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March 27, 2017
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Diving
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Grand Cayman Diving

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Who Read This

Grand Cayman offers some of the best diving in the Caribbean, and some world class wall dives.

 

In 2016 the Islands appeared in the top two for the following readers’ choice awards by Scuba Diving Magazine; Best Wall Dives (#2), Best Dive Sites (#2), Best Wreck Diving (#2), Best Beaches (#1), Best Dive Operators (#2) and Best Dive Resort (Sunset House #1)! It was also voted number two in the Best Overall Diving in the Caribbean/Atlantic region.

 

World Class Diving Conditions

The flattened tops of underwater mountains, the landmass of each island barely breaks the surface, but below water the steep sides of these “mountains” become the underwater walls for which the islands are famed. These walls descend almost vertically into the abyss of the Cayman Trench, reaching depths in excess of 25,000 feet.
 

Due to the Cayman Islands tropical climate and year round warm water temperatures (between 78 and 84 degrees year round), these walls are richly covered with an abundance of corals and sponges. The coral in turn provides food and shelter to a huge diversity of marine life.

 

Ocean currents flow past the islands, bringing clear, clean water, rich in nutrients. The flat terrain and absence of rivers or streams on land mean that there is no run off to cloud the water or deposit silt on coral reefs, so the visibility averages 100 feet or more.

 

Conditions for diving are good year round and, whatever the weather conditions, being small islands, even if the seas are rough on one shore, it is always possible to get to another, more sheltered area.

 

Dive Operators and Dive Trips

With over 40 dive operators doing business on Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac and dive staff from around the world, you will find the quality of service and teaching to be excellent. There is ample opportunity for experienced divers explore the reefs and walls and for beginners to try it out for the first time or enroll on a certification course.

 

Certified divers are free to join boat dives or navigate shore dives with a buddy. Two tank boat dives are a great way to get out on the water and explore new dive sites. Good dive operators will set up your gear, provide water and snacks and give a safety briefing before you enter the water. A dive instructor will lead both dives, they’ll know where they’re going and be able to show you the best that a dive site has to offer. Your first dive will be the deepest, and then after a suitable interval break you will jump back in to explore a second site. You’ll emerge feeling exhilarated and exhausted, but ready to chat about the dives over a well deserved drink before heading home for an early night!

 

Protecting the Underwater World

The Cayman dive industry has not just been receiving awards; it’s also continuing to do its best to protect its most precious resource. Cayman is hyper-aware of the importance of the coral reefs to not only the island but also its waters and dive industry. In 2016 Cayman introduced its first coral nurseries with the aim of growing coral to be used to help repair damaged reefs as well as develop new reef systems. In addition, Cayman is also actively pursuing its lionfish culling programme by encouraging divers and dive operators to remove as many lionfish from Cayman waters as possible. Read our article on the Lionfish Problem in Cayman for more information.

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Fun Facts
  • Dive Cayman's newest wreck!
    The former submarine rescue ship, Ex-USS Kittiwake, was successfully laid to rest after 54 years of service off Seven Mile Beach on 3 January 2011. Marvel at the spectacle of Cayman's 'newest' wreck!
  • 'He hath founded it upon the seas'
    For more than 100 years, shipbuilding was a major source of income in Cayman and between 1900 -1950 more than 280 vessels were built on all three of our islands.
  • Cayman is a top 'winter' vacation!
    The New York Times knows what we already know – that Cayman is one of the top winter destinations in the world! We made it into the Times 10 Winter Getaways to Suit Every Age, January 2012.
  • Cayman Islands on the map
    The Cayman Islands are part of the Cayman Ridge, situated 150 miles south of Cuba and 180 miles west of Jamaica, in the central Caribbean.
  • Cayman Islands voted "Friendliest Destination"
    Three cheers for Cayman hospitality! With more than 150,000 votes cast, the Cayman Islands won "Friendliest Destination" in Caribbean Travel + Life Magazine's annual Best of the Caribbean issue.
  • Did you know ...?
    There are more than 449 banks and 115 trust companies licensed in the Cayman Islands!
  • How long is Seven Mile Beach?
    No, its not seven miles. Despite its name, Seven Mile Beach is actually 5.5 miles long. The island itself is only 22 miles long!
  • Our National Symbols
    A poll was held in 1996 and as a result, the Cayman parrot was voted national bird of Cayman, wild banana orchid as the national flower and the silver thatch palm as official national tree.
  • Short History of Stingray City
    Locals say stingrays began gathering in the area decades ago when fishermen cleaned their fish in the shallows. Stingrays would come to feast on discarded fish guts. Now they are hand-fed by visitors!
  • Stock up on supplies!
    Remember to make a supermarket your first stop in Cayman if you arrive on a Saturday as all shops are closed on Sundays.
  • Support our Boobies!
    Also known as "Boobies", the Booby Bird can be found in Cayman and were given their name from the Spanish slang term 'bobo', meaning 'dunce'.
  • To tip or not to tip?
    Virtually every restaurant in the Cayman Islands adds a 10% to 15% service charge in lieu of tipping, so check your bill! Tips are always welcome in the absence of a charge or for 'cash' services.
  • Travel with spare change
    Usual bus fare is CI$2 per journey or CI$3 if you take a long trip like George Town to East End or North Side. Listen for the driver beeping to check if you need a ride!
  • What does 'Cayman' mean?
    It means 'crocodile' - Sir Francis Drake arrived in 1586 and noted a sea serpent 12 feet long which was known as a 'caiman' by natives. It was actually an alligator but the name stuck to the islands!