley, Randy Anderson, Gavin Thorsrud
what I found at DOXA. The really impressive part was
of Grand Cayman. The East End is the quiet side of the
the number of DOXA owners who were regular di-
island, removed from the Cruise Ship crowds, massive
vers. Folks passionate about a historical, vintage styled
hotels and just tourist fodder in general. It's quiet and
dive watch, who regularly dive...sounds like my kind of
because less traveled, the diving is supposed to be
people.
exceptional, but I had to experience it for myself.
So after settling into my new internet "home" an idea
The very first opportunity that I had to visit, I took it. As
began to emerge. What if there was some type of rally
luck would have it DOXA, had just opened their first
for DOXAs? Now, it's common for forum members to
retailer there on the Island too. This was starting to
meet somewhere and share their collections over a
seem like the perfect place, but I still wasn't sure. Well
pizza or beer, but what if there was an event at a world
let me tell you, the diving was amazing, the accommo-
class diving location, where we could actually go diving
dations at Compass Point were amazing and I knew
with the watches that we all collect and love? Now that
is something that I would love to attend, and I had a
good feeling that I wouldn't be the only one either. Now the question was, where?
after visiting Landmark Jeweler's, the first Authorizer
Dealer for the DOXA Sub anywhere in the world.....I had
found my place!
Once home, and with a brand new DOXA in hand, I was
Going back to diving taking you anywhere in the world,
excited to share my recent adventure with the folks
I've been able to make friends with people all over the
back on the forum. I posted a thread proposing the
planet. One of those places was Grand Cayman.
Through training and instruction, I became friends with
the general manager of Ocean Frontiers on the East End
idea and the response was great. Now to put everything
in place. The months rolled by and everything came
together. I decided to hold the event in November to
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Image 4 | The Three Sisters
possi-
Knowing those guys were having all the fun, it seemed
ble. Nothing could be worse than to have everyone ex-
like forever before the dive boat returned. It did even-
cited and ready to go, only to have a hurricane blow in
tually make it back to the mooring, so I headed down
and ruin everything. Definitely better safe than sorry in
stairs to meet the returning divers. Now understand, I
avoid
the
hurricane
season
as
much
as
this case.
had never met Randy or Gavin in person, so I had no
idea as to what either of them looked like. Up until
November first came faster than imagined and before I
now, we were just faceless screen names from the
knew it I was on the ground in Grand Cayman. Meeting
DOXA forum, but that was about to change.
me there were forum members; Randy Anderson and
Gavin Thorsrud. We had a night dive planned for that
The first skiff returned but no Gavin or Randy, so I
first day but since my flight was delayed I missed the
waited. The next boat arrived, "Is there a Gavin
dive boat. All I could do was stand on my balcony and
or Randy aboard?" I asked. The divers just shuffled
watch the lights of the dive boat off in the dis-
past, not saying much. Then I hear "You need to know
tance. Although disappointed, because the night dives
the time?" "No, I'm looking for...." my words were cut
there are spectacular, it did give me the opportunity to
short by a dive light illuminating a bright orange, T-
unpack, settle in and check out the great gifts that
Graph Pro! I can't think of a better way to make an into-
DOXA sent as a gesture of support.
duction than with a DOXA! That was great!!
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Alright, so now that we'd met, it was time to talk
watches. There was a great representation of the Sub
line. Randy brought his 300T reissue Divingstar, TGraph Pro, Caribbean GMT and 750T Pro. Gavin had his
blue...totally unreal.
After we splashed in and dropped down the mooring
line, we started out on top of the wall and dropped into
600T Pro and I had my COSC 750T "Double R" Carrib-
a crack at 65 ft. The crack turned into a tunnel-like
you get to see DOXAs that you may have never seen
through went for about 25 yards and then opened up at
before. Until then, I'd never seen anything but regular
100 ft right on the side of the wall. Out on the wall,
750Ts.
hard corals, soft corals sponges, lobster, eels and
bean. That's another cool thing about meets like this,
cave, the dive masters call a swim-through. The swim-
thousands of tropical fish call the place home. There is
Well, after talking watches and swapping diving stories,
never a lack of something to see but you better not get
we decided to call it a night. I went back to my room
too caught up in the scenery or else you may find your-
and crashed knowing that the morning would come
self twenty feet deeper than you had originally
early and the day would be maxed-out diving, relaxing
and generally having a blast.
planned. The walls are breath taking, but it's crucial to
pay very close attention to your depth. After all, the
next stop is 3,000 feet down.
