Well, the fun keeps on going…
This one is for SCUBA Divers…
Tom (formerly known as Tommy) turned 30 on November 3rd. Sometime during the first of the year, I mentioned he and I should experience a bro thing (in front of Patti), and celebrate his 30th in the Caribbean scuba diving.
Off we went to the island of Little Cayman in the Caribbean. With 50 lbs. of gear in my bag, hot temperatures and sunshine galore (not the best for a red head according to my dermatologist). Sounds great. It was great.
Looking for great scuba gear? Here’s a good guide to the best scuba masks for your upcoming trip.
Checking the Qualifications for Little Cayman Diving
When we arrive, the first thing they ask for is your “dive card certification”. It is just one step down from a driving license with a picture, bar codes, unique serial numbers, etc. Tom had no problem, but when I hand my card to a 20 something at the dive shop desk, I always get the same response…”What is this?” I politely tell them it’s my dive certification even though it does not have a serial number, picture, etc., nothing but my name and the date of certification – wait for it… 1974. Jacques Cousteau days. Lloyd Bridges and “Sea Hunt” days. They finally see there is no option but to accept my dive card.
Scuba diving is the opposite environment of work. Work is constant senior leader meetings, talking, teaching, presentations, interviews and assessments. Scuba is being in another world that is QUIET! Absolutely quiet except for inhales, bubbles, an occasional crackling of parrot fish biting off corral, etc. The ultimate background noise was when I was diving in Tahiti. Humpback whales were constantly singing while I dove. There, I never even acknowledged hand signals from the dive master. I simply was overwhelmed with the whale songs.
Perfect Little Cayman Hotels
Back to the Caribbean. We stayed at the Little Cayman Beach Resort. There are a few other “resorts” with diving, but none of them can touch this one. The dive shop is the best run I have dived with (and that is a LONG time). The staff is unbelievable. By the second day, they know your name, where you are from and details close friends don’t know. From the beginning of the day, they are so happy, singing and are acutely aware how to service the guests. The rooms were great, but make no mistake, Little Cayman and Little Cayman Beach Resort is for divers, only. There is nothing else on the island to do except stepping over the 3 foot iguana’s all over the resort. They have a sandy beach, but the water is full of seagrass.
Little Cayman Beach Resort does a great job when you are above water with food and activities, but it is all about the diving, and rightly so. The diving off this island, rivals with Hawaii. I know there are other incredible diving sites like the Maldives, but there are few in the same category as Little Cayman. The remarkable fact is, the reefs are intact and flourishing. This reef system is the best I have seen in 40 years. Simply outstanding which you will see from the pictures on my underwater camera.
The reef system on the north side of the island is composed not only of the most active reef, but just north of the reef is a wall that goes from about 50 feet deep, to approximately 16,000 feet!
With the clarity of the water, and the fact I HATE HEIGHTS, diving off the reef over the wall when you can’t see ANYTHING underneath you but the deep blue (nothing solid), it takes getting used to.
Tom, certified (with a real dive card) since he was 14, did great. He did have several “firsts” on this trip at 30 years old.
He had his first birthday celebration on a dive boat, had a second celebration at dinner with the entire dining room singing “happy birthday” and a cake presentation and then, at Karaoke, another birthday celebration (did I mention there was not a lot to do on the island and everyone embraced the opportunity).
Other “firsts” were seeing his first sea turtles, coming virtually nose to nose with a six foot shark, diving a 10,000 foot wall, a very angry squirrel fish, a 110 foot dive, friendly Nassau groupers, fish “cleaning stations”, sting rays, etc.
Let me be clear. If you want more than spectacular, unique coral reefs and 10.000’ wall diving, this is not your place. The Grand Cayman Islands offers great diving, but a lot more for “extracurricular” activities; dining, nightclubs etc.
I am going to edit the myriad of underwater videos on the reefs and the wall. The show be a 100 times better than the pictures. HDTV. I’ll send them along to put an exclamation mark on this trip, once Eileen shows me how to reduce the file size so I can send it.
Rick (and Tom)
P.S. The wine was great, but not as good as Italy.