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Liveaboard Diving in Grand Cayman
What to expect on a Grand Cayman Liveaboard
Liveaboard diving in Grand Cayman means crystal clear turquoise waters, stunning visibility and breath-taking walls. The largest of the three Cayman Islands, and home to the nation's capital city George Town, Grand Cayman is a world-class diving destination offering some of the best wall diving to be found anywhere in the world. On the top side, the island is famed as a beach lover's paradise, owing to the miles of pristine coral sand, known as Seven Mile Beach, which extends in a crescent shape down the west side of the island. It is here that you will find the main tourism hub of the Cayman Islands, where a combination of local hospitality, luxury resort goers and water sport enthusiasts come together to form a vibrant and cosmopolitan culture.
Attractions on the island include visiting the National Museum in George Town and hiking the Mastic Trail to encounter native wildlife, such as the endemic Blue Iguana and iridescent Grand Cayman Parrot.
Liveaboards in Grand Cayman depart from George Town and will generally explore all 3 of the Cayman Islands. Divers can expect up to 4 dives per day and enjoy pure luxury on the dive boat.
Grand Cayman Underwater
Sailing in Grand Cayman is the best way to experience some of the most breath-taking underwater scenery the ocean world has to offer. The dramatic submarine cliffs that make up the island's iconic four walls – East, West, South and North Wall - are adorned in colourful tube, vase and elephant ear sponges that stretch out towards the deep. These vertical habitats attract a great diversity and abundance of marine life, from the smaller photogenic reef fish, and seasonal shoals of silversides, all the way up to imposing large predators such as Barracuda, Tarpon and Black Grouper. Eagle Rays and turtles are also frequent visitors, while Hammerhead sharks are occasionally spotted patrolling the deep. This makes for exciting Grand Cayman liveaboard safaris.
Grand Cayman dive safaris also offer exceptional wreck diving, where you can explore the historic wrecks of Oro Verde, meaning Green Gold, a former spy ship and cargo vessel that sunk in 1980, Doc Poulson - a former cable laying ship, and the USS Kittiwake - a submarine rescue ship that was decommissioned and repurposed as an artificial reef in 2011. All wrecks are now thriving marine life habitats that support an abundance of fish, sponges and corals making these some of the best liveaboard itineraries on offer.
Dive sites of Grand Cayman
Scuba diving in Grand Cayman offers many different dive sites that cater to all levels of divers.
BONNIES ARCH: Schools of Horse-eyed Jack huddle within the bridge-like archway for which the dive site is named. The arch itself is draped in corals and sponges, bridging the sea floor and framing the reef either side. Keep an eye out for the little statue of a Caiman Crocodile hidden beneath.
TRINITY CAVES: The caves are in fact a series of large beautiful swim-throughs that appear to be carved into the surrounding reef. Plenty of ambient sunlight penetrates the 'caves' creating an ethereal fairy tale scene which offers endless photo opportunities.
BIG TUNNELS: One of the most popular dive sites on the island. A large tunnel-like swim through leads you through a cavern draped in corals and sponges, and out into the open ocean for a stunning wall dive. Marine life include the arrow crabs, shrimp and lobsters hidden within the walls, and large schools of Horse-eyed jack.
STINGRAY CITY: A shallow sandbar sets the scene for an unforgettable wildlife encounter. Here the island's population of Southern Atlantic Stingrays inquisitively interact with their scuba diving visitors. Remember to bring your camera as there will be more than a few 'up close and personal' photo opportunities.
Ex USS KITTIWAKE: This former US Naval submarine rescue ship was repurposed as an artificial reef in 2011. She is now a thriving a marine life habitat, supporting an assortment of fish such as barracuda, jacks, moray eels, eagle rays and tarpon, as well as corals, sponges and turtles.
ORO VERDE: This former spy and cargo ship fell afoul of the ocean in 1980. She has since been relocated and is now a bustling artificial reef hosting an abundance of marine life - Horse-eyed Jack, Lionfish, Sea Bream and Barracuda reside here. While the wreck itself is mostly deteriorated, with mostly only the bow still intact, it remains a hugely popular site.
Top Tips for Divers
- Take a flashlight with you to fully appreciate the orange and red hues of the island's iconic sponges.
- Always use an SMB when diving or snorkelling in areas of high boat activity, which is most dive sites.
- Make sure to mind your depth along the walls, to ensure you keep a good diving profile.
- Be mindful of your buoyancy and fin placement to avoid impacting fragile marine life, especially along walls and in swim-throughs.
- As with all areas of the Cayman Islands, the official currency of Grand Cayman is the Cayman Island Dollar but US Dollars are readily accepted.
Getting to Grand Cayman
The best way to take in Grand Cayman's spectacular dive sites is via a Cayman Islands liveaboard trip. Liveaboard dive cruises depart from the island's capital George Town, sailing to all of the islands' top diving destinations with weather permitting. Dive Tours for the Cayman Islands cover the best of all three islands over an 8 day itinerary.
Grand Cayman Diving Reviews
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