Wow, did the next morning ever come early. I woke up
around 04:00 hrs, unable to sleep...excited as a kid on
The second dive of the day took us to a reef site called
Christmas morning. We met at the dock at 07:45 to
"Ironshore Gardens" which was much shallower than
begin the adventure. Our first dive took us to a wall
our first wall dive of the day. The Gardens were a series
dive called "The Three Sisters".
If you've never dove
of massive coral heads and out-croppings, loaded with
Grand Cayman the wall dives are phenomenal. They are
fish, lobster and a green moray eel or two. The coral
a sheer face of coral that drops straight down to 3,000
ft.
You
look
down
and
it's
nothing
but
deep
structures are so amazing that they almost seem unreal. Unreal like something created in a fantasy theme
Image 5 | Ironshore Gardens
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trying to find the way back to his burrow.
Now that
was a cherished sight, seeing an octopus out in
the open in broad daylight. Stingray City - It's definitely
about the rays, but if you keep a close eye out, it's
really about so much more.
With Stingray City now in our log books, it was time to
eat and call it a day. We were tired, sun drenched but
full of excitement for what lie ahead. It was the first full
day of diving but what a day, a perfect day...diving,
dining and hanging out with what are now good
friends. For me, it doesn't get any better than this, or
does it? With two more days of diving and exploring
the island remaining, who knows what we may discover.
With the excitement of the day still rolling through my
head, sleep didn't come easy. Even trying to finish
reading
Clive
Cussler's
Iceberg wasn't distraction
enough. Cussler's hero Dirk Pitt, always wears his orange faced DOXA in all of his adventures. The perfect
reading material for a trip like this and for any one who
Image 6 | Stingray City
park. You almost feel like you're exploring a lost civilization submerged deep beneath the waves, wondering
what mysteries may lie around the next bend.
After the morning dives, we grabbed a bite to eat and
rested a bit knowing the diving wasn't over for the day.
Our next dive was a trip to "Stingray City". Stingray City,
for those unaware, is a place where masses of stingrays
live and feed. Once we splashed in, it didn't take
long for the welcoming party to arrive. That welcoming
party being the smaller male rays and the larger female
rays. Both of which flocked to the squid being dispersed by the dive masters.
Once the rays had their fill, we ventured out to explore
the smaller coral heads around "the city". At first I didn't think there was that much to be seen. After all, we
were only in 12 feet of water but my mind was quickly
changed. From out of the distance came a green sea
turtle, cruising by out of curiosity. Amazingly, just as
soon as he appeared he was then again gone, back to
the concealment of the sea. Still relishing the encounter
with the turtle, something caught my eye out of the
corner of my mask. It was as octopus scuttling along
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Image 7 | Off the wall
Image 8 | Jack McKinney’s Canyons
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Image 9 | Octopus at Stingray City
shares the passion for the DOXA SUB.
the new DOXAs awaiting us at Landmark Jewelers. We
Well, finally sleep did arrive, but excitement and antici-
right hand drive toaster on wheels, and set off for
climbed into our rental car, which looked more like a
pation rattled me out of bed at 05:15. Not a problem
George Town. Since Grand Cayman is a British Overseas
breakfast and reload the camera for today's odys-
road. The first time I got behind the wheel, I thought
though, as it allowed plenty of time to eat a bit of
Territory, all driving is done on the left hand side of the
sey. Our skiff departed for it's rendezvous with the dive
"Dear God, there's no way I'm getting off this island
up a bit, as Hurricane Noel let us know that he'd re-
mighty, three-cylinder Diahtsu became quite fun to
boat Eastern Skies around 07:45. The seas were picking
cently visited the area. Not bad, but just enough to say
alive". Fortunately you learn rather quickly, and the
drive.
"I was there".
Again two dives were on our schedule for the morning. A deep wall dive for the first and then a more shallow reef dive for the second. The first dive took us
to "Jack McKinney's Canyons". Jack McKinney, now deceased, is a highly revered, underwater photographer
and videographer. The series of swim-throughs, opening up on the sheer face of the wall, made it one of his
favorite sites.
The second dive of the morning took us to Tarpon Terrace. Tarpon abound in Grand Cayman and this is one
of the spots they frequent. This site's a series of massive coral heads, all about 40 feet tall and interlaced
with arches, smaller swim-throughs and large expanses
of sand. There's much to explore on this site but the
best part of all, is to exit a swim through or round a
bend and see 8 to 10, four foot long tarpon, swaying
gently in the surge. It's a sight beyond beauty.
Hard to believe that our second day of diving was already behind us, but it was time to embark on a new
adventure. An adventure into George Town to examine
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Image 10 | Breezes
shrimp, fish & chips...all excellent choices and all very
fit for the eating. Even the drinks were beyond awe-
some and I'm not usually one for tropical cocktails.
