Claudine and I had been planning to get our SCUBA certification for a while. In the fall of 2016 we booked our classes with Scuba Unlimited. Our plan was to do all the prerequisite work here but do the open water certification somewhere warm. Grand Cayman to be exact.
So basically, for my 50th birthday that’s exactly what we did. We did the classwork and pool work in November and December of 2016 and the open water work over the week of May 13th through 20th, 2017.
We booked a condo for a week in Grand Cayman at Seven Mile Beach Resort with some friends (the same one’s who recommended Scuba Unlimited) who have a time share there and who has been spending a week on Grand Cayman since the early 90’s.
The flight down was anti-climactic. Since we’re staying for a week and everything is expensive on Cayman we brought a suitcase full of food at the suggestion of the folks we’re going with. (Sandwich fixings, meat, some steaks to grill, etc, etc.) So that we can cook our own breakfast and lunch, and have a cookout once or twice. We also brought 4 bottles of wine (4x 750ml). We also each brought a liter of liquor from the Duty Free. Claudine a bottle of Vodka, and I opted for a bottle of Kraken rum. For those doing the math, you can see that’s too much. You’re allowed 1 liter of liquor per person, or 5 liters of wine, but not both which was a misunderstanding on our part at the time.
During the immigration/customs shakedown we disclosed that we had some FDA approved meat, which they wanted to see. Upon inspecting the meats they discovered the wine. We had declared the 2 liters of Vodka and Rum but totally disregarded the wine. Customs wasn’t happy with that and we were now treated like world class smugglers. In the end it cost us $12 duty. Not the end of the world[tm].
We rented a car from Andy’s Car Rental who matched a budget price, it was $89 US for the whole week. The car was a midsize, which in the US is a sub-compact. I’d do that again, I’d think.
On the way to check in we stopped at the grocery and picked up all the other things we needed but didn’t bring. Condiments and the like, we also discovered, outside of alcohol, food prices weren’t all that outrageous so we’ll not be bringing a suitcase full of food next time.
The condo was great, two bedrooms, nice living area, on the first floor, thanks to our Hosts. About a half a block walk to the beach.
We arrived on a Saturday, with time to settle in and get a little beach time. We would spend the next 6 days diving and enjoying the Cayman life.
Basic Dive Log details for each of the dives:
Sunday: Dives 1 and 2 of our 4 Certification Dives.
At the Aquarium (46 ft /41 mins) and Victoria’s Secret (48 ft / 44 mins) Dive sites. At each of these sites we did skills for the first 20 mins in a sand spot and got to spend the rest of the time enjoying the dive.
Monday: Dives 3 and 4 of our 4 Certification Dives.
At Darvin’s Theory (60 ft / 38 mins) and Spanish Anchor (50 ft / 40 mins) Dive sites. At each of these sites we did skills for the first 20 mins in a sand spot and got to spend the rest of the time enjoying the dive.
(Yea! we’re now certified)
Tuesday: Dives 5, 6, and 7
At Sentinel Rock (80 ft / 28 mins) and Turtle Schooner (39 ft / 42 mins) Dive sites and afternoon at Stingray City (14ft /32 mins).
Sentinel Rock was a little deeper than expected, with our first swim through, completely awesome. Turtle Schooner was a sweet shallow reef dive. Our afternoon dive was a shallow dive at Stingray City west where our give master spent time feeding the rays.
Wednesday: Dives 8 and 9
Two short dives at Turtle Reef (60 ft / 45 mins) and (58 ft / 39 mins).
Our first real experience with significant current. Dive one was a bit tough, dive 2 was better despite the shorter down time. Spent some time working on buoyancy.
Thursday: Dives 10 and 11
At Slaughterhouse (104 ft / 35 mins) and Anglefish Reef (52 ft / 52 mins) Dive sites. Slaughterhouse was awesome, deep wall dive with swim through, Anglefish Reef was also amazing, we’re hitting our dive stride now.
We had an amazing week, 2 dives a day on average, looking forward to buying our own regulators and BCD’s. We ate at some amazing restaurants while we were there. We also had excellent Snorkeling at the beach at the resort.
Other photos from our trip.