Day 1, Little Cayman Beach Resort: Well Worth The Hassle
It took 3 planes and 32 hours to get to Little Cayman Beach Resort in the Cayman Sister Islands, but it’s well worth the hassle for a scuba diver and scuba writer like me.
It’s 84 degrees in the sun and 80 in the Caribbean to dive Bloody Bay Wall, 3000′ deep and home to sharks, barracudas, turtles, grouper, parrotfish, et.al. #MarinScubaClub
Day 2, Little Cayman Beach Resort: Perfect Weather, Perfect Diving
The weather here this time of year is spectacular and perfect for diving. Hard to believe it can be 78-80 degrees even when you’re down 80 or 100 feet. SF Bay and Monterey temperatures, by comparison, are typically 48-53. And as you can see, it’s even in the low-mid 70s at night!
Scuba diving is sort of like sex. Even when it’s bad. It’s pretty, PRETTY good. In our first two days, we went from lots of wind on the surface with currents below to calmer seas today overall. But diving is all about making adjustments for mask leaks, mask pinch, mask fogging, not adding enough lead weights to be “weightless”, ears not equalizing, et.al. If you pay attention, they’re all easy to fix… Tomorrow, Scuba photos! Stay tuned.
Day 3, Little Cayman Beach Resort: Prescription Dive Masks
This was our third day of three-dives-per-day with a group of 11 from the MarinScubaClub.org with Reef Divers at Clearly Cayman. We’re all in our 60s and 70s, so most of us are wearing masks with either prescription lenses for single vision or bifocals. Hey, whatever works… My problem is that my new mask fogged up pretty much every dive the first two days, but I finally got the protocol correct.
At this age, we all still cherish scuba diving. I love it because I can escape to a silent world where I only hear my regulator breathing bubbles, float weightlessly up and down sheer walls, see the sun silhouetting a diver above me, view beautiful coral heads, and interact with all kinds of fish. Best of all, I get to share my stories as a scuba copywriter.
Today, I saw my first lion fish, plus sea turtles, a large nurse shark, barracuda, squirrel fish, trumpetfish, blue tang, spotted eagle rays, parrotfish, balloonfish, fairy basslet, French angelfish and Nassau groupers. Some areas even looked like aquariums because of the number of fish congregated on one reef.
It was one of the best days of diving in my life with 78-82 degree water, 84 degree air, some trade winds, a bit of current, great food, and great camaraderie. Just a real pleasure all around.
Little Cayman Resort, Day 4: “The Pool Is Open…”
The #1 diving safety rule is, “Plan your dive and dive your plan”. This includes a white board briefing prior to each dip by one of our two divemasters who shows us the position of the board, where the Bloody Bay Wall is in relation to it, and what underwater landmarks by which we’ll navigate. When the briefings end, the divemasters smile and announce, “The pool is open”.
Today’s highlights included a giant sea turtle wedged between some coral chomping away at some sponge, fish inside barrel sponges, a stray nurse shark, two huge French Angelfish again (similar to yesterday), and all kinds of small colorful tropical fish. The dive crew has been fantastic here at #LittleCaymanBeachResort, offering valet service — this means that you walk to the back of the boat, sit down, put on your fins, and they’ll schlep your 35-40-lb. tank with weights and BC, put it on the bench behind you, and all you have to do is strap in, stand up, and take one giant stride into the warm water. This truly spoils us compared to other dive operations.
Little Cayman Resort, Day 5: “Wow… Amazing… Incredible…”
I’m rapidly running out of adjectives to describe how beautiful, wonderful, gorgeous, and excellent this resort, the hotel staff, the food, the camaraderie of 75 divers from clubs across the U.S., the dive crew, and especially the dive sites are down here in the middle of the Caribbean.
The Cayman Islands are situated about 500 miles south of Miami, 150 west of Jamaica, and west of Hispañola — all about half-way between Cuba and Cozumel.
Grand Cayman is the main island, best known as the birthplace of recreational Caribbean diving in 1958. Stingray City preceded it in 1951, but it didn’t become the “must-see-site” on the island until the 1980s when cruise ships discovered it for a shore excursion. Now, between the three islands including Cayman Brac and Little Cayman where I’ve been dipping my toes in the water, there are 365 moored dive sites — one for each day of the year.
Today, we also descended to a 330-foot-long Russian frigate that had been deliberately scuttled years ago and sunk as a wreck off of Cayman Brac to create an artificial reef. It was later renamed the “Captain Keith Tibbetts” after a prominent Little Cayman island family. #LittleCayanResortRocks
This was one of the largest wrecks I’ve dived and it was quite impressive because it’s mostly intact and is about 30 to 90 feet below the surface.
Little Cayman Beach Resort, Day 6: “Eat, Dive, Drink, Sleep”
Our final day of diving was welcomed by another perfect day in paradise: 84-degree air and 80-degree water both on the surface and below. Our #MarinScubaClub group has dwindled from 10 members on most dives down to 7 on today’s two excursions which have to be completed 18 hours before our Saturday departure to ensure there are no nitrogen bubbles in our bloodstreams, which could cause “The Bends”.
There are about 60 moored dive sites on Little Cayman which protects Bloody Bay Reef from repetitive anchor and reef damage. Ironically, a great many of the sites we’ve visited have alliterative names such as: Sara’s Set (named after a nude sunbather who was a favorite of some scuba boat captains), Lea Lea’s, Joy’s Joy, Cumber’s Coves, Barracuda Bight, Great Wall West, et.al.
Today’s first dive featured a slightly rolling sea at Lea Lea’s, the largest lobster I’ve ever seen that wasn’t accompanied by a cup of clarified butter, a few large sea turtles munching on sponges, a beautiful coral swim through, and a barracuda.
The second dive at Jackson’s Reef and the 17th dive of our week had more lobsters, a big crab, more turtles, a 6’ reef shark, two barracuda, and hundreds of small to medium-sized fish in an aquarium-type setting over one of the coral bommies. Typically, fish avoid divers; these were so friendly, they let me approach several times to snap photos and didn’t ever flinch. The only thing we didn’t see this week was a moray eel, but I’ve seen plenty in other venues.
In all #LittleCaymanBeachResort, part of the #ClearlyCaymanDivePackages, was a great place to visit: great food, clean rooms, relaxing pool, hot tub, beachfront hammocks, excellent dive shop, and wonderful diving with valet service crew. Gil Bob, a scuba writer and scuba diver, says “Two thumbs up!”
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