Having received our advanced Scuba certification in 2005, we decided to explore Grand Cayman in October 2006. Renato, Johnny D, Johnny F and myself despite traveling standby, made all the flights. Too bad we couldn’t say the same for Renato’s equipment. Delta mishandled his baggage and was sent to another destination forcing him to rent his equipment. That didn’t deter the Canadian Elite Scuba Team from their mission.
We taxi to our hotel and after inspecting the grounds, we waste no time for an afternoon shore dive. We prepare our gear and head out despite choppy waters. Half way through the shore dive, myself and Johnny F stay back near shore while Renato and Johnny D venture deeper into the submerged valleys. Turtles, fish, lobsters, moray eels, and other underwater species are seen. The coral was alive and the rock formations were very impressive. The second shore dive, the weather was picture perfect, the downtime was enough for us to see all creatures.
The next day we decided to visit the city by taking the local tour bus “Kelly’s Bus”. Grand Cayman in October was definitely low season for it seemed we were the only ones on the island. We drive along the Hard Rock Café, Cayman Hospital and even come across a park that a game of cricket was in progress. I wonder how long they have been playing!
The next place we visit was very surprising. There exists a borough in Grand Cayman called Hell City. I never knew about this location and was impressed that they have their own post office and gas station. This location has a patch of limestone rock formation that apparently has taken the name as Hell by the fact that if a stone is thrown out into the formation, it echoes among the limestone peaks and valleys giving it the sense that it is falling all the way down to hell.
The best part of this whole mini tour was that my friend Renato was the lucky individual to sit next to the largest man in the Cayman Islands.
In the diving industry, we’ve heard that one great location to dive would be at the sting ray city in Grand Cayman. A location in which crystal clear blue waters are filled with sting rays that are very friendly and seeing the depth is only around 35 feet, our bottom time in the ocean can last awhile. Our master diver briefs us on the dive, gives us squid to attract the rays and we perform the giant stride into the ocean. We all kneel at the sandy bottom and with no time at all, a school of rays are around us. All different sizes from all directions. We take each a turn to feed them the squid, however as we open the canister, the odour must activate their senses and some form of sting ray frenzy was happening. They seemed agitated and, although there movement looked majestic, their purpose was clear. They want to satisfy their hunger. Renato, without a wetsuit, got stunk by one and left a mark for several days.
The last day we took a charter to another dive site and this time, we were accompanied by a young attractive photographer. It did distract us a little, however our Scuba Elite Team is very focused and disciplined. We again, see great rock formation, corals and all sorts of species.
Renato did end up getting his baggage back, however just 1 day before our return. It was definitely a great first time experience with the boys and pledged to keep the tradition going as much as our time can permit. Next mission : Riviera Maya, Mexico.