Why You Should Try Scuba Diving in the Cayman Islands
If you have never dived before or haven’t been in years and would like to learn again, a resort may offer the Discover Scuba Diving course. It allows beginners to experience the fun of diving for a low price. Dives in the Cayman Islands are possible year-round, although the busy season runs from mid-December to mid-April.
The warm Caribbean waters are the perfect environment for marine turtles to thrive. You can see them scavenging for food, swimming in large groups, or mating during their annual migration. These incredible animals can swim long distances – the longest known trip was by a leatherback that swam 13,000 miles in 647 days! They also have a special gland that lets them rid their bodies of excess salt. They’re often seen looking like they’re crying, but it is a way of removing the extra salt in their eyes. Some of the best dive sites in the Cayman Islands include Stingray City, where you can get up close and personal with the sea creatures that call it home; Devil’s Grotto, where schools of silverside fish flutter through the water; and a dive trip in Little Cayman, Bloody Bay Wall, where you can see yellow tube sponges, black coral, and waving sea fans. There’s even a spot called Ghost Mountain where you can swim around a mushroom-shaped formation surrounded by countless fish!
Great Barrier Reef
When you think about scuba diving, the first thing that comes to mind is a group of stingrays performing theatrically in front of an entranced diver in crystal-clear water. However, there’s much more to scuba diving in the Cayman Islands than stingrays. The Cayman Islands has attracted scuba divers for decades with a strong diving infrastructure, incredible walls and wrecks, and great visibility. The underwater world is incredibly diverse and a lot of fun to explore. But it is important to remember that the reef is fragile, and the currents are not always in your favor. You can help safeguard the reef by getting PADI certified and learning to dive responsibly. Consider doing a discovery dive if you’re not quite ready to commit to a full certification. It will give you a taste of the underwater world and allow you to dive with an instructor. It is also a good option for children and adults without diving experience. Getting PADI certified can help you take your dives to the next level and become a part of the global diving community.
While swimming with dolphins is undoubtedly one of the most popular Caribbean experiences, Stingray City in Grand Cayman is a close second. This chance to engage with these lovely animals in their native habitat is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. These docile creatures are used to being fed and often swarm around visitors. They are also very curious, making them a fun and exciting activity to observe. Stingray City is located on a shallow sandbar in the North Sound on Grand Cayman and provides an unforgettable experience.
Typically, stingrays use their barbed tail only as a defense mechanism. They will bury it in the sand, leaving only their eyes and spiracles uncovered, to prevent predators from finding them. However, Brown explains that when they are startled or feel threatened, they will lift the sheath of their tail and impale the shark with it. Despite this, humans rarely get stung when visiting Stingray City. It would help if you shuffled your feet when walking through the sand to avoid accidentally stepping on a resting ray. It will prevent a stingray’s tail barb from puncturing your leg when you least expect it.
The great barracuda, Sphyraena barracuda, is one of the most powerful predators in tropical marine waters. It has a long, lean body that is dark grey on top and silvery on the sides and bellies to blend in with its shimmering open ocean habitat. It has a pointed head with a large, teeth-revealing mouth attached to the end of a long, tube-like dorsal fin. As adults, great barracudas are typically solitary but will join smaller fish in aggregations to ambush prey. They have a highly efficient mouth that combines an outer row of small razor-sharp teeth for tearing with a larger set of dagger-like piercing teeth inside. The long, needle-like teeth fit into holes in the opposing jaws, allowing the great barracuda to close its mouth around its prey completely. While great barracudas have been known to attack humans, they are opportunistic and typically only bite in self-defense or when provoked. However, their bites can be severe and cause infection if not immediately treated. Great barracudas are attracted to shiny objects such as jewelry and occasionally mistake snorkelers or divers for their food. Therefore, it is recommended that you remove any jewelry before entering the water.
Located close to Stingray City, this area of the Cayman Reef boasts some of the most lush and diverse coral in the Caribbean. Drift around this incredible underwater ecosystem, a habitat of vibrant fish species, spotted eagle rays and sea stars, and even the occasional sea turtle. Swim out to the mooring balls that mark this snorkel site at Eden Rock and explore tunnels and overhangs full of coral and a mesmerizing variety of marine life. Large grouper, tarpon (up to six feet long!) and rare blue tang can be seen here. In the summer months, this site is famous for thousands upon thousands of silversides gathering in the tunnels – a truly magical spectacle. A shallow reef less than 10 ft deep, this snorkel spot is perfect for all levels. This popular destination is known for its marine wildlife, including grunts, yellowtails and sergeant majors, and the semi-resident green turtles that frequent it. The site is also home to a relic of naval history, the USS Kittiwake, a great attraction for visitors.