Diving Grand Cayman
Best Dive Sites
Grand Cayman is a mere 22 miles in length and only 8 miles wide at
its thickest point. That's not much territory to cover--unless
you're trying to swim it.
Then the island seems to loom as large as the Great
Barrier Reef, and becomes just as impossible to thoroughly explore.
From a diver's point of view, Grand Cayman is unique. Not only is all
of its shoreline worth investigating, but the island offers unusually
varied conditions, from shallow reefs to deep walls to wrecks.
Plus lots of big marine animals: from the famous southern
stingrays at Stingray City to the schooling
tarpon at Tarpon Alley and Eden Rock.
Probably everyone's favorite dive choice is the magnificent North
Wall, which starts at about 65 feet and bottoms out several
thousand feet down. The North Wall is as famed among divers as Aspen
is among skiers. Other islands may boast walls, but almost none are
as rich in corals, sponges and fans.
The great North Wall is well populated with long red finger
sponges that have the island's underwater trademark. These
strawberry red sponges are rarely found in such profusion anywhere else.
Even more noticeable down deep are the unusually big gorgonian
fans projecting from the wall; these spade-shaped formations
are almost as wide as the average person is tall.
When wind conditions make reaching the North Wall difficult, protected
West Bay off Seven Mile Beach normally is no more rippled
than a swimming pool. The West Bay sites, at times some of the most
dived areas because of their ideal conditions, are only a few minutes
boat ride away.
A new dive site off Seven Mile Beach is the wreck of the Kittiwake, a former Chanticleer Class submarine rescue ship, which rests in only 60 feet of water. Sunk in 2011, the ship's interior is now more accessible following a storm that ripped off a panel.
Good shallow diving from the beach is found just to the east of George
Town Harbour, off the "Iron Shore," so named because
of the sharp volcanic rock that forms the shore line. This region
is normally peaceful and calm for entry and exit. Should the waves start
coming in, dive is best done only from a boat.
Cayman's least dived area is the East End, which has
the fewest dive operations and is the farthest from George Town. However,
some dive operators run a minibus shuttle from hotel row on Seven Mile
Beach to his East End dive boat. Divers who concentrate on only the
East End often stay in that area to avoid the drive time and rental
East End divers might best be characterized as divers who prefer
to be away from the other more crowded regions. They also tend
to be people who've already spent a lot of time on Grand Cayman and
seen the major sites.
As the underwater terrain differs significantly from one section
of the island to the next, dive operators tend to be pretty good about
exploring around the island. However, you can maximize your
mobility by boarding different boats in different destinations.
Most of the outfits do their heavy diving early,
standardizing at two tanks in the morning and one in the afternoon,
which makes it easy to plot your day accordingly.
To Grand Cayman Things To Do
To Grand Cayman Homepage
To Diving Cayman Brac
To Diving Little Cayman