Recently, I ventured off the beaten path, and made a trek to East End for some diving! The great thing about Grand Cayman, is, there is something for everybody, pending your loves, comfort, diving ability, etc.
As I exited my auto and prepared my gear to be moved to the boat, an acquaintance asked, “are you here to checkout the competition?” Before I could reply, a lady walking through the parking lot, and overhearing the comment, spoke up and said, “the diving is much better here”.
Immediately, I perked up and stated that it was a chance to “dive the East End” and experience something different. Swim-throughs! Sharks! And more.
As an industry professional, I, along with other professionals, are so thankful for having the opportunity to share the ocean and teach others about it. It is nice to know that the ocean is just out the back door, or within a short drive. After all, the island is only 22 miles by eight (8) miles, and we are happily surrounded by water.
Now, for what I came for – diving! Upon entering the sea, I was immediately greeted by three (3) Caribbean reef sharks. NICE! Let’s take some photos.
Within 10 minutes, the divers descended onto the “wall site” and almost immediately, something caught my eye. One (1) of the divers (another lady – 30-something) showed her “discomfort” with the sharks and began swimming “to hide behind other divers”. I watched in amazement thinking to myself, “why is she here”.
The same lady was not comfortable with the “massive walls” of the East End (and a possible overhead environment. As I watched the divers and their guide wind their way through the reef, onto the wall, I could keep up with their progress and not change my position. Waiting on the sharks to return, and “fire away”, I kept an eye on the young lady and could tell, she was lost, and close to asking for help.
It was moments later the dive group emerged onto the beautiful wall of East End. Seeing the group count the “heads”, and knowing they were minus one (1) diver, I signaled that, “I had one (1)”. Quickly, I pointed the “lost soul” to her group.
Back to shoot photos of the sharks.
After the dive, and back on the boat, the staff recorded the depths and times of divers. The first lady (from the parking lot encounter), gave her depth/time and said, “no more sharks”; asking, “can you fit that comment there”.
My point here, is, “what is best for you as a diver?” The lady diver who thought, “East End has the best diving”, was obvious not comfy with these reef sharks. The younger female diver who show erratic behavior underwater, was obviously not meant to be in the same “zip code” with a 7-foot reef shark.
Grand Cayman’s waters are known for “walls”. All sides of the island differ in their beginning depth – West side is “pinned” (the depth of the mooring) in 50-55′; the North 60+/-; the South, 70ft. The moorings on the “East End” of Grand Cayman (and this is a very small area of diving) are in 25 -35′ of water, with the maximum depth of the dive sites, about 60′.
Larger animals (most common are the spotted eagle ray and an occasional shark) are most often seen on the North Wall and East End. If you were to ask the “experienced Grand Cayman” diver, “where is the best diving”, inevitably, their answer would be one of these two (2) locations.
However, as the dive industry continues to train new divers and introduce them to the sport, these area are not always the best option for them. This, of course, will vary depending on the individual and how they handle adversity.
If you are a dive buddy to a new diver, be a good buddy. Do not push individuals “beyond their limits”. Talk to them and make them feel comfortable. Just because you are comfortable with a particular situation, does not mean your buddy is as comfortable (and sometimes, they are reluctant to say so).
At Off The Wall Divers, we ask a lot of questions on the phone and via e-mail; the more we know about you and your diving, the better. While we try not to be too inquisitive, we do want you to be safe and return in the future, having had a great first experience.
My wife and I recently visited OTW Divers while on a cruise. We were able to get two dives logged while in Grand Cayman. They were very friendly and helpful in every way. Both beginner and experienced divers would enjoy this crew. A big thanks to Tom, Kelly, Megan, and Hayley. You guys are truly awesome!!