Valet Diving on Little Cayman
To get away from it all you COULD travel farther from home than Little Cayman Island but you would be hard-pressed to find a more isolated vacation spot. At 10 miles long by one mile wide and with a resident population of 170, Little Cayman is tiny. It’s not only the smallest of the three Cayman Islands, it’s also the least developed. From sea level and above, the terrain is, well, let’s just say uninspiring. I don’t mean that as a put-down. Like many Caribbean destinations, Little Cayman is flat. The highest point is only 40 feet above sea level. But you don’t come here for awe-inspiring vistas. Everything here centers on the water and the best way to enjoy Little Cayman is to dive. In that regard, this place is spectacular.
We booked our February 2016 week-long vacation on Little Cayman through Underwater Connection, a Milwaukee-area dive shop and travel company owned by our friend John Shuder. John notified us last year that he was accepting reservations for the February 2016 trip. Mary and I usually organize our own dive trips because we like to seek out new places we haven’t visited. This time around we decided it would be fun to vacation with John and nine others in the group.
As you might expect of a tiny island with just 170 residents, Little Cayman offers only a handful of lodging options. The group previously stayed at Little Cayman Beach Resort and fell in love with the place, so that’s how Mary and I ended up there for our first experience on the island.
We found the resort to be everything advertised. The staff is very friendly and accommodating. The rooms are clean and modern. The wifi works well. The buffet-style restaurant offers lots of delicious choices every day. For our trip package, we chose to include breakfast and dinner while coasting through mid-day on just a snack aboard the dive boat or pieces of fruit saved from our breakfast plates.
Now, about the diving…
Little Cayman is blessed with colorful coral reefs, awesome walls and exciting swim-throughs. Bloody Bay Wall Marine Park is home to many popular dives sites, each one named for a particular feature, person, story or rumor. Anne’s Attic, Donna’s Delight, Pirate’s Point, Ringer’s Wall, Cumber’s Caves, Marylin’s Cut, Mixing Bowl, to name a few.
Reef Divers (the dive shop at Little Cayman Beach Resort) offers what they call “valet diving.” Quoting from their website:
No shirt, no shoes, no stress. Dive the depths of the sea with the height of convenience with our one-of-a-kind “valet diving” service. All that you’ll carry are memories, as our experienced diving staff, Reef Divers, oversees the lifting, lugging, and loading of all of your diving gear. Just relax and ride on our custom-built dive fleet to explore the island’s best diving sites. Immerse yourself in the thrill of the dive as our team takes care of the work and worries. With this exclusive diving service, all you have to do is arrive and dive.
For many of you, your diving gear is precious and personal. That’s why all divers receive a special mesh bag upon check-in at the dive shop to personally pack up their gear. On the day of your dive, simply leave that bag outside of your room and our dive team will take your bag to the boat for you to set up for the first time. Once your gear is organized as you like, leave its care and cleaning to our expert staff for diving without distraction.
Forget the hassle of heavy tanks because our diving staff will change your tanks after every dive. And when your day of diving is done, our team will rinse your gear right on the boat as you unwind from your dive on the dock. Special rinse tanks and drying rooms are available on the dock for removing and rinsing your wetsuits and fins. Once you’ve experienced valet diving, you won’t want to dive any other way.
We love the idea of “valet diving.” There’s no need to waddle across the deck with a heavy dive kit strapped to your back. All you do is don your wet suit and mask, carry your fins to the stern, sit down and wait for one of the crew to bring you your BCD and tank. Buckle in, check your air, stand up, take one giant leap and you’re diving.
We did two morning dives each day and elected to go on two afternoon dives as well for a total of 14 dives. Some divers in our group also did a night dive on Tuesday. I’ve done night dives in the past but I chose not to go this time. I now wish I would have gone because as it turned out they only offered it one night during our stay.
The best (well, easiest) way for me to describe the diving is to share some of my video clips. Here they below are as three separate videos.
You’ll notice our crew for the week, Marcus and Luke, giving us the most thorough dive briefings we have ever experienced. At each dive site they give detailed instructions while drawing an easy-to-follow map of the site. After the briefing, if you’re still not comfortable exploring and navigating on your own (with your dive buddy, of course) you have the option of following the dive master.
The third video ends with the take-off of our friends Rolf and Barb in their Epic Aircraft turboprop. What a beautiful airplane! Shortly after they departed, the rest of us flew commercial aboard a Cayman Airways flight from Little Cayman’s tiny airport. It was a short hop over to Grand Cayman where we boarded a larger jet bound for the States.