|Diving In the Caribbean
Very few Caymanians know how
to swim, much less scuba dive, and they live next to the most beautiful underwater
paradise in the world. So when you visit any island in the Caribbean and dont scuba
dive or snorkel the outlying reefs, you are missing much of the beauty in the vast
Caribbean Sea. I have taught many Caymanians how to Scuba dive and snorkel and have been
rewarded with the looks of wonder and amazement on their faces as they discovered their
very own paradise. These days some of the best and proudest Dive Masters in the Cayman
Islands are Caymanians.
I learned to Scuba dive at
the age of 40 and after eight years, Dive Master training, over 600 dives, mostly working
the boats at the old Spanish Cove in Grand Cayman and 6 diver rescues, I believe that
anyone who wants to tour the Caribbean should take up the sport. You dont even have
to swim or buy a lot of equipment, you just need to get certified.
A NAUI or PADI
certification course can take between 1 and 6 weeks, depending on the class intensity.
These courses are offered all over the country but most Dive Masters will tell you that
the best way to learn is " on island", for two reasons. Learning in a swimming
pool or lake is not the same as in the ocean. Most problems new divers have are not
related to being underwater, but result from their never being on the ocean in a small
dive boat. The safest place is in the water.
The other reason is that
part of your instruction relates to building your confidence and this comes from your
instructor. The best instructors are at the dive resorts and the best diving in the
Caribbean is the Cayman Islands, especially Little Cayman.
The Cayman Islands are on
the tip of the massive Cayman Trench with depths of 20,000 feet and more, resulting in an
upsurge nourishing sea life and the creation of magnificent reefs. "Wall" dives
of 100 feet or more are offered, as well as the shallow reef dives which most experienced
divers prefer. Jamaica is similarly situated but the Jamaican seas have been ravished by
the people. The reefs are dying and the sea life has moved on.
Years ago, the Cayman Islands government set aside most of the
shore line and the North and South Sounds, as well as the surrounding reefs, as a national
reserve, seriously restricting the removal of sea life
from the waters, alive or dead. This has resulted in the pristine waters
and thriving reefs which exist today. If you want to learn to Scuba dive, this is the
Many of the dive resorts
offer one or two week packages with a certification course included, which, in my mind, is
the best way to go. Your diving is free as its included in the cost of the package.
The course is intensive, but will enhance your vacation, as floating under the water at 40
feet for 40 minutes is the most relaxing experience in the world.
For the wary, all dive
locations offer a "Resort Course" which provides an hour instruction in shallow
waters and allows you to dive with a Dive Master to depths up to 40 feet. Its the
best way to overcome any apprehension and to see if this is for you. There is also Bloody
Bay off Little Cayman where the "Wall" starts at a depth of 10 feet so you can
snorkel out and enjoy a wall dive without ever having to take a course. There is no place
like it in the world.