Category Archives: Cayman Islands

December 13, 2015

The Cayman Islands & Scuba Diving: My Most Expensive Hobby (Day 4)

I woke up to the sound of roosters crowing somewhere in the distance, signifying the beginning of another day on the island. It was a very cool morning and unlike the other days of my training where we went in the ocean after noon, I was going to be picked up by my dive instructor at 7:00 AM. I was never a morning person but I can already feel the adrenaline rush through my body, because this day is something I have anticipated my whole life.

We drove for at least 15 minutes to West Bay Dock where we boarded one of the boats that will take us to the dive sites. I love that they served us snacks and drinks on the boat on our way to the dive locations because I was hungry and did not have time to eat breakfast. Not eating breakfast is actually a bad idea because ideally, you need to have energy and the right nourishments when putting strain on your body, like what diving does.IMG_4715 IMG_4829 4

The first site we went to is called Trinity Caves, a dive site that only took a couple of minutes to get to from West Bay Dock. This is also my first time to do what is called a boat dive, where exiting into the water requires jumping off a boat, as opposed to a shore dive, where the divers exit from dry land into the ocean. The site got its name from having three canyons that lead towards a reef wall, one that will greet you with austere grandeur the moment you set your eyes on it.Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 6.25.06 PM.png Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 6.26.15 PM.pngThe other dive site we visited is called Paradise Reef, where we explored a wreck that used to be a ship that was blown up. One of my favorite parts during this dive was swimming through coral gardens of massive sizes and bright colors. Schools of fish in all shapes, sizes and hues swam around us like we were nothing, minding their own lives in their underwater world. Unfortunately, due to the science revolving around light and color absorption in water, my GoPro was not able to fully capture the beauty of the corals and only showed pigments of blue and green in my photos.Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 7.22.56 PM.png

The highlight of this dive was the part where a shark just kept following us around the shipwreck and everywhere else we went, because the Dive Master was killing lion fish during the entire time. Lion fish is a highly invasive breed that feeds off and is responsible for the decline of the populations of the native species, driving them towards near extinction. This disrupts the very sensitive dynamics of marine ecosystems, and it is one of the duties of the Dive Masters to get rid of these harmful species before the fragile habitat collapses under these foreign invaders. Spearfishing attracted the shark, and it followed us around like a puppy because my Dive Master kept on feeding it every lion fish it killed.Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 5.44.06 PM.png

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 5.47.09 PM.png

 

Before resurfacing, I was required to perform a couple more of the skills I learned during my days of training. When we got back on the boat, I was welcomed by everybody else to what they called the most expensive hobby of my life, and officially became and Open Water Diver. Thank you to my instructors Patricia and Damien from Living the Dream Divers and my dive buddy Alex for being there on the beginning of a journey that I have always been passionate about, and will be carrying with me for the rest of my life.

Related posts: Cayman Islands Day 1 Cayman Islands Day 2 Cayman Islands Day 3

“Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time.”

H.P. Lovecraft

wanderlustrycopy

December 6, 2015

The Cayman Islands & Scuba Diving: Saltwater Therapy and Reef Diving (Day 3)

I decided to take it slow the following morning because I know I’m going to spend another full day of sun exposure, so I did not want to tire myself out. Since my first day in Grand Cayman, I frequented Rackam’s for their frozen margaritas and being able to climb down the ladder into turquoise waters that are more or less than 10 feet deep. During all these times, I’ve already been eyeing a wooden platform in the middle of the sea, around 60 yards out from Rackam’s jump-off point. With the sun so bright up in the sky and the water so blue and clear, I decided it’s the perfect time to pay this platform a visit.IMG_4585 3 IMG_4683 2

I learned from the servers at Rackam’s that there is a shipwreck called The Wreck of Cali just around the wooden platform. I studied the distance from the jump-off point to the wooden platform and prepared myself for an easy, 5-minute swim from Point A to Point B. Boy, was I wrong! The current was very strong as I was going against it, and I wasn’t going very far with every stroke I took. What should have been a 5 minute swim lasted 15 minutes, and I was so exhausted by the time I got to the wooden platform. I have no idea how long I stayed on the wooden platform, but what could have been a snorkeling excursion to The Wreck of Cali turned into a whole lot of bumming. I took a nap, basked in the sun, did lots of canon balls, practiced free diving, observed the massive cruise ships in the horizon and enjoyed the privacy that the isolated wooden platform offered.IMG_4590 4

Maybe an hour passed, or maybe two- I will never know. But the sun’s position told me it’s almost noon, so I made my way back to Rackam’s. The swim back was super easy because I was swimming with the current, and it took me less than 3 minutes to get back to the dry land. The server at Rackam’s welcomed me with drinks the moment I got back (I was parched!) and after having a quick bite, I made my way back to Major Rod’s Hostel to prepare for another day of diving.

IMG_4706 1

I was picked up from the hostel by Living the Dream Divers at 1 PM sharp and we drove towards an area in Grand Cayman called West Bay, Northwest Point. During the 20 minute scenic drive, I had to fill out some paperwork and learned a couple of information regarding the dive site I’m about to visit. We arrived at a dive shop that is situated next to Macabuca, an ocean front restaurant and tiki bar bustling with divers and patrons alike. Here, I assembled my dive equipment and tried very hard to contain my excitement. I am about to officially go on my very first open water dive at a site called Turtle Reef.IMG_4696 2

After the final check that includes confirming I have the right amount of air in my tank and making sure my equipment is all ready to go, I followed my dive instructor in my full, heavy dive gear across Macabuca, towards the ladder leading into the water while the restaurant customers curiously stared as they devour their delicious Caribbean lunch. Before I know it, I was welcomed by the very-new-to-me but oh-so familiar senses I love so much that only comes with breathing underwater.Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 5.41.01 PM.png

Related posts: Cayman Islands Day 1 Cayman Islands Day 2

“The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.”

-Kate Chopin

wanderlustrycopy