A Pictorial Cayman Islands Dive Guide


Divers have flocked to this Caribbean Mecca since the first operators began exploring Grand Cayman’s reefs in 1957. Its warm, gin clear, nearly current free waters have spawned such world-famous sites as Stingray City and Bloody Bay Wall and, in recent years, the wreck of the Tibbetts and a dive with an endlessly entertaining and patient wild dolphin named Spot. In diving lore and myth, so much has happened and been written about the Cayman Islands that sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and enjoy the goods. So this year our Dive Guide is picture perfect, with each island—Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac—shown in all its underwater glory.
A quintessential romantic sunset sail for two.

GETTING THERE

BEST TIME TO VISIT
For maximum warmth, May to August. However, when frost or snow is on the ground in the U.S., it is still warm by comparison in the Cayman Islands, with air temps in the 70s September-May.

TOPSIDE CLIMATE
In the summer months, May to August, expect air temperatures to average around 80 degrees F. In winter months, September through April, air temperatures will usually average in the mid-70s.

WATER TEMPERATURE
Winter: 78 to 82 degrees F. Summer: 82 to 86 degrees F.

EXCHANGE RATE
1.00 (USD) = 1.25 Cayman Islands dollars

TIME DIFFERENCE
Eastern Standard Time. Cayman does not observe daylight savings time.


CAYMAN ISLANDS DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM
(800) 346-3313 • www.divecayman.ky

Dive Operators

GRAND CAYMAN

Abanks Diving (345) 945-1444
Ambassador Divers (345) 949-8839
Aqua Adventures (345) 949-1616
Aquanauts (345) 945-1990
Black Princess Charters (345) 949-0400
Bob Soto’s Diving (800) BOB-SOTO
Capitol’s Surfside (345) 949-7330
Captain Ashley’s Watersports (345) 949-3054
Captain Crosby’s (345) 945-4049
Captain Marvin’s (345) 945-6975
Cayman Diver (345) 946-4386
Cayman Diving Lodge (800) TLC-DIVE
Cayman Glide Divers (345) 945-2711
Cayman Marine Lab (345) 945-5586
Dive ’N Stuff (345) 949-6033
Divers Down (345) 945-1611
Divers Supply (345) 949-7621
Dive Tech (345) 949-1700
Dive Time (345) 947-2339
Don Foster’s (800) 83-DIVER
Eden Rock Diving (345) 949-7243
Fisheye of Cayman (800) 887-8569
Indies Divers (800) 654-3130
Kelly’s Watersports (345) 949-1193
Ocean Frontiers (800) 544-6576
Off The Wall Divers (345) 947-7790
Ollen Miller’s (345) 947-6606
Parrot’s Landing (800) 448-0428
Peter Milburn’s (345) 945-5770
Red Baron (345) 945-4744
Red Sail Sports (877) RED-SAIL
Seasports (345) 949-3965
7 Mile Watersports (345) 949-0332
Soto’s Cruises (345) 945-4576
Sunset Divers (800) 854-4767
Tortuga Divers (345) 947-2097
Treasure Island Divers (800) 872-7552

CAYMAN BRAC

Brac Aquatics (800) 544-2722
Dive Tiara (800) 661-DIVE
Reef Divers (800) 327-3835

LITTLE CAYMAN

Conch Club Divers (800) 327-3835
Paradise Divers (877) 3-CAYMAN
Pirates Point (345) 948-1010
Reef Divers (800) 328-3735
Sam McCoy’s (800) 626-0496
Southern Cross Club (800) 899-2582

Live-aboards

GRAND CAYMAN

Cayman Aggressor IV (800) 348-2628

LITTLE CAYMAN

Little Cayman Diver II (800) 544-2722

Grand Cayman

At Grand Cayman’s Stingray City, families of divers and snorkelers enjoy the thrill of hand feeding large, friendly Southern Stingrays.
The essence of Grand Cayman diving is variety. Here you can have everything from a solitary snorkel off a quiet stretch of ironshore, to dive boat trips to one of the island’s legendary sites. There are shallow reefs, gently sloping walls, drop-offs, wrecks and encounters with marine species of all persuasions. With four distinct diving areas, and more than 150 moored dive sites, there are multiple choices for any diver. West Side highlights include the historic Balboa and Oro Verde wrecks, and the sponges of Orange Canyon. The northern sites specialize in adventure, such as the steep wall at White Stroke Canyon or the giggling-tourist fun of world famous Stingray City. East End offers dramatic terrain, and the South Side is known for its coral gardens.

A giant stride off a Cayman dive boat will instantly put you in the midst of impressive natural wonders. Here, at Bonnie’s Arch, off Grand Cayman, an upward look offers a breathtaking vista of orange sponges, clear, blue water and a happy diver.
This Grand Cayman diversity exists onshore as well. The cosmopolitan island atmosphere can be experienced in an extensive variety of accommodations, from budget to ultra-luxurious. And, for travelers who like to squeeze as much into a holiday as possible, Grand Cayman offers just about every watersports diversion known to man, as well as world-class dining and shopping opportunities. Tourist attractions include the Cayman Turtle Farm. Here you can see, first-hand, where many of the turtles that divers encounter off these islands come from.

Cayman Brac With just a handful of hotels and dive operations, Cayman Brac is a magnet for nature-lovers. Above-water attractions include nature trails and reserves, and limestone bluffs, complete with caves.

Tarpon often guide divers through the reefs.
Photo/Al Hornsby
Underwater, the Brac has its share of drop-offs, but mini walls and spur and groove formations are more common along the island’s extensive fringing reef. Here, corals proliferate in the generally calm waters, and every nook and cranny is filled with invertebrate life. Healthy populations of colorful tropicals and larger species abound.

One of the best known sites off the Brac is a former Russian frigate, purposely sunk to create an artificial reef in 1996, and renamed the Capt. Keith Tibbetts. It lies in just 40 to 90 feet of water, creating a fabulous backdrop for photos.

Little Cayman

Tidepools reflect the clouds and constant presence of frigate birds / The bluff at the end of Cayman Brac / Impressive wrecks, such as the Capt. Keith Tibbetts, off Cayman Brac, offer divers the opportunity to swim into blue adventure

Little Cayman is famous for wall diving, and, most famous of all, are Jackson Wall and Bloody Bay Wall—which, together, make up Bloody Bay Marine Park. This pristine area of the northern shoreline, near the western end of the island, is home to more than 20 moored dive sites.
For a while divers enjoyed playing with a wild dolphin named Spot, who’d taken up residence off Cayman Brac / Tarpon school in the shelter of a reef /Snapper flow across the reef at The Chimney dive site / One of the many rock iguanas that roam the island.
The tops of the walls start as shallow as 20 feet and then drop away into the unimaginable blue abyss. Here, sponges and corals grow in bewildering variety and color, and encounters with pelagics are common.

A Hawksbill Turtle at Jackson Wall. Marine turtles are frequent visitors on many Cayman dives / Corals and sponges proliferate on the sheer, vertical face of Bloody Bay Wall / A colorful parrotfish encountered during a night dive at Little Cayman’s Jackson Reef. Day or night, Cayman waters offer a marine life buffet.
Of course, the southwestern end of Little Cayman has its charms, too. This area features spur and groove terrain and opportunities to visit with reef fish in shallower depths.
Little Cayman topside is quite a nature-oriented experience. At the Booby Pond Nature Reserve, visitors can observe many varieties of shorebirds, and rock iguanas are so numerous on this island that signs warn automobile drivers to give them the right of way on the local roads.
Even with its focus on nature, Little Cayman still offers excellent variety in its limited number of hotels and dining establishments. You won’t lack for comfort here.