Diving Cayman Brac

The way Grand Cayman used to be.

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Diving Cayman Brac

If you want to see what Grand Cayman was like before all the development, dive Cayman Brac, roughly 90 miles to the northeast of Grand Cayman.

Most of this 12-by-1 mile long landfall is flat and just above water level, except at the eastern end where the 140-foot high bluff (or "brac" in Gaelic) divides the island in two, lengthwise.   

Many of the Brac's marked dive sites are near the island's western tip, also where the dive resorts are located. You will find some excellent beach diving, and boat trips typically take only 5-10 minutes for most spots. Those interested in shallow reef photography will find the Brac outstanding.

Also an easy shore dive but more typically visited by boats is a 330-foot former Soviet destroyer sunk as a diver attractor in 1996. Renamed the M.V. Tibbetts, this is one of the world's best shallow wreck dives. Gradually, the ship decks are slowly transforming into a living ship reef as sponges and tiny corals take hold.

However, it will be many decades before the outline of this impressive ship--with a cannon mounted both at the front and aft--disappears into the seascape. As many photographers will testify, the Tibbetts is a magnificent photo prop.

Yet don't overlook the Cayman Mariner, a 65-foot metal work boat deliberately sunk for divers a decade earlier in 55 feet of water, which often has large fish hanging in and around it.

Wall diving on both sides of the Brac is superb, every bit as good as at Little Cayman, only deeper. The South Wall contains particularly large and odd-shaped sponges, including huge orange elephant ears. At the North Wall, some of the most popular standouts are Airport Wall and East Chute, both vertical drop offs starting at 65 feet.

Big sponges are another outstanding feature at Cemetery Wall, while grunts, snappers, scorpion fish and a host of tiny critters (arrow crabs, nudibranchs) inhabit Grunt Valley.

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