However, when in Rome.... My choice was the Cayman
Lemonade, served up right, in a great big hurricane
glass. Makes me thirsty now just thinking about 'em!
So, with the sun going down, we decided to head back
to the East End. We were anxious to see how the photos
from today's dives turned out, plus driving after dark
on the wrong side of the road can prove to be a bit
challenging. The last thing we needed to do was wreck
the "toaster" as they'd probably never let us off of the
island. Come to think of it, that might not be such a
bad thing.
The photos turned out great but after a full day's worth
of excitement, we decided to turn in a bit early. Once
Image 11 | Ascending Canyons
With a few wrong turns and several shouts of "Randy,
wrong lane!" we finally made it Landmark Jewelers. If
you're ever in Grand Cayman, you have to stop in and
say hello. They are the nicest bunch of people there,
even if you aren't in the market for jewelry. Being as
excited as I was about the diving, I neglected to call
ahead to let Landmark know that we were coming. As
my luck would have it, the guy that I'd dealt with before, Adam, wasn't in. Oh well, we're told we could possibly catch him later, so we decide to go find some
lunch.
The other good thing about Cayman, aside from the
diving and friendly people, is the food. So, in serious
need of some great food, we headed up stairs to
Breezes. Once again, I'm not disappointed. This place
was
excellent!!
Caribbean-style
BBQ
ribs,
boiled
Image 12 | DOXA SUBs
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Image 13 | Lodge Anchor
settled in, I turned on the TV and what happened to be
masses, which broke from the wall thousands of years
on the tube? Back-to-back features of Clive Cussler's
ago, forming two huge pinnacles. In 1794, ten Mer-
Sahara. There Dirk is wearing his orange faced DOXA,
right on the silver screen. To catch Sahara during a
DOXA rally, talk about expert timing.
Days four and five took us to dive sites, High Rock Drop
Off, Maggie's Maze, Crushers's Wall, and Lodge Anchor. As with all the sites around Grand Cayman, each
one offers something different. High Rock Drop off is a
chant ships headed from Brittain to Jamaica, all ran
aground on the reef at the East End. The dive site
Lodge Anchor, provides the opportunity to see one of
the ten ship's anchors, lodged in the reef. It's massive
coral encrusted chain, snaking across the reef, leads
you to the anchor. Unmoved since 1794.
With day five's diving now behind us, it's hard to believe
fantastic wall dive where orange and yellow tube
the diving part of our trip is now over. On trips like
sponges, red barrel sponges and purple sea fans, deli-
these, it seems there's never enough time. With what
the most dramatic photo opportunities, as the arches
only a few hours ago, I was waiting for the boat to re-
and swim-throughs create a labrynth of coral.
turn from the night dive. Well, if what they say is true
cately adorn the walls. Maggies Maze offers some of
Crusher's Wall is unique in that there are two large
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little time there is, it flies by in a flash. It seems that
"time flies when you're having fun", we must be doing
something right. I blinked and the trip was as good as
gone.
few more Cayman Lemonades. Since Adam was technically still on his honeymoon, he and his wife joined us
While our diving may be over, the adventure certainly
at the table. We stayed nearly 'til closing, taking in one
isn't. After all, we still haven't experienced Landmark
last time, the sights and sounds that are uniquely
Jeweler's to it's fullest extent, so we had to go
Grand Cayman.
back. After negotiating the streets of George Town, we
arrived at our destination. What a surprise, Adam was
there and had come in from his Honeymoon to give the
Searaiders a bit of VIP treatment at the DOXA case. You
can't ask for better than that.
Searaider 2007 proved to be a sucess and it paved the
way for many Searaider rallies to come. What does the
future hold? No one really knows, but I'm hoping a lot
more of the same, as this event is something that every
DOXA enthusiast should be able to experience. DOXAs
In the case were DOXA SUB 750Ts. All were officially
certified chronometers, which is a rare and unique vari-
and diving, does it really get any better?
ant of the standard SUB 750Ts. Each variant was repre-
One final thought, of all the diving, shopping, dining
sented, the MilShark, the Divingstar, the Sharkhunter
and just in general, having fun; the thing that means
and the Pro. The only thing missing was the Caribbean,
the most to me are the people that you meet on a trip
but that's a story for another day. The show stopper of
the night was the Divingstar with it's vivid yellow
dial. In fact it was such a show stopper, that Randy and
Gavin both whipped out their credit cards and each
secured a Divingstar for their own collections.
like this. Before Searaider 2007, we were faceless
screen names in an internet forum. After Searaider
2007, we became a team, we became friends, we became.....the
Searaiders.
After the slips had been signed and the bracelets sized,
we headed back up to Breezes for a bite to eat and a
Image 14 | Ty Alley
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